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The Urban Tarot Deck is an illustration series that is nearly 10 years in the making. It is about magic, truth and the city.
The Urban Tarot Deck is an illustration series that is nearly 10 years in the making. It is about magic, truth and the city.
346 backers pledged $33,595 to help bring this project to life.

Recent updates


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The Shop is Open


Hello Tarot folk!

This day has been a long time coming. With the first run of decks on their way from the printer, I'm now finally accepting pre-orders. So for those of you who didn't get a chance to get in on the original kickstarter but have been waiting for a chance to order a deck, now's your opportunity. There will be 1000 decks in the first printing, and I'm aiming to start shipping them out in November. I'm also accepting pre-orders for the guidebook and selling individual prints of all 78 cards. 

Visit the Urban Tarot Shop

If you are a retailer and looking to purchase a larger quantity of decks, please get in touch so I can handle your order separately. I know some of your have already been in touch, and I have not forgotten you.  

I will be handling all of your orders by hand, with the generous help of my wife and our friends. Our warehouse floor is our dining table. I'm going to handle any issues that may come up as quickly as I can, but I will be doing so personally, so please be understanding. 


The creepy new project I mentioned in the last update has really taken off! The kickstarter campaign launched and then almost immediately surpassed its funding goal. With 12 days still to go on the campaign, they have already raised nearly twice what they'd been asking for. There are still a number of fun rewards to get in on though, including the opportunity to design a monster for me to illustrate for the book. I'm looking forward to seeing what people come up with. The wraparound cover art I've created for them is below.


Promises Fulfilled


Hello tarot folk,

I know it's been a little while since I've sent out the last update, and some of you have been gently poking me for news on when the decks will ship out. There has been a lot to do, and I've been very busy getting things together, but I can now tell you with some certainty, when you will be getting your copies of the deck.

Here's a rundown of what's coming up in the next few months:

The Deck

First off: the deck design had to go through a number of back-and-forth revisions with the printers, but we have finally got everything approved and on track. The first run of 1000 decks will be arriving here by by early November, and I'll begin shipping those out immediately, beginning with those that have been promised already to the kickstarter backers. I'll then proceed to ship out to anyone else who has pre-ordered a deck by that point.

The Surveys

Speaking of you wonderful kickstarter backers who have been with me all this way: you will be getting surveys sent out to you very shortly which will ask you for your current shipping details. Please watch your mailboxes: I can't send you a deck once they arrive without a confirmation of your current mailing address. 

You will also get an opportunity at that time to update your reward package, and add additional decks, books, or prints. I'll be opening up a shop on my website just for the kickstarter backers at first, before I take any other pre-orders.

The Guidebook

I've been assembling and laying out the guidebook to the deck over the past few weeks. It will contain full color images of all 78 cards, along with insights and interpretations about each card. Much of that text is adapted from these updates you've been receiving, but plenty of it is brand new, written specifically for the guide. And speaking of things written just for that guidebook, it will also contain a fantastic introductory story written by acclaimed author Marie Brennan

The books should be printed and ready to ship out in early November, along with the decks.

The Shop

Once the kickstarter backers have had a chance to add any additional items to their reward packages, I'll be opening the Urban Tarot Shop to everyone else. By pre-ordering a deck, you'll be able to make sure you receive one from of the first round of numbered sets before they're all gone, and you'll be helping me fund some of the events I'll be appearing at over the next few months. Every one of the first 1000 decks will also ship with an embroidered velvet bag to keep your deck in.


I'm planning to do a lot of travelling to promote and sell the Urban Tarot, and I've already put two appearances this year on my calendar. I will be at Con on the Cob in Brecksville, Ohio October 15-18, where I'll be premiering the deck. I'm having just 70 decks air-shipped directly out to the con for sale. So if you're in the area, come on out! It's absolutely one of my favorite conventions to visit. 

From December 4-6 I'll be in Stamford, CT at AnonyCon, selling decks and prints, and readings for folk onsite. This will be my first time at AnonyCon, although I know the organizers well, and I've been looking forward to going for several years.

Most exciting, somewhere between those two dates, I'll be hosting an opening show here in NY, at a studio space in Brooklyn. You'll be getting more details about that show soon. I think it's going to be an exciting evening.

