Tarot by Design Workbook

The Tarot by Design Workbook is an adult colouring book with original images of the 78 tarot cards, created by Diana Heyne, and ready to be coloured in.

By Diana Heyne · Book - 176 pages · Published by Weiser Books

Review by medusawink

Colouring books for adults is a thing! The benefits of colouring have a reputation as being nothing short of miraculous - including stress and anxiety reduction, a viable alternative to meditation, activation of both cerebral hemispheres, refining motor skills, sparking creativity, training focus, and being generally therapeutic. More than a hundred colouring books of varying quality - their images ranging from Game of Thrones and Star Wars to authentic mandalas and cultural designs - as well as monthly magazines, are currently in publication. As a by-product of this current trend tarot colouring books are almost an inevitability. The Tarot by Design Workbook is a new entry into this market, and a thoroughly worthwhile one at that.

Each tarot deck distinguishes itself via unique artwork, which is heavily dependent on esoteric and mystical symbols including colour association. For tarot novices learning these complex codes of information can be quite daunting, and learning by rote can become tedious and rob any activity of its joy. When the Seeker-artist enters into the process of colouring the tarot images they subconsciously familiarise themselves with all aspects of the card. While one may seek to use traditional colours to fill in blank space another may choose non-traditional colours, or patterns that seem appropriate to the nature of the card. Either way one consciously considers the card’s character and the ideas that it represents.

Artist Diana Heyne has created a charming colouring book which can be enjoyed by both novices and adept tarot users. Her book features all 78 cards from a traditional Rider Waite Smith based deck. Each card has its own page with the image on the right, and on the left a unique frame featuring upright and reversed divinatory meanings, keywords and/or phrases, as well as space for notes.

The art style harks back to the late 60s and early 70s when faux ye olde woodcut artwork was quite popular (usually featuring a pseudo-hippy scene in bright colours). The images have strong, dark outlines with details fine-lined, and lots of white space to enable the Seeker-artist to fill in colours, patterns, and shading.

Each illustration preserves much of Pamela Coleman Smith's attention to detail, and in some cases adds a little extra. The faces of the people are pleasant and generally neutral, which is important given that these pictures are four times the size of a standard tarot card. The images have no borders, titles and numbers are given in small banners at the top of each page.

At the end of the book are 10 pages of frames around blank spaces in which a budding artist may doodle out their own tarot images, list additional information, notes, observations, or even indulge in a bit trance-state drawing.

While the paper quality is good, it is probably still best suited to coloured pencils, paint-pencils, watercolour pens, or felt -tipped pens. Paints and watercolours will warp the paper and may make colours on other pages bleed. The book is bound in such a way that the pages fall open and stay that way – which makes colouring that much easier.

Altogether this is a beautifully illustrated colouring book which will give hours of pleasure to tarot enthusiasts everywhere.

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