Reflecting on My SKT Tarot & Art Journey

Evolving from the pen and ink line drawing you see above to the digitally-remastered in-color version of The Priestess was a journey. As 2021 comes to a close and I send out the final shipment of first print run decks of the Revelation Edition, I’d like to share my reflections on this journey.

Fair warning upfront: This is going to be a looooong blog post. I also share some tips, from direct personal experience, to aspiring indie deck creators.

Completing the Revelation Edition is one of the coolest things I’ve ever achieved, because I leveled up so much in terms of my own art. I did something I didn’t even know I was capable of doing.

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How Do We Value Art? What AI art means for tarot and oracle deck publishing

If you haven’t played around with the wombo.art app yet, then check out this link and have fun. You type in some keywords– any instruction you’d like to give the AI, be that themes, subjects, nouns, adjectives, colors– then choose an art style, like ukiyo-e, pastel, high fantasy, dark fantasy, medieval, etc., and the AI will generate a work of art based on your commission.

And the results are rather stunning. Human artists, in particular those who work primarily with digital art techniques, are now wondering what this means for the future of their vocation. No, not necessarily because of this app specifically, but just in general, this inevitable supplanting of human artists with AI.

More notably, I think, this is going to have an irreversible impact on tarot and oracle deck artists.

Take, for instance, these I Ching oracle card illustrations generated by the AI in a ukiyo-e art style. I typed in keywords for each corresponding hexagram, plus keywords for the two trigrams, selected Ukiyoe for art style, and hit the Create button. Then I did the design layout, added the hexagram image, number, and key phrase. Voila.

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SKT Revelation: First Printing Sold Out

The first print run of the SKT Revelation deck has now sold out.

We sold out on December 2, exceeding our projections. Based on the numbers from the First and Vitruvian editions, plus the number of pre-orders for the Revelation, we did our best to project the print run quantity we would need to ensure that anyone who wanted a deck in 2021 could get one, and have some surplus to last us until Spring of 2022. Oops.

Second Printing Waitlist

CLICK TO JOIN THE WAITLIST

Although you probably won’t get e-mails from the waitlist newsletter anytime soon, other than that initial canned introductory message, if you are sincerely interested in purchasing the SKT Revelation deck, second printing, please be sure to put your name on the waitlist.

This is very useful to us, because it helps us to gauge interest, what to do with production, the pre-order process, timeline, everything. So if you’re interested in getting a deck in the future, join the newsletter group.

Shipping Status

Everyone who pre-ordered prior to Oct. 6, 2021 has already received their decks or your deck is in-transit and heading your way now, with the exception of some Australia orders.

Some Australia orders are sitting tight while we wait for the US post office to resume mailing to your country. (The private UPS mailing option is still available for those who are in Australia, but the cost of it is pretty crazy.)

We are now making our way through the post Oct. 6 orders. Our ship-out date, meaning when your deck is packaged and sent out by us, is still set at late December.

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SKT Ongoing Packing & Deliveries: Quick Update

Just a quick update, and then I’ll be out, because lots of work. =) If you want to see progress photos, check out the Instagram account @bellwen. It’s much easier and faster for me to just snap some pics of what I’m doing while I’m doing it, peck out a caption, and boom, post.

As of this writing, we have about 500 decks left, give or take.

We also removed the “Standard Package” and “Premium Package” distinction. Now the only option is the deck + Book of Maps e-book (formerly the “Premium Package”). Shipping costs have also gone up.

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Tarot Court Cards Reimagined in the Spirit Keeper’s Tarot (Revelation Ed.)

Here’s a dedicated video in the 10-part orientation series just on the Empyrean Court. That video shares my intentions behind the renderings of the court cards in the Spirit Keeper’s Tarot and how I approach them, or at least quick, snapshot points on each card so that the video doesn’t get interminably long. =P

Or…

I am hopeful that you can simply transplant the way you currently read tarot court cards into the Revelation Edition, but for a few minor mental adjustments. Like just remember:

  • magic squares = Kings
  • shields = Queens
  • septagon elementals + horses = Knights
  • scrolls = Pages

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SKT Revelation Pre-Orders: Possible Design Issue + Video Course Series III

Top Lid of Box Printing Error (in Some Decks)

It has come to our attention that a minority number of decks may come with a printing error. See photo above. If you receive a deck where the top lid’s inner panel is printed “upside down” in reference to the outside, please take a photo similar to the one above, where we see the mirror reflection plus the lid itself, and e-mail the photos to abelldelivers@gmail.com to report the problem. If you could do so ASAP and without delay, that’d be very helpful to us. We need your input to collect accurate data.

At this time, we do not know the scope of the problem. When I did my randomized test quality assurance, where you dip into different containers to open 20 different decks and check quality [these are then set aside for replacement cards, if any are needed, and of course, as personal reading decks later on], none of them had this issue.

Although that isn’t enough information to conclude any which way, at least my thinking right now is that only a very small number of decks will have this issue. But please report so we can start collecting data and figuring out a plan for how to remedy it to those who do receive this type of lid.

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First Look at the Arrival of the Decks

This morning a white truck pulled up next to our house. Our decks have arrived!

The order was for “curb side delivery,” meaning the truckers were only obligated to drop those boxes on those wooden pallets (which apparently we had to pay for) off literally “curb side.” But they were so sweet and moved each pallet into our garage for us!

And now we begin the laborious process of unpacking from those pallets and moving those boxes inside. We don’t want to leave them in the garage, so today and tomorrow, we are literally doing heavy lifting to get what you see there into the house, one box at a time. Eeps. I better have toned arms after this!

Also, time to prep the assembly line!

Back in 2018 I shared a video of the first time I unboxed my First Edition Spirit Keeper’s Tarot. I thought it’d be fun to share me looking through the Revelation Edition for the first time.

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Australia & New Zealand Pre-Orders + Delivery Status Update

Michael is the broker dude. I was at the office when James texted me the above. 4:21 pm today, Oct. 4, 2021. So there you have it. We will receive delivery of the shipment some time between Wednesday and Friday. At the rate of my luck right now, let’s just say it’s gonna be Friday. =)

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