How to Create Your Own Tarot Deck

World TarotI first announced my intention to create a Tarot deck back in April 2012. It was on a whim, although I had been playing with the idea to turn my own photography into Tarot images for years.

This is what you do, when you have been working with the Tarot for a while: you look at your life and your environment with Tarot eyes!

First, you start to associate your everyday experiences with specific cards. For example, last year was my Hanged Man year, I’ve been dealt some Tower moments in my life and made a momentous Lovers choice in the early 90s, which has led me to where I am today.

Then you start looking at your holiday snaps and think ‘oh, that would make a great High Priestess‘ or ‘this is just the perfect Star for me‘, and so on…

My drawing talents are very limited, but with the advance of photo-editing software and online resources it has never been easier to turn regular photos into magickal images.

If you are interested in creating your own Tarot (or oracle) deck, but you cannot draw or paint, then why not consider using your own photography instead.

Here are some tips and resources to get you started:

1. Equipment

It’s perfectly fine to use the built-in camera of your smartphone, as long as it’s a minimum of 5 Mega Pixels. You can even use an easy-to-use photo app to edit and beautify your images.

If you use a separate camera, I can recommend the following web-based photo editing software:

http://www.befunky.com/

http://www.picmonkey.com/

Both websites offer many free features, but you can also subscribe to premium membership to access even more.

2. Theme of your Deck

The deck I’m creating reflects my personal life – experiences, interests, philosophy and spirituality.

Think about the theme and framework of your deck, and choose your images accordingly.

For example, for a deck reflecting your personal life, you could include snapshots of family members as court cards (or the people cards of the Major Arcana), you could use a photo of your local church/mosque/temple/synagogue as the Hierophant card, etc.

Next, you can add a specific atmosphere to the cards, such as a Gothic or whimsical feel by choosing the relevant location for your shot and/or adding effects with your photo-editor.

 

The Fool Tarot of Quotes
My first version of the Fool

3. Getting Started

Set a realistic goal. Unless you are a prolific creator, focus on completing the Major Arcana first. This makes your project seem less overwhelming, and it is very achievable.

Choose the image for each card carefully, but don’t spend too much time on each image either. You can always adjust or change it later. I do the same! That’s the beauty of digital work.

Make sure you save all your images (originals and edited) not only on your computer but also separately on a memory stick or in cloud storage!

4. Sizing and Printing Your Images

When you start creating your images, make sure you size them correctly from the start, otherwise you will have to resize your images later. You can download Tarot card templates from Gamecrafter, where you can also have your deck printed, once it’s finished.

 5. Designing Your Images

As you begin to use a photo-editor, you will learn to add effects and overlays to your images. The first images I created were only cropped, resized and the titles and quotes added (just like the Fool above), but by the time I reached the World, I have learned to fuse various photos into one image. It takes some experimenting, but you can do this too!

6. Copyright

If you are thinking of using images found on the internet as overlays for your own photo, then you need to be careful about copyright.

For example, avoid using celebrity photos for your deck, if you want to publish and sell it (this doesn’t apply, if you print your deck as a one-off for strictly personal use only). Marilyn Monroe might be a great Queen of Cups, but her photos are still under copyright unless otherwise stated with individual images.

Use public domain images or stock images that you can buy or are offered free:

http://www.istockphoto.com/ (pay per image)

http://morguefile.com/ (free images)

Wikimedia Commons (public domain images)

7. Have Fun

Don’t put yourself under pressure by setting crazy deadlines. I don’t know when my deck will be complete, but my target of creating four cards a month is realistic for me. So, if all goes well, May 2014 is my big goal.

Enjoy the process of designing each card and find the right image. It has prompted me to visit new places just to capture a specific image. Creating my own Tarot deck has certainly made me go out there! Smile

8. Turn Your Images into Posters and Art Prints

The completion of your deck might still be light years away, but that shouldn’t stop you from turning the ones already created into hard copies or even merchandise. Check out places like Photobox, where you can turn your creations into all sorts of goodies – from simple prints and greeting cards to canvas wall art.

The process of creating my own Tarot deck has been so enjoyable. I have gained confidence in creating artwork without the need to paint, and it has also been a kind of spiritual experience, because it has made me think about how the image of each card is reflected in my life.

With today’s technology, it has never been so easy to create your own Tarot deck. If you are inspired, go for it and make a start today.

Warmest wishes,

Christiane

 

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16 thoughts on “How to Create Your Own Tarot Deck”

  1. Ooh, thanks Christiane – I have a set of “Beach Cards” I have wanted to create for over a year, and I couldn’t figure out where to get them printed…this is an awesome resource, thank you so much! xxx

    1. Thanks, Donna! Glad my post has given you an idea, where to get your beach cards printed. I’d love to see them. You must showcase them on your website 😉 xxx

        1. They’re fantastic, Donna! I picked a card and got the 10-minute tidy session…it’s really what I need to do right now 😉

          These cards would make an inspirational deck for a daily draw. Thank you for sharing your link 😉 xx

          1. thanks Christianne! I’m so glad you got the card you needed! We’re working on an app for the cards too – I’ll let you know when that’s available! xx

  2. What a wonderful idea to create a deck of tarot cards based on your own personal experiences and how you see the world! I love this idea! Thanks for sharing all the great resources as well 🙂

  3. You have just taken such a burden off of me … a self imposed burden of course … Thank you so much for the simple and clear guidance provided in this article. The insurmountable became doable all in a heartbeat.

  4. Hi Christiane … thank you so much for all the information and links … it’s all a great kickstarter and a how-to guide as well. I’m all fired up to begin my own set now! Best wishes

  5. When I publish my own Tarot, do I need to get the copyright of Tarot owner. I mean do we have to get the permission from someone who is holding the copyright of using/ re-designing/ publishing tarot cards or Tarot, now, is a human property?
    I’m living in Vietnam and I want to know more infomations about Tarot’s copyrights. Thank you so much.

    1. There is no copyright on the concept of Tarot. It’s an ancient system and nobody holds a copyright on it. So you can design your own tarot cards without having to ask anyone for permission first.

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