Thursday, February 2, 2012

Book Review: The Art of Shadowscapes Tarot: Minor Arcana

Some of you might remember my review of The Art Shadowscapes Tarot: Major Arcana.  I've had the companion Minors book for some time and finally have a moment to put the spotlight on this colorful tome!  Minor Arcana follows a similar formula to the last Tarot collection, with the final paintings presented after a page or so dedicated to the developmental process of each piece.  The final paintings, all beautiful watercolors, are taken from the Tarot deck developed by Stephanie Pui-Mun Law.

The creative process of the artist presented in this book has always been the strongest selling point for me.  Pui-Mun combines a healthy love of mythology intermingled with the thought processes which went behind the revisions of each piece before it reached its final stage.  She discusses what was working with each piece (and what wasn't), which is perhaps the single most useful thing you can learn as an artist!

Minors takes this process a step further by also going into the creation of the Tarot deck as a whole.  This is especially helpful for those of us who might be planning our own Tarot decks, or any large series of images, on our own. For instance, Pui-Mun discusses establishing a particular color palette and defining symbols to characterize each particular suit so that each suit has a unity of theme and appearance threading through it that allows it to differ from the other suits.

Another advantage of this discussion is that once you understand Pui-Mun's thought processes on numerology, color, and symbols, it makes for an interesting second look at each final painting.  After the book, I was able to look at each painting in a whole new light to pick out the threads that bound each suit, which is quite a treat if you own the Tarot cards as well!

All in all, I would say have this book in your library because it's beautiful, artist or no.  For The Artist, this book is a great learning tool for the important skills of brainstorming, developing sketches, and learning to tie narrative themes into your work.

You can purchase this book directly from Stephanie Pui-Mun Law at her website.  Be sure to get the sketch option to make this even more of a lovely addition to your collection and to show your support of the artist.  I did and it's worth every penny!

A preview of a few pages of the book:

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the review Angela! And I'm so happy to hear you have found it so useful.