The Heroine Tarot is a diverse, female-centric deck showing women as I see them: bold, beautiful and empowered.
While exploring the world of tarot early into this project, I enjoyed discovering all of the beautiful original decks out there and loved that each artist whose work I encountered really brought their own unique approach to the cards. Being able to find this bounty of diverse, creative angles is one of my favorite parts about the tarot community but even with all of the options out there, I still felt like I wasn’t finding the deck that I wanted to see.
Being an artist myself, I was compelled to illustrate my own. My idea with The Heroine Tarot was to bring a more modern, feminist, and fashion-forward angle to the project while injecting it with my own creative voice. I’ve spent the last year working to shape and illustrate each of the iconic 78 cards in this all-female deck and am so excited to finally be able to share it with you!
The Heroine Tarot will be a 78-card, fashion-forward deck inspired by the original Rider-Waite-Smith tarot deck with art by the magical Pamela Coleman Smith. With each illustration reenvisioned by myself, NYC based artist Gina Schiappacasse, the deck will be oversized with dimensions measuring at 3.35” x 5.1” (standard tarot size is 2.75" x 4.75") and will come housed in a flap top matte box.
About the Artist
Hi, I’m Gina! I’m a professional illustrator based in Brooklyn, New York. I studied fashion design so most of my work tends to lean toward fashionable subject matter (I love drawing women in beautiful clothing!) and I work primarily in ink and watercolor. You can see what I've been up to on Instagram here. A few years ago, I self-published a fashion coloring book called Wild Things and was so excited to be able to make that idea a reality that I decided to dive right in again to create my own tarot deck.
My best friend Andi has been an avid tarot reader for a long time, and when she introduced me to the practice a few years ago, I initially approached it with a little skepticism. I enjoyed the ritual of it, and the chance to take a moment to oneself, but I didn’t fall into it right away. It wasn’t until I experienced a particularly rough year that I began to see the cards from a broader perspective: As an opportunity for self-reflection and a genuine art therapy tool. I was intrigued, and after immersing myself in the back-story of tarot, I fell deeply in love with the work and life of Pamela Coleman Smith, a woman ahead of her time who, in addition to being a phenomenal illustrator, truly embodied the idea of feminism in an era that barely acknowledged women. What would my ode to her look like?
As I mentioned, I come from a background of fashion illustration, but I’m also hugely inspired by Japanese manga, as well as classic fairytale artwork and children’s books. All art for the Heroine Deck has been lovingly hand-painted with ink and watercolor and edited on a computer which is my method of choice for most of my work. I paint each card on 9x12” watercolor paper, starting with a pencil sketch (I pull most of my references from fashion editorials), moving to watercolor, and finally laying down ink on top. Each painting takes roughly 3 hours to complete from concept to creation and I spend most of the time listening intently to podcasts or music for inspiration.
Pamela Coleman-Smith was adventurous and progressive throughout her life and in her work. Attending Pratt Institute in Brooklyn (at age 15!!), she illustrated books for Bram Stoker and William Butler Yeats. She befriended the occultists and the suffragettes of the era and even wrote and illustrated her own collections of stories...in short, she was a badass woman bucking the stereotypes of her era. Her deck with Arthur Edward Waite is considered the standard tarot deck, as it is the basis on which most decks are founded. But approaching tarot from a modern perspective, it does feel like the right time for an update.
The conversation around feminism in America has really never felt so urgent and necessary as it does right now, and so as a fashion illustrator, who spends most of my time drawing women, my version of this deck seemed obvious: My mission was to create a diverse, female-centric deck that paid homage to the work of Pamela Coleman-Smith, and showed women as I see them: bold, beautiful and empowered.
Thus, The Heroine Deck was born.
- Support without receiving a reward: A little support can go a long way. If you’d like to donate any amount small or large but don’t need a reward, please select this option. We thank you from the bottom of our hearts!
- Limited Edition Print – $20 or more: Receive a 8X10 print from the Major Arcana. Print will be signed, numbered and printed on uncoated smooth #130 stock paper. Shipping & fees are included for domestic backers. Backers will be given the option to help choose the illustrations being printed but will not be able to specifically select which illustration they will receive. A survey will be sent. *Please note this reward does not include the deck.
- Early Bird Deck – $50: For our fast-to-act supporters: First off, you all seriously rock. Receive a copy of The Heroine Tarot Deck at a reduced rate, limited to the first 50 backers. The deck includes all 78 major and minor arcana cards, is 3.35” x 5.1” and comes in flap top box. Shipping & fees are included for domestic backers.
- Tarot Deck – $60: What we are all here for! SO EXCITED. Get your first edition copy of The Heroine Tarot Deck. You will receive all 78 major and minor arcana cards in a flap top box. The deck is 3.35” x 5.1” with shipping & fees included for all domestic backers.
- Tarot Deck & Print – $75: A copy of The Heroine Tarot Deck and a 8x10 limited edition print of an illustration from the Major Arcana. The deck includes all 78 major and minor arcana cards, is 3.35” x 5.1” and comes in flap top box. Print will be signed, numbered and printed on uncoated smooth #130 stock paper. Shipping & fees are included for domestic backers.
- Best Friends Set – $100: Because sharing is caring. 2 copies of the Heroine Tarot, one for you and one for your partner in crime. The deck includes all 78 major and minor arcana cards, is 3.35” x 5.1” and comes in flap top box. Shipping & fees are included for domestic backers, both decks will be shipped to the backer.
