Saturday, October 24, 2009

Tarot card project

So I think I want to make my own deck of tarot cards. Tarot cards for those who don't know are a deck of playing cards, usually numbering about 78 as opposed to the 52 you are more used to I'm sure.

They have 4 suits - swords, wands, pentacles and cups, instead of spades, clubs, diamonds and hearts - and each suit has 14 cards - 10 numbered and 4 "face" cards, the King, Queen, Prince and Page. The 56 suited cards make up whats called the minor arcana. Then there are the 22 major arcana cards - the Fool and 21 numbered cards each with their own name. These 22 cards are also called the trump cards when used to play games with a deck of tarot cards. The names of the suits and face cards as well was the names of the trump cards may defer from deck to deck depending on when and where the deck originated.

Wikipedia seems to say that the cards were developed for games first and then later adopted by occultists for fortune telling and what not. Other sources I read years ago said it was the other way around I think. Either way the point is at different times in history they have been used for different things. Most people today know them as a fortune telling method and many different card layouts have been used to read one's fortune from the cards. Decks used for fortune telling as opposed to game playing tend to be more scenic on the numbered suited cards as to give them more graphical representations to be read than just a certain number of pips on a card, as modern playing cards have.

Now if you are really interested in tarot cards and their usage and history please go look up more information on your own. The purpose of that was to give everyone a basic understanding of what I mean by tarot cards when I saw I want to make my own. I of course will change everything to fit my own desires for my deck, otherwise whats really the point of making my own. I already own two "normal" tarot card decks. One has just pips for the suited numbered cards and therefore is more suited for game playing. The other has some beautiful photomanipulation artwork, that being the primary reason I bought that particular deck, and as such gives me wonderful imagery to draw from when trying to do some fortune telling. I also have a third deck that can be loosely considered a tarot card deck, at least a fortune telling/game playing deck of cards. This is the deck of cards that comes with the Everway roleplaying game, but its structure is completely unique and its game play ability is limited to its use within the game of Everway.

So for my deck I want to make some changes, and some pretty major ones at that. Firstly I like the number 3 more so than 4 so I'm removing a suit, I haven't decide yet what suits I want. Secondly I don't want plain numbered cards so I'm only going to have face cards. Thirdly I'm going to have 7 face cards ranked low to high as follows: Squire, Knight, Baron, Count, Duke, Prince, King. Fourthly I'm going to redo the number of major arcana, change their numbering scheme to that of prime numbers (just for the hell of it) and change the actual list of names for these cards.

So here are my problems with all this at this time. Firstly I suck as an artist so if I tried to draw the images for these cards it would look like a 5 year old made them. But that is a relatively minor issue to me for right now. The main problem I have at the moment is I need to decide on the list of major arcana and for aesthetic reasons this list must be fewer than the 21 card minor arcana. I'm currently thinking it will number 13 or 15, giving my deck a total of either 34 or 36 cards.

So any artist out there willing to volunteer there talent to help me out that would be much appreciated. And everyone please comment and tell me what you think of this project and leave any suggestions as to what cards I should have and any image ideas for cards you might have. I'm sure I will post more on this as the project progresses.

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