“Divination is turning out to be more
trouble than I could have foreseen….”
J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
A major dilemma for me is the search for the perfect oracle or tarot deck. I actually have dreams about finding a truly amazing set of cards but of course I wake up to find that I am stuck with other people’s ideas and artwork. There are a few decks that meet my requirements pretty well. The Earthbound Oracle (found here) has wonderful pithy artwork and illuminating words. It is a small, poker sized deck, which I prefer over the larger cards that are harder to shuffle.
My go to tarot cards are the Victorian Fairy Tarot which has amazingly rich art which looks fluffy initially and pure enchantment the more you work with it, and the Bonefire Tarot, a vintage tattoo art deck inspired by the symbolism of the “bone” fire which is where our word bonfire comes from. Lastly, I really like the Everyday Witch Tarot with its quirky witches in striped stockings. But alas, if you want a deck to your specifications and vision you have to make it yourself.
You could always use crowdfunding to get your work started but you have to really promote yourself through social media to have a successful campaign. If that is your strength, go for it! However, if you want to make your own deck and have the option to sell it later printerstudio.com is a great option. You have the option of different sized cards including poker, bridge, square, and standard tarot dimensions. There are paper choices as well. I really like the linen, but there is also a smooth card stock and a plastic as well. You can also change the orientation of the cards into a landscape format.
In a perfect world you would have time to work on you own artwork, scan it and make your own amazing deck. I do much of my own artwork but I would really have to schedule time to complete the artwork for a 78 card tarot deck or even an oracle deck. It would be basically a part time job for a long while. At some point I would love to do it, but it is a future project. Your vision can still come through using drawing apps and other photo editors. One fun app is called Uface. You can create your own faces and
subsequently use them on your own cards. Another place to find nice artwork which is old enough not to be a copyright issue is Old Book Art. There is an amazing array of images to be found here if you have time to dig a little. They can be used for anything you want to use them for, but I am partial to using them for divination decks! I am in the middle of an Arthurian oracle deck using artwork from this site. There are also a plethora of free high resolution photos out there which are also equally useful.
The Winterscape Oracle was created using these types of photos.
Printerstudio has the great option of selling your work to others after you publish it. This is a great way to share different decks which are a little different than the norm. I really love looking at what other designers have done. It is motivating and inspiring. You can of course just keep your decks for your own personal use or give to others as gifts, it is totally up to you. Be mindful if you are selling your work that your vision may be different than your audience. Try to understand who may be purchasing your work and design accordingly. In any case, it is very rewarding to see your ideas played out in a deck of cards and also a great self discovery process as well. Happy creating!