- Custom Art – $300 or more: You're an amazing human if you've come this far. Receive a copy of The Heroine Tarot Deck plus a custom piece of art, drawn by the artist. The deck includes all 78 major and minor arcana cards, is 3.35” x 5.1” and comes in flap top box. Artwork will be done in a similar style to the illustrations done for this project, final print no larger than 9x12 and revisions will be limited. Backer will also receive a digital copy of their custom art at the end of the collaboration with Gina. Shipping & fees are included for domestic backers.
- Tier 1: Two piece box @ $11,000. If we hit this goal, we’ll take our deck to the next level for all backers (who’ve selected a reward with a deck) by adding a two piece, conch box to our production specs. The flap top box really doesn’t do our Heroines any justice - we’re crossing our fingers we can make this one a reality no matter what, checkout the printer sample we received of the box below.
- Tier 2: User-guide booklet @ $12,000. All decks will include instruction cards with basic information, which isn't enough for the new tarot reader or the tarot deck collector. With this stretch goal, we’ll be able create a fully detailed printed guidebook in a similar vein to the original RWS deck. We will also provide a digital version of the guidebook to ALL of our backers as a special treat.
- Tier 3: Upgraded paper quality @ $14,000. This stretch goal will get us a boosted paper quality for our cards & box. They’re currently an industry standard blue 280 gsm cardstock w/ gloss varnish but reaching this goal would mean the option of thicker cards with a more protective coating. For those of us planning to use this deck in our regular readings, a little more durability and quality would be an amazing addition.
- Tier 4: Swag unlocked @ $16,000. Double our goal - crazy! If we knock out this stretch goal, we’d love to surprise all of our backers that have purchased a deck with a little extra-witchy gift. Our first idea was a sticker set but as we approach this stretch goal, we'll poll our backers to hear what YOU really want.
- Tier 5: All the perks?! starting at $20,000. I mean, it would be *crazy* if we made it this far. But if we do, let's keep this upgrades train moving... If you could have anything, anything tarot related at all - what would it be? Gold foil cards? More swag? Leave us a comment, we're excited to hear your thoughts and ideas.
Our Planned Schedule
At this moment, the majority of the 78 cards are completed, however minor tweaks may be made to some of the final artwork. Back of cards are illustrated and I'm currently working to finish up the last few Heroines before working more on our box design illustrations.
Quality in the finished product is important to me which is why I enlisted in the help of a friend and fellow creative, K. Nicole Murtagh, who was also the designer and project coordinator for my coloring book Wild Things. She's created our template for the card designs already and we've begun drafting on the box design. Booklet design is on hold until that stretch goal is reached.
If we reach backing, Nicole will finish up the remaining design needs which include box design, basic instructions, rewards and any stretch goals. Please note there may also be some changes to the card design and illustrations but we will keep you updated throughout the process. Those who purchased a print will begin to receive their prints in December. We will be submitting final files to our printer before the end of 2019 and will hopefully have our physical proof in hand to show you soon after.
Our printer is already decided and we're excited about working with them as they've produced many of the popular independent decks out there. We wanted to use the best and we are confident we've found it! Our prices are locked in with them and if we go beyond our funding, they will be able to help handle the expansion.
If all is moving smoothly at this point, your tarot decks will begin shipping after their LONG trip to us from our printer in China. I will be packing and sending them to you once I receive them. Our goal is to have them arriving around Valentines Day 2020.
Let's wrap things up with a quick breakdown of where your money is going when you back this project. We're asking for $8000 to fund this project, with nearly half of that going to the printing costs of the deck. Shipping is our next biggest expense, between the Heroines arriving (by boat?!) from China and then getting them all packed up again to be sent to their final homes with you.
Other expense include the 10% fee's taken automatically by Kickstarter. Our rewards will need to be printed, packaging for everything purchased and if there is anything left after that - giving my designer Nicole some proper love for all her hard work (she says I deserve some of that love too).
When it comes down to it, it's all about making a bad-ass modern tarot deck. We're crossing our fingers that we can at least reach our first stretch goal, the two piece box and are excited for the possibility that we'll get the chance to do even more upgrades!
I am so grateful for this opportunity to make The Heroine Tarot a reality. Thank you so much for being apart of this with me!
A huge thank you again to K. Nicole Murtagh, my brilliant collaborator, to Jesse Kristin, who made our promo film look so good, to the amazing Anna Feldman of Plant Skull for the kick-ass music and to Andi Bullock, who inspired this whole project and has been my biggest cheerleader throughout!
Risks and challenges
Deck Production: We did a quite a bit of research into the best suppliers out there and landed on a popular print shop in China, Print Ninja. Because our supplier is based overseas there may be potential unforeseen changes to production costs based on government changes that could affect shipping, tariffs, etc. and are out of our control. We’ll do our best to lock in our estimates and keep you up to date on any curveballs in production if they do occur.
Delays Due To Success: This is a funny risk to write about but from our research, can 100% happen so we'd like to take a second to address this possible concern. In the chance that The Heroine Tarot greatly exceeds its goal, we may encounter changes not only in our production turn around times but also in the speed that myself, as one tiny human, can package and ship everything out. That all being said, Nicole has already offered to help-out more if things do get crazy SO BRING IT ON! ;)Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- All gone!