The App

More stuff? How is that possible? That's right, The Urban Tarot is going to be a mobile app that you can download for your Android or Apple device. It's going to have all 78 cards, plus interpretations and descriptions by yours truly. The app is currently being developed by The Fool's Dog, a company that specializes in designing really beautiful, interactive Tarot apps. I've seen some of the early graphics at this point, and I'm really thrilled. You'll have more information on the App's release soon.

Other Art

Finally, because I hate to send out an update without including some fresh art, I wanted to give you all a glimpse of some other work I've doing for a totally different project. Lovecraftesque is a horror roleplaying game designed by Josh Fox and Becky Annison, and if the soon-to-be-launched Kickstarter project succeeds, I'll be doing lots more art for the book. One of the two pieces I've created for the upcoming campaign is below, you can see some details about the other in this blog post.

 Whew! It's going to be an exciting few months. Thank you for being a part of it, I couldn't do all this without your support.

- Robin

The Deck Designed


Hello, tarot fans,

What an exciting weekend! On Saturday, I exhibited at FlameCon, NY's first LGBT Comic Convention. I had with me the very first full prototype deck, which Amy and I (mostly Amy) had just finished painstakingly assembling by hand the night before. I got to give out free readings, while I spoke to people about the series, using my own deck for the first time. I admit I'm far from an expert reader, but I got into it pretty quickly. I saw tears in the eyes of at least three of my visitors after their reading, so I'm going to call that a pretty successful first run.

The first complete deck, along with velvet bag and spreadcloth
The first complete deck, along with velvet bag and spreadcloth

 So as you can see, I've completed the designs for both front and back on all 78 cards. With the front design, I wanted to keep it mostly simple and white, so as not to interfere with the art, but I tried to convey some helpful information by subtly including elemental symbols behind the text, and using color cues to unite the five groups of cards in the deck (4 suits, plus majors). I've assembled a sample below, so you can get a sense of how they'll all look.

The design of the card fronts
The design of the card fronts

 With the card backs, it was important to create a design that was both interesting and felt connected to the design of the deck as a whole, while making sure that it appeared exactly the same way in either orientation. I feel like I ended up with something that feels like a map of my city, while also being essentially an abstract patterned texture. There are all sorts of hidden shapes and meanings in there, of course - I hope people have fun picking them out.

The card back design
The card back design

The deck design has already been submitted to the printers, and the first run of 1000 decks are going to be in all of our hands before you know it. In my next update, expect to have some more solid info on when the rewards will start shipping out.

Just a reminder to those who are wondering about things like address changes and updated orders: I'll be sending out an official survey to all the kickstarter backers pretty soon, where you can give me your current addresses, add additional items to your reward package, and otherwise give me important info before I start sending anything your way. 

Love and gratitude,


Onwards to Infinity


Here we come, at last, to the final finished card in the Urban Tarot. It's been a very long, very strange, beautiful journey coming here. Seventy-eight pieces of art, created across thirteen years, a total of about 300 million tiny points of light on my screen. Here's what all of them look like together for the first time:

XXI: The Universe

This is the last of the major arcana, and it completes the 22-step journey we began with the Fool. We have gone from being a naive wanderer, unsure of what lay ahead of us, but eager to begin the adventure, and have now experienced all that the world around us, and within us, has had to offer. We have seen it all, fully absorbed the truths we have learned and have come to a harmonious synthesis, at peace with the universe and with ourselves. We have completed a great journey, and found ourselves once more right where we began: comfortable in the knowledge that we truly know nothing, and eager to see where the road takes us next.

XXI: The Universe
XXI: The Universe

As this card is a bit of a counterpoint to the Fool, I thought a good deal about that early card from my set as I created this one. I modeled as my Fool back when I began this series, looking very different from how I look these days. I'm standing on the roof my building, against a clear blue sky, with my loyal companion, Oreo, who passed away right around when I created that piece. Behind me, a flock of white doves represent pure innocence at the beginning of the Fool's journey.

