Wednesday, 24 July 2013

Card Back Poll

Well, as promised last week, I've been working on a few ideas for the card backs.  This is what I've come up with so far.  Please leave a comment to say which you like best :)  With the cross detail cards, I could also make the cross on the green back smaller, I'm just trying out options.  And no, the Stars card doesn't look like that, it's a highly photoshopped version of it ;)

P.S.  Next week's blog post will go live on Thursday at 6pm, instead of Monday at 8am, because it's part of the Tarot Blog Hop!

Stars Detail b-w
Stars Detail Sepia
Plaid Back Painted
Cross Detail Burgundy
Cross Detail Green
Plaid Back Photoshopped

Wednesday, 17 July 2013

Progress Update and Question

This week I am working hard to scan all the original artwork from Will to send over to US Games, as well as trying to finish up the companion book, and figure out some issues around the borders and numbering.  Still, I thought I could share a picture of a Lenormand-sized card from the prototype deck I printed from Will's scans, and one of the actual paintings.

There is a greater vibrancy, a rich depth to the original, which is just beautiful!  Hopefully, some more of that will come through with these higher resolution scans and the far better printing technology that US Games brings to the table.

So, a quick question: do you have a preference regarding the colour of the backs of these cards?  I have an idea of what to do for it, but am just not sure whether to go with green or purple, or something else entirely?

Wednesday, 10 July 2013

The Making of: The Letter

©McCracken & Worthington
There were quite a lot of questions in my head when I designed the Letter card.  What sort of script should be used?  What sort of medium: paper/papyrus/ogham sticks?

My choice in the end was to show a scroll and ogham script, for a number of reasons.  A scroll, because there were a lot of them in use at that time, and it is more obviously a Letter than a stick with scratches on it.  And ogham, because it was used a lot by the Celts as a way to hide what they were writing. 

They would transcribe whatever language they were writing into ogham text as a sort of cypher, to keep it from being easily read if found by someone it wasn't intended for.  So, you find ogham texts which, when returned to the regular alphabet, are actually in Latin, or Gaulish, or Ancient Irish, and so on.

©McCracken & Worthington
When Will started work on the brief, he asked me what the Letter should actually say.  It wasn't something I had really thought much about, but he assured me that some of his fans would transcribe the text, so it should have some meaning.  Took me a while to figure out what to put, and it's in Ancient Irish, as I preferred the idea of a letter going between Celtic Brittany and Ireland, to one written in Latin.  If you want to know what it says, you'll have to be nerdy enough to do the cypher yourself!

Another factor in my design was that I wanted different forms of light in the different cards.  So, the Book shows sunlight piercing the gloom of a roundhouse's interior, while here the scene is lit by a rough, beeswax candle.  And then, the outdoor scenes are alternately by sunlight, starshine or moonlight.  The single candle is more intimate than sunlight, and suggests the light of the mind that has crafted its text...

Wednesday, 3 July 2013

The Making Of: The Dog

©C. McCracken & W. Worthington
Last week, I talked about the differences I see between the oft-added Cat card and the more traditional Lenormand Dog.  Today, then, it seemed appropriate to take a look at our Celtic Lenormand canine.

In designing this card, I wanted it to be set on a beach, as many of the cards in this deck are.  There is a beautiful balance of elements by the sea, which feels appropriate to the Celtic and pagan theme of these cards.

I also wanted the sense of humans close by, suggested by the stick and the dog's expectant air.  After all, this is a card of friendship and the known, not of isolation or uncommon situations.  Our Dog looks alert and happy, ready to take part in whatever his humans suggest, glad to be alive. 

©C. McCracken & W. Worthington
When picking out a breed of dog to show, given the deck is based in Brittany I chose a Brittany Spaniel, or Epagneul Breton.  As you can see, in the original sketch the dog had a short tail.  Will and I, being cat people, saw nothing strange in this.

Fortunately, before he made a start on the final painting I did a little more research and realised the short tail was due to cosmetic docking in modern show dogs, rather than being innate to the breed!  And while the Romans did sometimes dock their dog's tails, there is no evidence of this practice among the Celts.  So, in the final image, our Dog has a natural fan of tail held high :)