Importance of Uniformity?


Hi, I've been studying and reading tarot for awhile. I'm also a visual artist and recently have felt called to create my own deck. So far I only have sketches, and am still working out the kinks regarding the overall style and vibe I am going for.

I've been using a lot of abstract, dream-like imagery with a lot of astrological, alchemical and animal symbolism. I've debated for awhile whether or not I want to include humans in my illustrations and have decided that I almost certainly want to do that for the court cards and at least some of the major arcana.

For the numbered suits, I'm a little bit stuck. My inclination right now is to use only abstract imagery for some of the cards with a fair amount of animal symbolism, but to have some include depictions of people.

My fear is that this might cause the deck to feel unfocused or disconnected. But I might just be over-analyzing this. Any thoughts on this and the importance (or unimportance) of this kind of uniformity would be appreciated!


I don't think there's anything wrong with having a variety of humans and animals and symbols in your deck, but there needs to be something unifying about all of them, and art style alone isn't really enough. For a good example of a deck that involves both animals, people, and the occasional object as representations, check out the Linestrider, and how she made a coherent presentation involving all of them through the use of color and style.

It's more important to me that a deck feels cohesive stylistically and that I 'get' the reason that a card is represented the way it is. If I can't pick any two cards and (ignoring borders/names/fonts/etc) understand that they're from the same deck it ain't gonna work for me.


Greetings from another artist in Massachusetts!

I've followed a similar layout to you, in the sense that court cards and Major cards will all feature humans. I do this because I know many readers associate themselves with the court cards, so I feel it's easier for them to continue that practice when the court cards are human (or at least have personalities, as some animals do).

The Majors are known as very important cards, having significant messages attached to them, and we as humans are innately drawn to looking at other humans. Some majors like the Heirophant or Empress are also picked out by readers to signify themselves, as the court cards do. Because of these reasons, I've decided to make all Major Arcana cards also feature people, including cards like The World and The Wheel of Fortune.

To make the differentiation exceptionally clear, all cards that aren't Major or Court will not feature people. If I need something to represent an entity, personality, or being, I'll use animals, but otherwise the minor cards will feature objects.

I think this kind of consistency is easy for readers to pick up on, and is a quick way for them to recognize the cards they draw without needing to read the titles.

I think you need to set out rules for your deck in why you choose to have people present. Make those rules consistent, so whenever a reader sees a person, they know "ahhh, this card has a person because ..."

The consistency is key. The reader must be able to notice and internalize the logic you've used in laying out your cards for the best and most seamless experience.