0: The Fool
0: The Fool

My wife Amy is the star of this Universe, as she is the center of mine; all my world orbits around her. While I stood calmly at the precipice of fortune, Amy strides confidently onward and upward into the cosmos. Below her stretches the sprawling skyline of my city, the world I've lived in my whole life. Growing vines and grasses push upwards through the concrete landscape, the endless movement of the living Earth. The great steel eagle head she is walking off of is one of four very distinctive gargoyles that grace the 61st floor of the Chrysler Building. Sitting atop the eagle's head is our cat Amelia, who passed away a little over a year ago, but is still fondly remembered in our home. High overhead, the International Space Station is visible against an image of the milky way (courtesy of NASA), a connection to our larger universe.

Where to Next?

The next update you'll be getting from me should be to show off the card backs, and the layout and design of the deck as a whole. Shortly after that, I'll be putting designs together for the deck boxes and display boxes. And then it's off to the printers. I'm aiming to get that process underway in the next week or two if I can. 

We've still got a lot more to see with this project. Once the deck is printed and ready, I have a guidebook I've been looking forward to assembling. There are a lot of details of shipping and distribution to be addresses. And sometime in the next few months, I'll be hosting an opening show here in New York, to which you'll all be invited.

All that said, it's a great place to be, looking at 78 complete pieces. Thank you all, for making it possible.

With infiinite love and gratitude,

Strange Alchemy


The penultimate card in the series. I'm speaking to my printer this week, and getting a sense of what my timing will be in terms of finally getting these decks out to you. After the last card is done of course, I'll be putting together the overall design for the set and the box, as well as finishing up the design of the card backs. My goal at current is to get everything packaged up and off to the printers before the beginning of June.

The Art

The fourteenth trump of the tarot is another place where interpretations vary quite a bit, and I've ultimately decided to take it a direction of my own and use it to talk a little bit about the process of creating the series itself, as you'll see.

The Art
The Art

Older decks call this card Temperance, which was once a more commonly-used term for the practice of mixing wine with water. The image for this card as it appears in the Rider-Waite-Smith deck, under the title "Temperance" features somewhat centrally in my piece in the form of a mural on the wall. The interpretation is often about the idea of temperance in opposition to extremism, seeking a middle road and mixing your anger and passion with calm and rationality as water is added to wine.

With the Thoth deck, Crowley kept the idea of mixing opposing elements but made this trump symbolic of the practice of alchemy, an aspect of what he called The Great Work. Crowley saw that one could mix and combine opposing elements; water and fire, red and white; and rather than diminishing both or canceling out their energy, it was possible to create from them something wholly new, with power unique to it's elemental parts.

The Thoth deck calls this trump Art, and so do I. It speaks about taking opposing pieces and finding a way to harmonize them, mix them, combine them into a new and unique whole. 'Solve et coagula' as the old alchemists say - dissolve and combine. 

As an artist nearing the end of a very long series, I look back on what I've done with this deck and I see what I've done as a kind of creative alchemy. I've taken elements of what has come before, the old and the modern, ancient symbols and modern architecture, and sought to combine them in ways that bring those elements new power through juxtaposition. Art, as any artist can tell you, never grows in a vacuum. Creating new work is as much a process of learning to see, absorb, and process what others have done as it is about creating something new from whole cloth.

I make no illusions about what I've borrowed from those who've come before me, and try to give credit to those who contributed to the pieces I put my signature on. In this piece specifically, I've sampled the beautiful line work of Pamela Colman Smith's original Temperance card, and incorporated it into a modern setting, side by side with the work of dedicated (but anonymous, at least to me) graffiti artists who decorated the particular corner in Chinatown that I used as reference. Chandra Jessee, who modeled for this piece, also contributed quite a lot creatively to the evolution of the card's look. Part of that contribution was by way of providing all of her own costume elements, including a gorgeous pair of white feather wings who were made for her by yet another talented artist. And beyond that, any number of the textures and photos I make use of are stock images captured by hands that are not mine. As much as I am a creator, so too I am an alchemist, taking a pinch of this and a dab of that, putting mysterious components together in a pot and waiting to see what emerges.

The next update you'll be getting should be telling you about the very last card in the series. Prepare for the coming of the Universe.