The Lovers in Tarot

Originally written in 2017

lovers-tarot-king-journeyI originally intended to send out this newsletter a few days before Valentine’s day, but a combination of sickness and working on freelance projects delayed its being sent it. I wasn’t kidding when I said I am a one man crew on almost everything i’m involved with.

After creating a few decks over the years, we’ve created quite a few “Lovers” cards of varying themes and looks.

Our first was when I co created a King’s Journey Tarot. This was quite an unusual looking Lovers card in that it was more battle themed rather than a traditional depiction of love.

King’s Journey is a unique deck where we follow one character throughout the entire deck of cards. (With a Spirit suit and two additional Majors the total number of cards are 94 instead of the regular 78). From the Fool, considered our first card, to the World card, considered our last, coming after the minor suits, the Fool character changes in appearance the whole way through (with the exception of his clothing, which was kept very similar in theme and color to be easily identifiable)

In King’s Journey the Lovers card features the young fool character doing battle with his inner demon. Having defeated his “darkness” he has been granted the right to court the Emperor’s daughter (The Emperor appears in the background with his daughter. Similarly in the Emperor card all three appear too)

While it’s certainly a different view of love, it deals with a common theme that is sometimes crucial to confront if a relationship is going to work. Sacrificing or overcoming a part of yourself that brings negativity to the relationship.

A few years later we created a more traditional version of the King’s Journey Lovers and occasionally this has been included as a bonus card.

simply-deep-tarot-loversNext up is our Simply Deep Lovers card. This has more of a Victorian feel to it and is in a picnic setting. It was designed to be a little bit flirty but not overtly so.

Of all of the lovers cards, it’s probably the closest we’ve come to a more romantic feel to the card.

Since being published by Schiffer Publishing Ltd, we’ve also released a borderless version of the deck which is available on our site  along with a Simply Deep mini deck, for those that like to collect miniature versions of their favorite decks.

Our next Lovers card was the military uniformed couple in the Chinese Propaganda Art Tarot, seen below, who are depicted celebrating a marriage.

It’s a very different Lovers card than is traditionally depicted because they are in uniform. It’s more formal and less romantic. Above the couple can be seen spiritual beings, the Phoenix and Chinese Dragon inside a heart.chinese-tarot-lovers-asian

About a year after starting on the Chinese Propaganda Art Tarot, we created our “green mutant” lover in what would become The Twisted Tarot Tales deck. This is probably one of my favourite Lovers cards that I’ve drawn because it is much more wacky and the colors pop making it very comic bookish.

I wrote a few pages about the message behind this peculiar version of the Lovers card in the Twisted Tarot Tales companion book and the fact that looks can be deceiving in the imagery.

horror-tarot-loversI originally illustrated another card for the lovers depicting a wolf type being in love with a woman. It never made the cut even though I personally liked it but maybe one day it will make a return.

horror-lovers-tarot-2One of the great things about depicting a universal concept like love is that there are many ways it can be depicted and they can all be true. The Lovers in the King’s Journey recognizes that relationships can be hard and often need something of a sacrifice to make them work. Sometimes that sacrifice might be our inner demon. The Simply Deep Lovers depicts a secret get away between two romantic partners; that much needed intimate time. The Chinese Propaganda version depicts marriage, I suppose I would say, in a more rigid practical way, a “uniform” way, and the Twisted Tarot Tale green mutant card represents, in my view, the truest form of love; protecting a loved one.

I think for me that aspect of love is worth more because anyone can say they love you, but without any action, without any outward sincere show of affection, especially in the hardest parts of life, then what is there to believe in? How can we be sure that the love is as real as the hallmark cards say it is! lol

tarot-horror-comicsUpon final completion, Christine wanted to depict two crash test dummies in love. To me, this image reminds one of a bit of a reckless relationship. It’s still a relationship. Not perfect, and the couple are, at least symbolically, depicted as being damaged (or about to be damaged). It could be argued that this particular couple are built for it, that’s their purpose, but in a human sense that hurt can still be difficult (forgive me if I am rambling. I have been unwell for the past week and may be making less sense than I imagine).

No doubt about it, this crash dummies card is creepy. It depicts a car crash, and even if it is in a test zone, we are all far too familiar with life and its tragedies. Some people were not too thrilled about this deck for that reason alone; it does not shy away from the horror in life, but for me personally it is more honest that way. I value honestly, and I try to be honest, most importantly to myself and the Lord. If I can’t be honest with myself, how can I be honest with you?

tarot-lovers-chinese-propaganda-artThat goes for readings too. I would only want a reading from an honest person who is able to come to terms with the fact that life has tragedies. Read more about that in my article from last edition called “Foresight” . Again, sorry for my rambling. I have spent the past few days visiting deceased loved ones, looking into NDE and feeling genuinely under the weather but I shall bounce back very soon!

