Going in the order of the cards I’ve presented here, I’m ending 2020 and beginning 2021 on the Ten of Swords. Hmm. Yah I’m not going to read into that. =) Moving on.
While the style and approach for the earlier editions asked of you to journey inward, this third edition, which I’m calling The Revelation, asks of you to journey outward. If my earlier editions were about depth, then this third edition is about expanse.
The Revelation Edition can be treated as an entirely different deck from the First and Vitruvian Editions. It’s within the SKT family, hence the deck name remains the same. And while it shares the same DNA, SKT III has really evolved to solidify its own unconnected identity.
I cannot wait to share with you the companion guidebook. It’s basically a new Book of Maps, because it had to be. I go into detail explaining the who, what, where, when, and why for each card illustration, and then for interpreting it, the how.
I’ve included insights from history, anthropology, sociology, theology, and archaeology that I’ve been learning, and after reading the Book of Maps, I hope you’ll gain foundational knowledge of Mesopotamia, Egypt, Levant, Persia, the African nation-states, Greco-Roman influences and the Occident, Paleo-America, the Andean cultures, Mesoameria, the culture and religions that sprang from the Indus Valley and its influence over Asia, and Oceania.
Every color choice was intentional, and I gave myself anxiety attacks just trying to keep up with every layer and facet of consideration. I researched how dyes would have been made in the time period each card was set in as part of my color choice decision-making. I attempted to be a little more intentional with color theory and working with the color wheel. I considered the vibrational frequencies of different colors, how they affect us, and how I wanted to combine and work with those frequencies in particular cards.
One of the things I’ve been doing is going back to past cards and removing public domain derivative images, which is something I had initially done on a couple of cards, while the overwhelming majority were 100% original work. Well. By “original” I just mean I’m drawing it by my own hand. I don’t mean creatively original. =) I closely referenced archaeological artifacts and museum pieces from the cultures that the details originate. So in that sense, I didn’t try very hard to be “creative.”
Above left is the version I previously shared. My concept at the time was to take inconsequential shortcuts and use public domain clipart, such as the above left lotus, color it in (the coloring job was my own), and use it.
That was back during the Aces though. This has been a journey for me, and where I’m at now, since having done the Aces, is a place of really wanting to convey my personal artistry. So I’ve gone back to delete all details that weren’t drawn by me to re-do that detail and make it my own.
So above right you’ll see a lotus I drew myself and was featured in my 2016 book, The Tao of Craft. I colored in that image and used that instead. As I was doing so, I got the idea to use the trinity of primary colors as part of the symbolism, which is why there’s the red, yellow, and blue lotus blossoms. (The yellow lotus was initially colored white, then layered with yellow.)
I want the artwork to be 100% from my own hand, and to not use any public domain images integrated into the illustrations.
There are a few exceptions, but the exceptions are really obvious, and intentional.
I talked about my paintings-within-a-painting concept study for the Four of Orbs here. The gold-framed paintings featured along the side walls of the Four of Orbs are famous Russian works in the public domain, though the back wall of “paintings” are other cards I’ve drawn in the SKT deck. (Cute, huh?)
The amphora that the goddess Iaso is holding in the Four of Swords is also public domain art (very public domain… 425 BC “public domain”…). There was a magical-intention reason as to why I wanted to use the image straight from the actual artifact rather than redraw it myself, so that’s the reason it’s included.
Every feature that’s not done originally by my own hand will be cited in the Book of Maps companion guidebook.
In line with the theme of Revelation, what had been signs and omens in the previous editions now appear in the personified forms of Divinity, with names, faces, and iconography from identifiable pantheons.
The context that Divinity appears isn’t to be a main feature in the art, however. It’s to convey an interactive relationship with us, with humanity. The main feature, then, is communion with divinity. It’s the depiction of an interactive relationship between the spiritual and physical worlds.
I hope by learning more about human history, reconnecting with our cultural roots and the cradles of civilization we descend from, we can better understand ourselves and how we each will be contributing to the collective’s future.