Sunday, December 03, 2017

Divination Deck: The Green Set

If anyone is so inclined to check out my Etsy Shop, you'll find a new item that I absolutely love. I have plenty of ideas and plans for this in the future but for now, check out this link.

Chocolate Dragon Paper Etsy Shop

This is the Divination Deck. It has been in the making since 2013 and I finally just pulled it all together. I'll give you the story here and a few photos of my favorites.

Allow me to explain what it is and then I get into how it came into being. The Divination Deck is a set of 16 individual cards, each with it's own traits. These cards when shuffled and placed in a particular order or spread may allow insights into future events, choices to be made, or just why you feel the way you do. You can use them to divine the future or probe more deeply into yourself. It is similar (but different) to Tarot. This being said, I created these cards for pure entertainment purposes; a showcase of my artwork.

The cards are standard playing card size (2.5" X 3.5") and are printed on 100 lb cardstock. Each card has an identical back. They are laser printed and hand-trimmed, so there are some minor imperfections that vary from card to card. The set comes with an instruction sheet that outlines a simple spread of cards as well as the traits that each card represents. After using the cards a few times, these traits can be easily memorized. The set with instruction sheet is packaged into a small coin envelope. (Mostly, because I don't quite have the money to invest in printed card boxes but I hope that will be possible with future sets.)

The Story:  A few years ago, I bought a book called Wizardology. (Remember those "ology" books? There was a whole slew of them. I loved those books.)  In that book, was a deck of "Wizard's Cards" to be used for divining the future. It was a set of 8 as I recall and had two different meanings depending on whether it appeared right-side up or upside-down. I was fascinated with the cards and the book encouraged the readers, aspiring wizards, to create their own deck.

Cards have long been used for Divination. Tarot cards are best known for their Major Arcana but the whole deck is a workable card game. I had always been interested in the Tarot but was intimidated by all the cards and meanings. I saw this Wizard's Deck and thought it a nice slimmed down, bare-bones sort of Tarot. So I made my own deck.

Of course, I couldn't just replicate the one in the book. I didn't like the fact that each card had a double meaning. So I separated each into it's own card. Each card represented two "traits" and a personality type. For the simple spread, two spots were determined to be people of influence and yet not all the cards were connected to a person. So I filled in all these gaps to make the deck work the way I wanted. I wanted certain things to be Clear and others to be Interpreted.

My first Divination Deck was born.

This idea percolated on the back burner until I began making trading cards, both ATC (artist trading cards) and LTC (letterbox trading cards). (Letterboxing is a hobby I used to participate in on a regular basis. While I still like it, I just don't partake like I used to.) The idea of the Divination Deck resurfaced as they were "cards". I loved to make alternate playing cards; like the Queen of Spiders (instead of spades) or the King of the Jungle. They were cards that could be used as gaming cards but also just admired for their art.

Anyway, I pulled out the idea and created a set of Divination Cards for a letterbox postal ring. Each card was handmade and stamped with a hand-carved rubber stamp I had carved to fit my theme. I even stamped a background stamp on the back of the card so the deck could be used. I made a deck for each "player" and included the "rules" of the deck and how to use it. I was rather proud of it. I made a set for my brother that he used to keep about his guest room, in case anyone had a hankering to tell the future.

The idea fell again by the wayside. I had made a deck; project finished.

Except that a few years ago, I took up art. I became an addict of making things with paper and paint. Once again, the Divination Deck idea called to me. What if I could make these cards with my own artwork and scan them in to reproduce decks? My job at The UPS Store educated me about how scanned artwork could be reproduced on a small scale. My idea became to make the artwork on a 8 X 10 or 9 X 12 canvas or paper that could be easily scanned into a digital file.

That meant I had some limitations. First, if I intended to sell them (and I did), the artwork couldn't include anything that was copyrighted. So if I collaged, I had to be careful about what I added. Second, these works had to be flat. The scanner wouldn't read 3-D items well and could leave a shadow. Thirdly, I had to stick with vertical layouts and rectangular proportions. Since these would be cards, it made no sense to do a landscape or make the artwork square. It would be a waste of printing.

So it began.
"Shadow" was the first "card" I completed. The original artwork is a mixed media piece on an 8 X 10 canvas. I debated on adding the actual word to the artwork and decided against it. The word could be added to the digital file for the printing of the cards. This also added another limit to the art. I had to be sure I had some "blank" space to add the title of the card.

It took me two years to complete all the artwork and most of it was done this last year. After I did "Shadow", I slacked off. I finally set my goals down on a check list and marked off which cards I had done and how many I had to go. Looking at the check list was a great inspiration to get it in gear.

The last couple of months has been scanning and setting up the file, printing and trimming.
It's finally completed. If you're interested in owning a deck, I have them for sale at my Etsy shop.

Do these next two cards look familiar?
These were tested right in my art journals. Pages that were shared right here on my blog.

Who knows what my future art journals will inspire?

This first deck is my Green Set. I figured I should give it a name as I plan to make other sets with different artwork. (I already have two cards done for a new set.) I will even change up the backs and add a different "spread" in the instructions.

I do have plan.

But the Green Set will be the set that will be unlimited, I think. Other sets might not be.
So thanks for hanging in there with me. Thanks for reading to the end!
I might not have too much time for blogging during December. (I hope to get my art journal assignments done, though!)
So have a Happy Holiday.
Need that link again? Go HERE.