21 June 2012

Design for a Divination Deck

Before I left on my Around-the-World journey, I worked on a Divination Deck for Jody Bergsma Press.  I took me three months to complete all the design work and has a total of 44 cards plus the back-cover image.

There are 11 different background colors which make 4 images on each color.  The main design for the layout follows that of a Mandala, which is a circle from the center point.  The center images are made by Jody Bergsma while I used a mixture of painting with watercolor by hand, and the two computer programs Photoshop and Illistrator to create all the effects for each card.  The last image is the backside for all the cards and the pattern represent the 4 directions and the manifestation grid.

No matter what happiness you can find new wings.
Rise from the past.
Accept the positive change that is coming.
Live with compassion.
Open your hearth to all life forms.
Be an angel with hands.
Find your heart's rhythm.
Step lightly and swing with the melody.
Close your eyes and let joy lead the way.
You are on a journey to your own greatness.
Your soul is longing to find the way.
Only you can choose your path.
You have courage.
You can endure.
Find your center and spiral into your power.
Be bold and mighty forces will aid you.
Take action,
Good luck favors the brave.
Immense delight can be found
In the smallest of things.
Cultivate fluttering moments of joy
You are transforming.
Let go of the past.
Embrace the light and joy of this new day.
Focus on the positive, more good will come.
Give thanks for blessings, they will multiply.
Prosperity begins in the mind.
Be open for whatever comes next.
It might just be the music
your heart's been waiting to hear.
It is rarely found today.
It is a lotus waiting to bloom.
Be the swan on the waves and glide.
Background image on every card.
The Idea

Hidden elements in this deck are that of the four directions, chakras, Plato's ethics, and manifestation.  If you are highly educated in Geometry or Occult Philosophy then a lot of these elements will appear obvious.  For those less informed it will appear to the viewer on a different level.  To enjoy this deck you do not need to be aware of any of this!  But the deck does act as a great starting point to learn about these ideas.

Like all mandala paintings, the purpose of the image is to help the viewer focus their attention.  Each card acts as an encouragement to aid you in your decisions with which path to take.  Using ideas of manifestation and being, the deck helps individuals choose virtuous actions in their personal reality.  Everybody has control over the way they choose to live, either believe in the miracle or live in the darkness.

The Creation

How I went about designing these cards took multiple steps  Most designers work in a group, I however work by myself and have to get "okayed" by the Artist.  This means I have to come up with many ideas on my own and slowly work it back to one final look.  

The first step for me was to create the background image.  This element is mostly forgotten about but a very critical part of the image for me.  I made several watercolor paintings using salt washes to create a gritty texture that would add contrast.  After they dried I worked in Photoshop to create mirrored 4 directional images so that any way they face it will reflect each other.  This not only gives it symmetry, but it follows the regulations of most card decks so you cant tell one side from the next.  Next I created the 4-directional circle grid in Indesign and worked with many different options until I found a composition that worked best.

Next I used the same background for the inside of the cards behind the image, but had to alter the colors.  We went though several different drafts and ended up with these 11 combinations.  It had gone from the 7 colors of the rainbow/chackras, then to the 12 zodiac colors, and finally rested on choosing 11 colors so that we could follow the 4-directions pattern by having 4 colors for each image.  The word and images on each color have been matched based on energetic meaning.  Thus all the words on the red cards are masculine such as Action, Confidence, Energy, and Rebirth.  Whereas the words for the light purple are feminine such as Elegance, Healing, Partnership, and Sacred Space.  If you look up the meanings behind the different chakras, a greater understanding behind the words can be found.

For every painting I worked with, different measures had to be taken depending on the image itself.  Some images cropped into a circle perfectly, while others had to be altered.  Such as the card called Rebirth, I needn't take any extra energy to alter the image in any way other then cropping and cutting out the wings for the bleed over the background.  Whereas Elegance was too rectangular and I was forced to rearrange the image and recreate areas to still look like a watercolor image but using Photoshop.  The ratio for this was about 1:1, so much more effort was taken then originally expected.

The words to go along with the images took much revising.  It was a mixture of bouncing back and forth between the artist and I to revise each other's work until we came to a resolution.  If you know visual artist's, you may have noticed writing is not their strong suit.  That's one of the reasons I do this blog, to keep up the ability to write well.  So in other words, the writing alone took many weeks.  There is also a book that will go along with these cards.

The Product

The product will be sold by Jody Bergsma Press and the company who has licenced her work for this deck.  Other popular divination decks from this company include Medicine Wheel by Jamie Sams.  Overall I'm happy with the final product, and find this is my most professional looking work yet.  I spent many hours staring at a computer screen to complete it and it is what funded my wonderful journey around the globe!  I appreciate the opportunity to be part of such an amazing experience.

15 June 2012

Everyday is Sunday Today

So many things happened during my last half month in Bali, it's felt like forever.  Indonesia "totally defiantly" gets a high mark for one of the best places in the world.  Too many amazing stories to ever try and capture in words.  Thanks to all the great people that I got to share this time with.  Especially to Lorenzo and Gianluca, the two silly Italian's.  Ting-Ting!

04 June 2012

Lovina, Bali

Have you never herd the story?

Lovina was the name of an ancient Egyptian Queen.

As legend has it she ruled over a flourishing society of wanderers.

This was not without her influence of course, for she was also a witch and intentionally cast a spell over the people using a magic potion.

The effect it had on the people of the city caused them to be free from suffering.

They had immense light in their eyes and appreciation in their hearts, the only difference was that no one could see or hear each other.

So as things would evolve throughout the day, the changes would only occur when everybody slept.

The Queen was unique in that she did not care about invading other territories or building herself mighty temples and pyramids, she only wanted peace.

The goal she had for the people was for them to explore what they could while they could and have each other build their own personal empire.

This was the purpose for the potion.

However the Queen was also an artist and had many creations she wanted to share.

So one day she changed the potion just slightly so the people could see the papyrus scrolls she drew on.

This would allow people to see the world as it is.

Once she had changed the potion, she placed a sketch she had made of a yellow and blue butterfly outside her door frame.

The first person to come across it was a little girl.

Astounded by what she found, she took the paper and brought it back to her weathered red brick flat where she could admire it.

Weeks went by and the girl always kept a watchful eye wherever she went, hoping to catch a glimpse of a yellow and blue butterfly.

The little girl knew that someone else had created the image and continuously wondered what that person could have been thinking or feeling, or even where they were.

Just like the little girl, others had found the scrolls the Queen created.

Even though no one could see each other, they became aware of their existence.

And even though they may never see each other, everyone realized that through keen awareness it is the things from the people you cant see is what makes life serene.

Just something I herd once.