Download My Art Study Journal

A while back on my Instagram feed, I shared photos of my 2020 art study journal. Now here’s the whole thing, though it’s still just a slim and sparse booklet.

I kinda didn’t wanna share this because it’s so, ew, a hot mess, disorganized, and you can even witness my mood changes as my handwriting teeters from neat and meticulous to hasty and illegible.

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SKT Pre-Orders Update and Some More Good-to-Know Tidbits

Deck Delivery Dates: Shipping Begins October 7, 2021

Printing and production completed on July 21, 2021. You might recall from an earlier update, the projected completion date I had gotten from the factory was July 19 at the latest. So we are running behind schedule.

2021 SKT Revelation Box Design

The decks then had to go through one final quality assurance check at the factory before it’s packaged and prepared for overseas shipping. The shipping time is between 45 and 50 days.

We’ve been assured by our factory that the decks are shipping out this week, but as of this precise moment that I’m typing, it has not been shipped out yet. Just to keep the numbers and projection on the conservative side, let’s assume the factory isn’t ready to ship until Friday, which means it actually ships next Monday, August 3. Sigh. Okay.

We’ve been told shipping by sea takes 45 to 50 days. If it arrives in port on the 45th day, it’ll be on US soil on September 16. If it’s the 50 day mark, then that’s September 21.

It then has to go through US customs. The last time we went through US customs for a large shipment was pre-pandemic, and it took about 7 to 10 days. I heard from other business owners who import goods that right now it’s closer to 14 days.

So let’s just assume my shipment arrives on September 21 and takes 14 days to go through US customs. We’re now looking at actual receipt of the decks around October 5.

Continue reading “SKT Pre-Orders Update and Some More Good-to-Know Tidbits”

Divinity Blessing Cards & About Packing Favors (Deck Creator’s Notes & Commentary)

Buddhist Divinity Blessing Card

You can download these printable 2.5″ x 3.0″ divinity blessing cards. High-res 500 dpi JPGs to follow.

The first set is Buddhist: Maitreya, bodhisattva of loving-kindness and Kuan Yin, bodhisattva of mercy and compassion.

Kemetic Divinity Blessing Card

The second set is Kemetic: Thoth (Dhwty or Tehuti), the Egyptian god of knowledge and writing, and Isis (Ese or Ast), goddess of magic.

Then I’ll chat a bit about deck packing favors, for the prospective indie deck creators who might be interested in my notes and commentary on the matter.

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SKT III Production Status Update

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!

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SKT III Production Status: More Test Prints

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.

Continue reading “SKT III Production Status: More Test Prints”

SKT III Status Update: Color Values and Saturation Issues

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.

Continue reading “SKT III Status Update: Color Values and Saturation Issues”

Why is a Card Back Design So @#$%&* Difficult?!?

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!

Continue reading “Why is a Card Back Design So @#$%&* Difficult?!?”

A Curious Herbal (1737) by Elizabeth Blackwell: Hand-colored engravings

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.

A Curious Herbal (1737)

Download Zip File

About the Book:

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.

British Library 34.I.12 -13

Selling Art Prints & More Diary Notes on Learning How to Art

benebellwen.com/artprints

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.

Continue reading “Selling Art Prints & More Diary Notes on Learning How to Art”

Creative Commons License for the SKT Vitruvian Majors

Click me to download the Major Arcana image files for free

I thought I talked about this before, but there still seems to be some confusion around the issue, so I am hoping this post will clarify.

You can download the black & white image files for the SKT Vitruvian Major Arcana illustrations here. (To be more specific, it’s the Majors, the four Aces, and the four Archangels.)

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.

Benebell Wen
P. O. Box 20021
Castro Valley, CA 94546