The next Lovers card we created was the Winter Chinese Propaganda Art Tarot (Aka our “Year of the Rooster” version). I see this card as a card where we see the idea of love through the eyes of a child. He’s created an ice/snow creation of two adult lovers. Maybe they are entirely figments of his imagination or maybe they are a depiction of his parents.

It’s been about 6 or 7 years since I illustrated my first Tarot card and since then I’ve drawn about 8 Lovers cards through the various decks and bonus cards. In my own life I like to think I’ve learned a little about love too!



tarot-portraits_origPortraiture has been around since ancient Egypt and possibly even beyond. From statues of the Egyptian Pharaoh Akhenaten to coins depicting Julius Caesar, portraiture has been around for thousands of years.

Traditionally it was only those in power or who had great wealth that could commission portraits. The royals all have their portraits, along with the U.S Presidents.

Before the invention of canvas painting, which seems to have been introduced king-charlesaround the 13th century, most portraits came in the form of great monuments and statues that were erected to honour kings and leaders throughout history. The Sumerians had their cylinder seals with their depictions of Enki and the other “Annunaki”. The Mayans created, among other great works, the depiction of Pacal the Great on a well known sarcophagus lid in the Temple of the Inscriptions Pyramid structure in Mexico.

Regardless of what form the portrait came in; statue, or canvas, even paper, portraiture was a form of immortalising royal or political figures before the invention of photography.

While art portraiture continued on alongside photographic portraiture, it’s importance, in terms of immortalizing the figure, waned. Yet despite photography mainly succeeding the hand painted / drawn aspect of portraiture, traditionally painted and drawn portraits are still carried on today, probably more through a sense of keeping tradition.

Did you know that from George Washington onwards, U.S Presidents have traditionally had their official portraits painted? There’s a colorful history behind the portraits too. President Washington’s portrait, it is said, was rescued by First Lady Dolley Madison when the White House was set on fire by the British in 1812.

obama-portrait_origTheodore Roosevelt hated his portrait so much that he had it painted a second time; this time by one John Singer Sargent. He felt the original looked too tame and he wanted something a bit more masculine.

Bill Clinton’s portrait was the first of it’s kind to be painted by an Africa American artist; Simmie Knox. Barack Obama was the very first U.S President to have his photo taken digitally. He’s also the first to have 3D portraits taken of himself.

Yet while photography, and now video, have, for the most part, replaced the hand produced “immortalisation” technique of portraiture, hand drawn portraits have stood the test of time. What’s more. You don’t have to be the next president or born into royalty to afford a great portrait.

For those of you in the Tarot world, I have begun to once again take commissions for portraits. While it’s probably one of the more time consuming services that an artist might offer, it doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg. (We’re currently offering portraits around 60 dollars) . I understand that to some that seems like a low price (when compared to other artists) but I’m also aware of the current economical climate.

One of the most important aspects in portraiture, both for the artist and for the “sitter”, is whether the finished pieces actually look like the figures. Take the Queen of England for example. There are some really great portraits of her, but there are also some which are a bit….well, not the most flattering. That’s why I feel it’s important to see a few examples of portraits I’ve already worked on.

First up is my partner Christine.

portraitexample1Based on photos of Christine before I met her in “real life”, here are a few portraits there were created from her photos. There were quite a few changes made to blend in with a fantasy theme, but I like to think the likeness is still there. The arm movements were changed since in the portrait I have placed her on a throne hewn from stone amidst a garden. With the angle her head is tilted at, I felt it was important to add a hand below her chin slightly to make the final image look more natural.

The next image of Christine was created with a slight Japanese theme. The portraitexample2_origbackground was inspired by the famous banzai flag, not for any political motive, but it was a design that I liked visually.

Christine’s grandmother and mother come from Japan originally, and Christine herself has a lot of interest in asian culture so the theme seemed fitting.

Here’s a few more faces you might recognise below!

If interested in a great portrait of your own, please see our Tarot Portraits services


Making A Product: How to Guarantee Greatness

stan_leeWhat makes something great?

First off, please note that I didn’t use the word “popular”. There are untold numbers of great pieces of music, art and film that, while will probably never enter into the hallowed halls of popularity, are nonetheless great.

