Sunday, November 20, 2011

The Cursed Wheel of Fortune

When I was in school, I had an art teacher who kept insisting that you should always, always sell your work.  If you gave it away, whether as gifts or otherwise, you were setting the wrong precedent as most folks think that making art is so much fun, it's not 'real work' and you'd do it anyway.  Or artists don't learn a skill, they are just 'talented' and poop out work really quickly, so they can give lots away and just make more.  Later, when several students work was stolen, she tried to convince them that this was a form of flattery.

I don't know...  I'm not able to make a living from my illustrations.  I give work as gifts.  I donate work to fundraisers.  And I also have things stolen and, sadly,  I've never felt flattered at all.

 The year after self publishing the deck, I had an art show at Cafe Mundi that included several originals of the cards.  The staff took down the work at the end of the show, and unfortunately, someone found the opportunity to walk off with one of the framed cards, the Wheel of Fortune.

As this is a tarot deck, it goes without saying that stealing this has enacted a curse on the piece.  Fill in your own grisly details -- I'm sure you're quite right.

If by any chance, the current holder (I won't say 'owner') would like to be relieved of the curse, they could always return it.  I won't ask any questions.

Old Knight of Swords design

Artists are part squirrels, in case you didn't know.

While I like to think I'm really organized, I still find myself choosing new and better places to be the official spot for things -- and then forgetting them.  It amounts to being just like one of those skitzy rodents that can't remember where all they buried the pecans.  Right now they are stuffing some in my potted plants whenever they take a break from eating the neighbors left over jack o' lanterns.

Anyway, while cleaning up, I found another one of my squirrel caches of old illustrations - these over a decade old.

Here is one of the first illustrations for Tarot of the Dead, the Knight of Swords.  Initially I was pretty stuck on the idea of doing a very clean Marseille/Playing card inspired deck, and I'm glad I let that go.

Kickstarter Update/Stolen Child Tarot

So my Kickstarter project to get the Stolen Child Tarot of the ground didn't quite reach it's funding goal. 

I'm almost done pouting about it. 

I met a lot of great people into the art and a lot of hard core Tarot enthusiasts, so that's awesome.  However since it would have given me a job through the holidays, I can't help but be disappointed it didn't reach the mark.  Hopefully it's something I'll be able to come back to in the future. 

The Kickstarter link is still live if you want to see the art or read the updates.  You're welcome to drop me a line if you would like an email about any news of the future of the deck.  (No spam, just want to alert people if/when work continues on it.)

Thanks again to everyone for all the support and enthusiasm about the project!


Thursday, October 20, 2011

NEW Tarot Project! 10 days left!

So if you haven't heard me yodeling and spamming it all over Facebook, yes, I'm working on a new tarot deck!  Well, sort of.  I'm trying to!  See, I'm running a Kickstarter project to try to fund completion and printing of a new deck.  If you're curious, check it out here:

These campaigns really only make it  by loads of word of mouth, so if you dig the art, won't you please tell some folks?

Here's a little more art from it!

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Tattoo of the Lovers

Here's a little something a fan shared on Facebook:

Dreaming the Future, Clifford A Pickover

During the self-published period of the deck, I was approached by Clifford Pickover about including some of the Dead cards in his book about divination, Dreaming the Future.  The Heirophant and the Hanged Man appeared in the book, along with illustrations from the Anatomy Tarot and the Stick Figure Tarot.  Dreaming the Future is an amazing book with a thorough analysis of the history of prediction and insightful discussion of why divination appeals to the human mind. A great read for the rationalist who has trouble reconciling their interest in Tarot.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Now on Facebook

Because everybody else is already there:
Tarot of the Dead on Facebook

Original Illustrations available

I'm offering a few of the original illustrations from the deck to the public. You can view them as well as my other pieces currently available in my etsy shop, here:

One of the pieces is the unreleased image for the Emperor. I thought this design was too traditional and put it aside in favor of the executive-in-his-office Emperor that was published in the deck.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Original Hanged Man Design

Several early designs for cards in the deck were scrapped. The majority of these were pitched because decisions about color or overall look hadn't jelled yet, but in one case, it was because the content of the card was more humorous than symbolic. This was the original Hanged Man card. Although it wasn't right for the deck, I liked the final product enough, I submitted it to the Chronicles Back Page Art and it was run 9/22/1995. They liked it so much, they ignored their promised return policy and kept it!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Signed Decks

In producing the deck, we opted to do as much of the assembly work as possible, primarily because the cost of printing a full color deck is, well, intimidating.

Decks were delivered to us matched and rubber banded, unwrapped. The windowed boxes came separately. We bought a shrink wrap outfit and had a party with friends to put everything together. One pair folded booklets, others put decks in boxes and after some practice, one soul manned the heat gun and shrink wrapped them.

During assembly, the first 100 decks were signed and numbered. These decks were randomly mixed in the shipments, with no rhyme or reason. For each of these the card that became the Llwellyn card back design was shifted to the front to provide a better area to write on.

The 1st edition deck on the right shows a hole in the shrinkwrap--this happened a lot! On the left is a signed and numbered deck.

Promo Card and Original Deck

You can click on the image for a close up.

Tarot of the Dead Promotional Items

Along with the 1st edition deck, a 100 Strength T shirts and a run of silver foil promotional stickers were printed. We shipped shirts as a special "Thank You" to stores willing to carry an independent deck and also sold some through the original website. Stickers were included with every deck shipped, as well as handed out like business cards at bookstores and events.

Back and side of Chinese Edition

Chinese Edition

After ToD was licensed to Asia, Llwellyn sent me three advance copies. I knew that white was considered a funeral color so the box color didn't surprise me, but the Halloween clip art and the spider webs killed me! My cousin David and his wife Tracy (who is Chinese) spotted them on my bookshelf during a visit and I gave them a copy. At some point I've got to pin them down and ask them what they thought of the translation!

Monday, November 9, 2009

Final Destination 3

When the deck was republished in 2004, the folks making Final Destination 3 asked Llwellyn and I for permission to use the deck in the opening titles of the horror film. I loved Final Destination 2 and agreed immediately. Maybe I blinked and missed them, but I'm pretty sure the only cards I spotted in the titles were Rider Waite. In the end credits, Tarot of the Dead was attributed to "Monica Knight". Ah, Hollywood...

Bits of Trivia

  • The original deck has a black and white card back of decorated skulls and coffins and a title card featuring a skeletal Piano Player. This artwork wasn’t used in the Llwellyn edition.
  • Because of printing costs, the instructions were on a single sheet brochure.
  • Eric Periche provided the Spanish translation for the instructions. His translation was edited by filmmaker Guillermo del Toro.
  • The High Priest card is a tribute to John Waters.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009