AI Generated Art + Tarot and Oracle Decks with AI

On AI Art

  • 2021 Dec. 5, How Do We Value Art? What AI art means for tarot and oracle deck publishing
    • Playing around with wombo.art
    • Is AI art indistinguishable from human-made digital art?
    • What principles determine great art?
    • Socratic & Platonic philosophy on art
    • Taoist & Confucian philosophy on art
    • Art composition: design theory
    • Disegno (Italian Renaissance)
    • Confucianist aesthetics
    • AI’s creative process vs. human artist’s creative process
    • Is AI doing a better job than humans?
  • 2021 Dec. 6, I Ching Oracle Cards with AI Generated Art (Free Download)
    • Having fun with AI generated art apps
    • AI art doesn’t “lack soul”
    • Who is the creator when it’s AI art?
    • Free download of I Ching oracle cards (AI generated art)
    • Zip files of all downloadable image files for hexagrams
  • 2022 Sep. 14, AI Generated Art + Tarot and Oracle Decks with AI
    • Personal dabblings with AI art
    • Does AI art lack soul?
    • Rising popularity of AI generated art decks
    • AI art won’t replace fine art (but may impact illustration)
    • What artists are saying
    • IP implications of AI art
    • Valuing AI generated art
    • More of my thoughts

Back in December 2021 I covered the topic of AI generated art and what it might mean for the marketplace of tarot and oracle decks here (“How Do We Value Art? What AI art means for tarot and oracle deck publishing“) and here (“I Ching Oracle Cards with AI Generated Art“).

But since then there have been new developments in this subject area so I thought I might revisit the topic.

Left: My illustration, by hand in pencil and ink. Right: NightCafe, art style: “Charcoal”
Some Personal Dabblings with AI Art

Above to the left is a sketch I did by hand, first in pencil, then outlined in ink. I started with the following prompt, text I typed out myself and stared at for a good five minutes before putting pencil to paper: Solitude. Contemplating. Maiden in a moment of self-questioning.

I copied some text written by Hildegard of Binden on the transcendental experience of God, to fill the blank space. What you see took me two hours. Uh, tbh, probably longer than two hours. I lose track of time when I’m doodling. (The barely-there blue grid lines was added digitally, because that’s just something I like to do when I share my doodles to the public.)

What you see to the above right was produced via NightCafe, an AI art generator, with the same exact text as the prompt: Solitude. Contemplating. Maiden in a moment of self-questioning. I selected the art style “Charcoal” to see how close to a pen and ink sketch it could go. The illustration to the right took the program two minutes.

Left: High school art by yours truly, from the 90s. Colored pencil. Right: AI generated art based on text description of illustration to the left, via Wombo

I’m fascinated by how similar the interpretations were, between me, a human, and AI tapping in to collective knowledge. In fact, in the past I’ve drawn illustrations in charcoal very similar to what the AI produced!

The pose, the facial expression, the way the hair falls, the vulnerability– if I rummage through my old art portfolio from high school, I can excavate a charcoal or pastel drawing that looks more or less the same with that!

“You Are the Journey” by @KaliYuga_ai via MidJourney (AI art)
Does AI Art Lack Soul?

I explored the question “does AI art lack soul” here in an earlier rumination on the subject. In that blog post, I talked about how this advent of AI generated art has shifted my former paradigm on the mind-soul relation.

This declaration you’ll hear oft repeated — AI art lacks soul; AI lacks soul — is one I’m most apprehensive about. Perhaps we can say we don’t understand the soul of AI, but to declare that AI art lacks soul… I dunno. It doesn’t sit right with me.

I’m not convinced that these works “lack soul.” If I’m getting all psychic and woo, I might say the impression of the soul that’s present feels different from a human sapient soul, just like an animal’s sentient soul or a tree’s soul feels different. You hear people critique the evident style or aesthetic consistent in AI generated art, but just because you don’t love an artist’s style or technical approach doesn’t mean that artist suddenly lacks soul.

So while I have many conflicting thoughts about AI art, the accusation that it lacks soul isn’t one of them. If anything, I wonder if the full body of AI generated art is mirroring back something deep within us collectively, for us to see.

Technomage Tarot by Lee Duncan in collaboration with AI, via Kickstarter campaign (last visited 2022 Sep. 30)
A Rising Popularity of AI Generated Art Decks

Oh, and to illustrate what the community has been buzzing about with regard to AI-generated tarot decks (or in collaboration with AI) coming on to the market, I’ll feature several throughout this commentary.