It’s a question that a lot of people wish they knew the answer to, yet at the same time it doesn’t guarantee financial success.

We only have to point out the fact that Vincent Van Gogh died penniless, having sold only one painting in his lifetime.

Greatness is something more than that. Presumably Van Gogh would have loved wealth in his own lifetime, yet today he is considered one of the greats in the art world and his paintings sell for millions of dollars.

As a general rule, I’d like to sum up what makes something great by doing a bit of ad-lib on one of the quotes of my childhood hero Stan Lee. (I can’t find the actual quote unfortunately).

Lee said something along the lines of the great thing about comics is that you have to love comics personally to keep doing it because comics is the kind of medium that demands so much time and energy and eats through so much material in terms of storylines and plot, that someone with low dedication would burn out really quickly.

Ok, so that’s a more elaborate explanation, but in summary, it basically means that to create good comics you need to love with you’re doing.

When I designed most of the characters for King’s Journey, I really loved what I was doing because I had never seen a full story taking place in a tarot deck before. I mean King’s Journey tracks the journey of a young boy who at the end of the deck, is basically a much older, full bearded, long haired man with a wife and child. I had never seen an actual story played out in a Tarot deck like that before.

For Twisted Tarot Tales, each image was a labour of love because I got to draw all the monsters and crazy scenes that, let’s face it, anyone into comic book art would have fun imagining. My co creator Christine has been a fan of horror comics and film since she was a kid growing up in the 70’s.

The Chinese Propaganda Art Tarot is another one of our successful decks thanks to Christine’s love of and knowledge of Chinese Propaganda Art along with the historical background the art is based on.

In short, the best works of art, writing, music or film, almost always comes from a love of the genre which you’re basing your work on.

dragon-ball-evolution-ben-ramsey_origWhat makes something…not so great?

Namely, a lack of passion.

I recently found an actual apology from the writer of the movie Dragon Ball: Evolution, Ben Ramsey. The film didn’t do so good, prompting Ramsey to issue the following…

“To have something with my name on it as the writer be so globally reviled is gut wrenching. To receive hate mail from all over the world is heartbreaking. (…) I went into the project chasing after a big payday, not as a fan of the franchise but as a businessman taking on an assignment. I have learned that when you go into a creative endeavor without passion you come out with sub-optimal results, and sometimes flat out garbage. So I’m not blaming anyone for Dragonball but myself.”

Dragon Ball: Evolution was apparently so bad that Akira Toriyama; creator of the original manga, revealed that he felt the Hollywood producers did not listen to him and his ideas and suggestions, and that the final version was not on par with the original Dragon Ball series.

He felt the result was a movie he couldn’t even call “Dragon Ball”. Discussing the film in the 2016 Dragon Ball 30th Anniversary “Super History Book”, Toriyama wrote: “I had put Dragon Ball behind me, but seeing how much that live-action film ticked me off…”

I haven’t seen the movie personally, nor have I ever read or know anything about the manga the movie is based on, but there’s a two things we can take away from what Ramsey said…

1, He went into the project, not as a fan but as a businessman hoping for a big payday.

In other words he believed he would be able to cash in on the Dragonball name itself, ( purely a business like attitude of course, but one that cost him) rather than caring about the content.

2, He learned that when you go into a creative project without any passion about the content you’re working with you come out with much poorer results, and “sometimes flat out garbage”

There you have it readers. If you want to pursue something and make it great, take a word of advice from Ramsey and create something on a subject you’re passionate about!

Horror Tarot: Card Connections Part 1

Here’s Part 1 of our Horror themed card connections. These were totally random instances were the cards seem to blend to create two scenes, sometimes almost seamlessly. First up is the alternative version Ace of Coins and our Lust card.


Next is the 5 of Swords and the Alternative King of Swords. The lighthouse beam shines across into the streetlights in the alt King of Swords


Here we have the 5 of Swords again, this time with the Knight of Wands, only this time the lighthouse beam meets the sun.


One of my favorites. The badly defeated man in the 2 of Pentacles reaches into the Ace of Cups through the Television in the hopes of snatching the little girl’s popcorn! Yipes


The next set sees another play on the “hand reaching through the TV screen”. Maybe the man in the Alt 8 of Cups card wants to feed the giant rat some popcorn!


Did you enjoy these? Want to see more? Of course you do! Click here for part 2

If you’d like to get a deck of our horror themed Twisted Tarot Tales for yourself, click here to visit the store, or watch the video below to see the cards in action.

If you have any card connections of your own, please share it with us in the comments below. We’re only showing the connections we’ve found personally!