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...

17 comments:

  1. Do we have a print date yet? I'm so proud of you for organizing this fantastic deck. I never thought I buy a lenormand, but never say never.
    Sharyn/AJ

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Sharyn,
      No print date yet, I'm afraid. I haven't even handed over the final artwork to US Games, as I'm still scanning it. And we're also still discussing how to do the numbering etc. I'm guessing mid-2014, but that is a total guess. Still, glad that I've managed to tempt you with Will's lovely artwork :D

      Delete
  2. This looks like it will be a wonderful addition to my growing Lenormand-style deck collection! Can't wait for it to be published!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hee hee, Zanna, more enabling :) I feel so lucky to be reading with it already, yet I also can't wait to have "proper" cards in my hands. Once again, I'm as big an enablee as an enabler :D

      Delete
  3. Just looking over the cards I had missed. These really are beautiful. This is such a well-thought-out and sumptuous deck of images. Well done you two! I think this is going to be a very popular and default Lenormand for many people (especially those who have found the previous ones intimidating). If it's not, I'll wanna know why not! hehe.

    Big pats on the back all round :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm glad you're enjoying them, PLN. I'm delighted with how Will has interpreted my ideas, though not surprised - he's such a great artist! I think, with the huge boom in Lenormand decks that is coming, people will be spoiled for choice. Still, I hope some do give this one a try :D

      Delete
    2. I hope it will be very popular.

      And I think that one of the bonuses is you and Will being down to earth and likable people. There are some decks I just can't bring myself to use, due to the ego of their creators.

      Delete
    3. Well, not everyone may agree with you. After all, I'm daring to mess with "tradition"! Still, I thank you for your kind words :)

      Delete
  4. I wonder if anyone knows yet what's written on the letter? I tried to desipher it with an ogham script alphabet, but what comes out of it in latin letters makes no sense to me. is the outcome supposed to be english or is it old irish? or did I have the wrong ogham?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Frauke,

      The text is written in Ancient Irish, then transcribed into Ogham :) If you put the words that come out of your transcription into google, you'll probably find it ;)

      Delete
    2. no, it makes no sense. I tried different ogham sites, but i get always the same letters, but google does not recognize the words at all. also there is only one letter in the third row. and the 5 bent horizontal lines are bent in the other direction in every ogham I found. is it true that the letter is written horizontally from left to right?

      Delete
    3. Hi Frauke,
      Sorry, I had to go back to my sources and check. Yes, it's written horizontally from left to right, though traditional ogham might be top to bottom. If you want a clue, the reference material was found on this site: http://www.theirishstore.com/

      Delete
    4. Apologies, Frauke. I checked again, and this should be read from right to left, an error due to it originally being vertical bottom to top. However, the words are correct :)

      Delete
    5. well, it would be easier, if the letters would not be on their side and read from right to left. But after you said that, I now know the message. I had trouble with the one letter at the end, but I think I got that too now :-)

      Delete
    6. Glad you got it in the end :D

      Delete
  5. I don't get it either. When i translate it I just get gobbledegook, not ancient irish.
    *confused*

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Okay, have just checked my various sources, and realise that it should be read from right to left. I think this was an issue created as the source material was vertical, rather than horizontal. However, the words seem to be correct, if just "back to front" to our eyes :)

      Delete

We love comments, let us know what you think :)