Continue reading “AI Generated Art + Tarot and Oracle Decks with AI”

Reading with the Livre du Destin (or Book of Fate)

A while back I shared zip file downloads of the above deck here. I called it the Petit Etteilla, because that’s what it was called on the British Museum page that I got the images from.

And then much smarter cartomancy community members pointed out that it’s actually a deck called the Livre du Destin, or Book of Fate.

Continue reading “Reading with the Livre du Destin (or Book of Fate)”

Petit Etteilla, Paris: H. Pussey, 1860-1886 (32-card piquet pack download)

What we call the “Petit Etteilla” refers to a class of 32-card piquet decks for cartomancy based on Etteilla’s 1770 text, which used the courts (Kings, Queens, Jacks), Aces, Tens, Nines, Eights, and Sevens from a playing card deck. To the 32-card pack, Etteilla added a 33rd card called “Etteilla” to designate the querent. And thus he proposed that the original Egyptian tarot pack consisted of 33 cards.

UPDATE: I referred to this deck as a “Petit Etteilla” because that’s how the British Museum referred to it. However, one of our community’s preeminent tarot historians, with a particularly vast amount of knowledge on the Etteilla, John Choma, came back with some clarifications.

This is not a Petit Etteilla deck, but an unrelated deck called the “Livre du Destin” (or Book of Fate), created some time in the mid-1800s. You can check out a few historic examples (thank you, John, for the links!): here (M. Violet, éditeur), here (Le Livre du destin), and here. These images are also notably similar to other 19th-century oracle decks like the 53-card Sibylle des Salons and the 36-card Petit Cartomancien.

This download of Petit Etteilla card images, courtesy of the British Museum, is the edition published between 1860 and 1886 by Jean-Henri Pussey in Paris, France. The originals were 70 mm x 111 mm, hand-colored etchings on pasteboard.

Petit Etteilla

(Originals, 70 mm x 111 mm)

CLICK ON LINK TO DOWNLOAD ZIP FILE

If you’re savvy with digital photo editing and graphic design, then work directly from the 70 mm x 111 mm originals, and format the layout design to your personal preferences.

Continue reading “Petit Etteilla, Paris: H. Pussey, 1860-1886 (32-card piquet pack download)”

I Ching Oracle Cards with AI Generated Art (Free Download)

On AI Art

  • 2021 Dec. 5, How Do We Value Art? What AI art means for tarot and oracle deck publishing
    • Playing around with wombo.art
    • Is AI art indistinguishable from human-made digital art?
    • What principles determine great art?
    • Socratic & Platonic philosophy on art
    • Taoist & Confucian philosophy on art
    • Art composition: design theory
    • Disegno (Italian Renaissance)
    • Confucianist aesthetics
    • AI’s creative process vs. human artist’s creative process
    • Is AI doing a better job than humans?
  • 2021 Dec. 6, I Ching Oracle Cards with AI Generated Art (Free Download)
    • Having fun with AI generated art apps
    • AI art doesn’t “lack soul”
    • Who is the creator when it’s AI art?
    • Free download of I Ching oracle cards (AI generated art)
    • Zip files of all downloadable image files for hexagrams
  • 2022 Sep. 14, AI Generated Art + Tarot and Oracle Decks with AI
    • Personal dabblings with AI art
    • Does AI art lack soul?
    • Rising popularity of AI generated art decks
    • AI art won’t replace fine art (but may impact illustration)
    • What artists are saying
    • IP implications of AI art
    • Valuing AI generated art
    • More of my thoughts

I’ve been maybe a little bit obsessed with AI generated art apps, though not just because of the pretty art. Rather, my fascination comes from the way such AI generated art shifts my former paradigm on the mind-soul relation. Does an AI really lack soul? That’s the question I’ve been kicking around in my head.

After my blog post on How Do We Value Art? What AI art means for tarot and oracle deck publishing, one recurring sentiment expressed in the comments section on Instagram and Facebook was that the art created by an AI lacks soul, whereas art created by humans reflect the artist’s soul, and that is why human-created art is superior.

Really? Because I’m not convinced.

Continue reading “I Ching Oracle Cards with AI Generated Art (Free Download)”

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.

Continue reading “Download My Art Study Journal”

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.

Continue reading “Divinity Blessing Cards & About Packing Favors (Deck Creator’s Notes & Commentary)”

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!

Continue reading “SKT III Production Status Update”

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”