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^ Seth
ideamutt's Avatar
Join Date: 18 Mar 2012
Location: Sacramento, CA
Posts: 9
Lightbulb Ideamutt animal portrait deck

Hello! I'm Seth, and I've recently started my first tarot deck, almost by accident. I started painting. When I started the second painting, I realized it was a tarot card--then almost immediately realized the first one was Strength. I've wanted to "eventually" create a deck for a while, but wanted to wait until I was "good enough." Well, I'm tired of waiting. It's time to just do the best I can.

It is an animal deck, composed of animal faces/portraits. Rather than scenes, I hope to convey sufficient meaning through the animal's symbolism, color, lighting, mood, etc.

I have degrees in illustration and graphic design, and recent resume experience includes copywriting. Animals have been my favorite thing since before I could talk. I've been playing with Tarot for about 5 years--much less than many here, which is why I'm here for feedback!

I have most of my animals picked out with thought processes behind them, but I'll generalize for the moment:

Cups are domesticated animals -- my thought here is that domestication has made them more attuned to our emotions, and likewise most easily anthropomorphised (attributed human characteristics).

Swords are animals who use tools or unique evolutionary adaptations. Animal science/wisdom.

Pentacles are animals who root and burrow and have strong ties to home, family, and/or money.

Wands are animals with exceptional spiritual ties to indigenous peoples of various cultures.

Majors are mostly animals that are particularly rooted into the human consciousness, and often fit well into several of the above categories.

Attached are the paintings I've started. None are quite done yet, but they are close enough to give a good start at seeing what the deck will look like.

I also have over half the remaining cards sketched out and am working on finishing the sketches so I might be able to start doing rudimentary readings with the sketch versions of the cards.

I'm planning on crowdfunding their creation through patreon, with possibly a final push for printing on Kickstarter. My Patreon should be set up sometime in the next week.

I'd love to get any feedback at all at this point. So far I've had artist friends supporting my efforts, but I'd love to get more feedback from Tarot people!

Attached Images
File Type: jpg Strength_lion.jpg (123.8 KB, 140 views)
File Type: jpg 10_pentacles_boar.jpg (121.5 KB, 141 views)
File Type: jpg 6_pentacles_mongoose.jpg (130.6 KB, 140 views)
File Type: jpg Moon_sphinx.jpg (96.5 KB, 143 views)
File Type: jpg Ace_wands_coyote.jpg (127.1 KB, 144 views)

Last edited by ideamutt; 29-10-2016 at 15:05.
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Old 29-10-2016     Top   #1
tarotlova's Avatar
Join Date: 07 Oct 2004
Location: Perth Western Australia
Posts: 1,566

I think they look beautiful, such soulful eyes are you going to have written on the cards what they are? I picked the Moon card out straight up but the minor cards people might have difficulties with guessing such as myself

For it was not into my ear you whispered, but into my heart, it was not my lips you kissed, but my soul.
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Old 29-10-2016     Top   #2
Is sensing a pattern in the making
Padma's Avatar
Join Date: 23 Feb 2012
Location: Canada
Posts: 19,615

I do animal portraiture for a living, and I used to be a graphic designer I think your style is just perfect for tarot cards, you are certainly more than "good enough"!

I also hope you caption your cards. It might be a bit difficult to know which card they are, even with the classification system you are using.

I love that Moon card!

PS you may want to watermark your card pics - there are a lot of pirated decks floating around out there.

"...One should never hesitate, as a nation or as an individual, to face dangers because they appear to the imagination to be so formidable." (things do not always turn out as badly as one expects). - Winston Churchill
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Old 29-10-2016     Top   #3
Falcor's Avatar
Join Date: 06 Jan 2016
Location: Israel
Posts: 1,413

I really like your style. Those animals have a life and a soul. It's fantastic.
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Old 30-10-2016     Top   #4
blue_fusion's Avatar
Join Date: 15 Jun 2002
Location: crossroads of eternity
Posts: 2,367

Your color-sense is amazing.


water my days with patient tears
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Old 30-10-2016     Top   #5
^ Seth
ideamutt's Avatar
Join Date: 18 Mar 2012
Location: Sacramento, CA
Posts: 9

Thank you all so much for your kind replies!

I do plan to caption them, but will be doing that digitally rather than on the paintings themselves... and I still need to work out HOW I want to do so. (though I like the idea of an uncaptioned option... possibly just for myself)

And thank you for the suggestion about watermarking, too. I will do that moving forward on anything larger than the sketches.


Speaking of, here are some of the sketches I'm particularly happy with right now. You can see even within the constraints I've set for myself, there's a lot of room to still tell a snippet of a story.

row 1: Chariot - crocodile (plus plover); Death - banded krait (highly venomous snake) in shed; Star - sparrows; Hanged man - chrysalis

row 2: 3 of Swords - shrike (aka butcher bird); Tower - bat; 2 of cups - domestic (white) mouse; 10 of swords - angler fish

row 3: 3 of pentacles - bees; Ace of pentacles - hatching penguin; Hermit - clouded leopard (with a firefly); Empress - giant panda

Attached Images
File Type: jpg sketches.jpg (68.7 KB, 120 views)

Last edited by ideamutt; 30-10-2016 at 03:27.
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Old 30-10-2016     Top   #6
Join Date: 23 Dec 2014
Location: OR
Posts: 119

What a gorgeous deck-to-be! You have a lovely style and a great eye for colors.
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Old 30-10-2016     Top   #7
Babalon Jones 
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Join Date: 24 Oct 2010
Location: Anomalous
Posts: 1,478

I like the thought process behind what animals for each suit, but agree it might not be intuitive which illustration is which card.

My favorite of the colored ones is the Mongoose - he looks positively demonical! In a good way, of course

Of the sketches, my favorite is the Giant Panda.

Tabula Mundi
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Old 30-10-2016     Top   #8
^ Seth
ideamutt's Avatar
Join Date: 18 Mar 2012
Location: Sacramento, CA
Posts: 9

I'm so excited because after sharing here and receiving such positive feedback, I felt empowered to get through the rest of my sketch cards. Many of these are very rough and need to have details added (or be redrawn entirely), but they are all here and I can actually use this deck.

Sorry not everything is visible!

Attached Images
File Type: jpg all_sketches_29oct16.jpg (78.3 KB, 103 views)
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Old 31-10-2016     Top   #9
reall's Avatar
Join Date: 12 Dec 2013
Location: Bosnia and Herzegovina
Posts: 1,233

fantastic colors n artstyle!) btw you should check out card templates n see what would be your best size/proportion tarot or square?^^ lolz )
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Old 02-11-2016     Top   #10
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