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!







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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 :D


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! :heart:

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


I really like your style. Those animals have a life and a soul. It's fantastic.


Your color-sense is amazing. :)


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



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What a gorgeous deck-to-be! You have a lovely style and a great eye for colors.

Babalon Jones

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.


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!



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fantastic colors n artstyle!:)) btw you should check out card templates n see what would be your best size/proportion tarot or square?^^ lolz :))