Saturday, October 5, 2013

The World

This was a card that I have known for some time exactly what I intended to do. I only wish that there were existing photographs of the featured act -- which is billed as "The Balloon Horse Jupiter in his Sensational Ascension Act with a gorgeous Pyrotechnic Display" -- alas, as far as I know, there are none, and I had to cobble this image together from the two that adorn his poster issued by Ringling Brothers and Barnum and Bailey back sometime around the turn of the century. I was worried that tarot purists might take exception to this change in the classical imagery; but the message is essentially the same. This card, which is typically the last in the Major Arcana unless you are one of the folks who places The Fool at the end instead of the beginning, should sum all all the themes of the entire deck.  It should be the most transcendent image in the deck. It wasn't until quite late in the design process that I finally figured out how to present the four elements that traditionally occupy the card's corners. My first attempt at the background included non-specific constellations. This Did Not Work. Only then did the lightbulb go on over my head as it should have done much sooner! I like it when a design comes together naturally and easily, and this was a pleasure beginning to end. 

Next up: THE CHARIOT -- and then I will have only TWO cards remaining in the Major Arcana!

-- Freder.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Production Trial and Error...

Printed sample cards for the majors-only deck have arrived from the printers. You can't see it in the picture due in part to the bright sunlight, but the image is just a hair too dark (not a big deal and something I can fix, forewarned being forearmed), although the actual print quality is excellent. The trim is also very good, especially considering how little leeway the design allows them. 

But the card stock they used is MUCH too thin, not even the weight of a normal playing card. THAT is a big deal. Also I'm not a fan of the UV coating that they used. It's just too glossy, makes the cards look more like photographic prints than a working card deck.

So -- I'm going to have to get another estimate from the printer before I can get any closer to producing the deck. Oh, well... it was a step that had to be taken, which makes me one step closer to realizing this dream...

Coming up this weekend: The WORLD. And that will leave just three cards left to design in the Majors.

Thanks to all for your support and comments, and for looking at my deck! As always, I can be reached at duckmeister[at]ducksoup[dot]me.

-- Freder

Sunday, September 29, 2013


It's poetic justice, you might say, that "Justice" is one of the more contentious tarot cards in the deck. Depending on your school of thought or the deck you are using, it is either card #11 or card #8 in the Major Arcana. Alistair Crowley muddied the waters even further with his undeniably beautiful and profound Thoth deck: "Justice" not being a concept that you or I could imagine a man like Crowley having much interest in, he changed the name of the card to "Adjustment" -- although the symbolism remained much the same. For my part -- although "Circus Justice" is a real thing and not something that you want to be on the receiving end of -- the concepts of Adjustment and Balance seemed to have more meaning for me in the context of a circusy tarot. So, while most of the deck is derived from Waite-Smith concepts and symbolism, I am veering from time to time towards the much less moralistic Thoth deck. It's my hope that this sort of philosophical gene-splicing will make my deck at least a little bit more unusual, and useful in a way that a slavish devotion to RWS would not be.

This card is the reason why my Major Arcana are not numbered: it wasn't (just) a design thing... I want the end-users of the deck to be able to stack up the Justice and Strength cards where it suits them. My personal preference is "Strength" in the eighth position and "Justice" at eleven, but there's no reason why I should force that preference on anyone. 

Red and Green are the colors that Pamela Coleman Smith used to robe her Justice figure, so I've used those colors here as well... but where Smith's Justice is a passive, seated figure, in Tarot of the Zircus Magi, Adjustment is a figure who embodies the concept of balance in all her physicality. This card came together quickly and nicely once I had figured out what in heck I was going to do with it...


-- Freder