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The Black Ink Tarot Deck

Black Ink Tarot Preview: aces and backing design. By multimedia artist Evvie Marin.
Black Ink Tarot Preview: complete and final first edition Major Arcana. By multimedia artist Evvie Marin of Interrobang Tarot.

The Black Ink Tarot is a stark, black and white, symbolic deck inspired by New England folk art and regional wildlife. The deck and accompanying texts are designed to be gender-neutral and subvert traditional hierarchies, while leaving room to blend with a variety of traditional and new tarot schools. The cards are numbered but title-less, while the guides include both traditional and contemporary, alternative titles. The artwork is complete, and finally, so is the 323 page guidebook, Fortune's Inkwell. My first two decks were fully funded together on Kickstarter, and should be arriving in the late summer of 2024. 

Black Ink Tarot Preview: All points are spheres. All spheres are worlds. All words are seeds. All signs are keys. By multimedia artist Evvie Marin of Interrobang Tarot.

This deck wanted suit markers that directly and simply convey their classical elements, that readers can connect to intuitively with or without a background in Wicca or Western ceremonial magic. The fours suits are matchsticks (wands, fire, spring), drops (cups, water, summer), arrows (swords, air, autumn), and gems (pentacles, earth, winter). The courts are represented by wildlife, with both biological and astrological symbolism.

Black Ink Tarot Preview: the suit and court of matchsticks. By multimedia artist Evvie Marin of Interrobang Tarot.

the suit and court of Matchsticks

Black Ink Tarot Preview: the suit and court of drops. By multimedia artist Evvie Marin of Interrobang Tarot.

the suit and court of Drops

Black Ink Tarot Preview: the suit and court of arrows. By multimedia artist Evvie Marin of Interrobang Tarot.

the suit and court of Arrows

Black Ink Tarot Preview: the suit and court of gems. By multimedia artist Evvie Marin of Interrobang Tarot.

the suit and court of Gems

The Big Picture

Preview diagram of parallels between Evvie Marin's three tarot decks in progress: The Interrobang Tarot, The Black Ink Tarot, and the Spirit Vertigo Tarot. By multimedia artist Evvie Marin of Interrobang Tarot.

The Black Ink Tarot Deck is one of three interwoven decks in progress, moving from abstract, through symbolic, to pictorial modes. The Interrobang Tarot Deck, built around the Interrobang Tarot Journaling Glyphs, is minimalist and abstract. It focuses on the building blocks behind tarot symbolism and provides a tabula rasa prompt for generating creative and visionary text.

 

The Black Ink Tarot Deck blends minimalism and pictorial thinking through stark, intuitive, and folkloric symbolic ornaments. These first two decks blend Marseilles and Smith-Waite influences and should be of use to those who draw from multiple reading styles.

 

The Spirit Vertigo Deck is maximalist, highly figurative, and built of immersive, stream of consciousness scenes inspired by classic Smith-Waite symbolism. The settings are timeless spaces informed by New as Now American culture and Old as Dirt European folklore, cast with a diverse group of characters.

Diagram of parallels between decks in progress.

My aesthetics are somber, vintage, intricate, rustic, and liminal. These are not the (delightful, invaluable) loud, brash, rainbow-y queer decks some readers expect from queer and trans authors. That said, the imagery and forthcoming texts do aim to challenge and offer alternatives to gendered, ableist, and hierarchical thought patterns common to the tarot field, in both direct and subtle ways. Queering is not just a method of expression (far from codified at that!), but any number of ways of seeing the world. All three decks aim to include and speak to people of diverse backgrounds and wirings, with the understanding that no deck, as a finite text from a fallible author, can or should directly represent and speak to all possible stories. More voices all around, please!

 The Library of Esoterica

Such warmth and gratitude to Jessica Hundley, Taschen, and their Library of Esoterica team for including the Black Ink Tarot and Spirit Vertigo Tarot decks in progress in their gorgeous volume, Tarot, released August 2020! 

Photograph: Taschen's TAROT book, open to a page on the Hierophant.

The Hierophant from The Black Ink Tarot deck, pictured opposite the incomparable Carnival At The End of The World Tarot by Kahn & Selesnick.

Cover image of Taschen's TAROT from the Library of Esoterica series.

The Library of Esoterica's TAROT, written and edited by Jessica Hundley,

published by Taschen. Cover photograph by Taschen.

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