SKT Revelation Production Status Update: Short Version
We’ve sent the down payment to our printing company and commenced the production process, but–
First we’re doing a test print for the final confirmation of color, the packaging, and also to see how the coloring looks with the selected cardstock and finish, which we estimate to take about 2 weeks to complete, and–
After hundreds of drafts and flip flopping between different options, I’ve finally selected a card back design.
SKT Revelation Production Status Update: Long Rambling Version
Let’s talk about what a Journey (*dies*) creating the card back design for this third edition deck was!
Eeks. RGB to CMYK conversion was not the issue. In my previous post on this matter, I showed you the digital files I converted from the RGB to CMYK. This is now the test print of what the conversion to CMYK looks like.
Fun tip: since I’m ordering this deck to check color, I tried to optimize my resources and time by printing lots of different versions for the card back options I was entertaining. This way in one fell swoop, I can determine which design, which color saturation, values, brightness, etc. to go with.
In the above photo, you can see how I printed out many variations of that double vajra bluish card back design, at different color saturation and brightness levels to see which one I would like best.
Just a quick update on SKT: The Revelation edition. I’ve now gone through two test prints of the deck to check color issues. We haven’t even gotten to the test runs for checking cardstock, finish, etc. We’re still on color.
Nonetheless, the pre-order newsletter e-mail will be sent out on the morning of March 20, 2021. One way to check whether the pre-order e-mail has been sent is to check the newsletter archives, linked here.
Even though the photograph of the cards is unfiltered and as-is, I think something about the way it’s translating digitally masks the problem that is all too glaring in real life: the color values are just a smidge on the dark side, and there isn’t enough contrast, so you end up with very slightly blurred images.
I’ve been getting my ass handed back to me every time I try to draft a card back. The above three are the most recent attempts. Left and center ones are way too busy, even for busy-body me, and although the right one above isn’t quite there yet, it’s promising. I can probably work out the details.
In the above snapshots of design elements, for each, I hand-drew a quarter of what you’re seeing as the image. After drawing in that quarter, I create a mirror image of it and attach it to its side to create a half. Then I create a flipped image of that half to create the whole.
It’s so satisfying to me to watch it blossom into the final ornate image. =) Because the quarter that you actually draw is– ehh– I mean, it’s lovely, but nothing crazy, right? And then you mirror, flip, and suddenly, whoa!
These hand-painted engravings of healing herbs and garden vegetables are a delight, and I’m sure at least one creative person seeing this will get ideas, download, and do something lovely with these illustrations, so here you go.
They’re from Elizabeth Blackwell’s A Curious Herbal (1737). Below you’ll find a zip file you can download of high-res images from the book. Or view it in the entirety, courtesy of The British Library, Catalogues & Collections.
Elizabeth Blackwell’s A Curious Herbal is notable both for its beautiful illustrations of medicinal plants and for the unusual circumstances of its creation.
[It] contains illustrations and descriptions of plants, their medicinal preparations, and the ailments for which they are used.
The first herbal was written by the Greek physician Dioscorides in the first century AD.
Elizabeth Blackwell was born in Aberdeen in about 1700, but moved to London after she married. She undertook this ambitious project to raise money to pay her husband’s debts and release him from debtors’ prison.
Blackwell’s Herbal was an unprecedented artistic, scientific and commercial enterprise for a woman of her time.
She drew, engraved and coloured the illustrations herself, mostly using plant specimens from the Chelsea Physic Garden.
It was highly praised by leading physicians and apothecaries (makers and sellers of medicines), and made enough money to secure her husband’s freedom, although she later had to sell the copyright as well.
This finely-bound copy of A Curious Herbal is from the collection of King George III, held in the British Library.
I’m now offering my art prints for sale, and if you’re interested, click on the above hyperlinked banner to go straight to the art descriptions page and instructions on how to order. But this is a blog post, so I want to get a little more cas (casual, pronounced “kage,” where “ka” is like “cat” and “ge” is pronounced like “george” omigod why am I taking so much time and text explaining something so stupid) and ramble about that process.
The above banner thing was totally just for fun, to amuse myself. I didn’t bother following any art composition principles, other than, well, the one I made up myself, which is “more is more.” =D Every single feature you see in that banner comes from the illustrations for the Spirit Keeper’s Tarot, The Revelation (my name for the third edition of SKT).
This blog post is just to share some of the behind-the-scenes art journeying.
These images are provided to the public for free download and under a Creative Commons Attribution license, which means the following:
You can share the images. You are free to copy and redistribute the illustrations in any medium or format.
You can adapt the images. You are free to transform, build upon, redesign, edit, revise, and in any way remix the illustrations for any purpose, including commercial purposes. Yes, you are free to profit financially from your adapted images of the SKT Vitruvian Majors, Aces, and Archangels.
Attribution or credit notes. My preference is that you make it very clear what part of the image or adapted image is attributed to my original work and what part is attributed to your creative additions. In other words, if you color in one of these black & white images and then sell your colored in SKT image, please make it clear in your product description that I am the artist for the black & white image while you are the artist for the coloring application. If you have traced part of my original art and then redesigned it, transforming it from the original, please include a note about what parts were my original and what parts you’ve redesigned and transformed. I say “my preference” because if you unintentionally forget to do that, I’m not going to be mad at you. =) But just please try not to forget.
While this license is free, if you do commercialize your SKT-based work, I’d be beyond thrilled to receive some merch! =) Send to the below address.
P. O. Box 20021
Castro Valley, CA 94546
If you might recall, Key 1: The Magus was the very first card I learned digital painting on. The line work was done by hand, scanned in, and the color was subsequently done via digital painting software programs. Then it was Key 2: The Priestess, and so on.
It’s amusing to look back on those first five keys, because it’s painfully obvious how scared of color I was. =) I didn’t know what I was doing. I was winging it. And you can tell.
It’s not until Key 6: The Lovers card that a noticeable improvement happens. Then after Key 7: The Chariot, off I went! =) Now that I know how to color, after finishing the Tens I’m going to return to Keys 1 through 5. I’ve already made notes on how I want to revise them.
You can click on any of these image files for an enlarged view.
This will be a walk-through of Keys 1 through 11 from the Major Arcana for the forthcoming third edition of the Spirit Keeper’s Tarot. Please note that I don’t anticipate the deck coming out any time sooner than 2021, and don’t be surprised if it doesn’t come out until 2022. I also won’t be doing pre-orders until the whole deck is done.