09 October 2017

Tarot - Death, watercolouring with Distress and stenciling with Distress Oxide and Perfect Pearls

This is my very first post as a member of the design team for Through The Craftoom Door (TTCRD). I am thrilled that the sponsor is the amazing Rick St Dennis with his wide selection of digital art.

For this project, I created a tarot card using REaPeR and Distress ink. The card I created is Death which can signify change. As the start of a stint as a design team member for TTCRD, this is a time positive change for my crafting and creative aspirations.

Rick St. Dennis MFA has been an artist, designer, stage designer and instructor for over 45 years. You can find his full Bio here. His digital stamp images can be found on Zibbet . Inspiration projects from the Rick St.Dennis Elite Design Team can be found on the Sparkle and Glitter blog, or for the darker images on the Airless Chambers blog. Rick also has a personal blog and on Facebook, there is the Rick St.Dennis Digi fans and friends group, where you can showcase your cards and other projects using RSD images to be eligible to win prizes.

The challenge for 10 Oct to 16 Oct on Through The Craftoom Door is Anything Goes. You don't have to use an image from Rick St Dennis, but we would love to see them, too. The prize is 2 digital images of the winner's choice (and there are a lot of really cool images to choose from!). Come join us in the challenge!

Putting It Together

For a long time I have been wanting to make my own tarot deck. Not for divination (or the psychology of it) but more as an art project. A collection of images loosely joined together in a sort of theme. Even just the major arcana is a sizable group of images. But, though I have had this idea in my head, I hadn't specific images for it or really any sort of a plan so it went into my mental back burner. A few months ago, there were a couple images that sparked the idea again but I didn't make time to start on the project.

So... a couple weeks ago I was asked to be part of the design team for Through the Craftroom Door.and I was allowed to choose a digital stamp from Rick St Dennis. Looking through his images, my head was set on fire and my tarot project started egging at me. The REaPeR image begged to be the start of my project and what better to start with than Death, the symbol of change.

I sized the image using Photoshop and printed it on watercolour cardstock. I used the dimensions of the Thoth tarot deck to guide the size of the image for the card. I was aiming to make a card 5 1/2" x 3 1/2". Since this was the first card in the series I plan to make, I wanted the dimensions to be usable but not too small.

Using a Distress ink minis, I smush the pad on my work surface and then, with a waterbrush, pick up the in to apply it to the image. Since the ink is wet, by controlling how wet the brush is, I can get different effects. With a brush that's only slightly damp and a dry surface, I can get tight detail. With a wetter brush, I can do a wash. I love this medium.

I used blues and greys for a cold windswept look: Stormy Sky, Faded Jeans, Chipped Sapphire, and Weathered Wood. I finished this part of the image and set it aside for the next night, letting all washed areas dry completely.

I added browns for the  accessories: Antique Linen, Tea Dye, Vintage Photo, Ground Espresso, Frayed Burlap, and Brushed Corduroy. I deepened the shadowing with the dark Chipped Sapphire and Black Soot.

I trimmed the image and rounded the corners. I cut a black core cardstock, Core'dinations black 110lb, and rounded its corners as well. I dry fit the image on the core/base.

Because I want the card to stand up to handling, I used Micro Glaze over the surface. Micro Glaze is kind of amazing. It can be applied with a blender and then will repel water, oils, and detritus. Unlike many other glazes, it won't change the appearance of the image it covers nor will it smear water-based colouring. It also doesn't add any texture. I was thoroughly impressed from the first time I used it.

To adhere the image panel to the base, I used Scor-tape. Since Scor-tape adheres firmly nearly as soon as it touches, without any time to shift the position, I used snipes of the release turned perpendicular. This prevents the tape from fully grabbing while you're positioning the panel.

I centred the image on the black base.

Once in place, the snipes of release can easily be pulled out and the image panel smoothed down.

The black sets off the image wonderfully.

A tarot card has 2 sides and I wanted something pretty for the back that I could repeat similarly for the other cards of the planned series.

To have the design be edge to edge on a panel, I trimmed it to size first, matching the size of the image panel on the obverse. To hold the panel in place on my worksurface, I used Press 'n Seal. It's lightly sticky but completely removable without leaving any residue.

I used Distress Oxide on the panel in swoops and blobs: Wilted Violet, Salty Ocean, and Picked Raspberry.

After laying down the first blobbies, I used a heat tool to dry the panel before adding more.

To avoid finger marks, I used a bit of scrap under my finger while holding down the panel. I keep scrap handy for just this purpose for both colouring full panels and images.

After getting the colours where I wanted, I used a Mini Mister with water and Perfect Pearls, Turquoise, to spray the panel.

The water reacts with the ink and the Perfect Pearls gives a pretty sparkle and shine.

I used a clean cloth to mop up the biggest of the drips.

I then used a heat tool again to dry the panel

I anchored a stencil over the panel using washi tape along one side. The panel is sticking in place with the Press 'n Seal. Anchoring the stencil on just one side makes it possible to lift it up, like a hinge, without moving it.

I used a Clarity brush and more Distress Oxide to add a hint of colour over the panel with the stencil pattern:  Cracked Pistachio, Broken China, Antique Linen.

I love the look but the new oxides did dull down the panel.

So... while the oxide ink was still damp, I used a soft brush to lightly and blotchily add Perfect Pearls, Soul Apple.

I used a stiffer stencil brush to smooth the Perfect Pearls and push it into the ink.

Lifting the stencil, the effect is sparkly and unearthly, exactly what I wanted.

To clean the ink off the Clarity brush, I used a wet wipe. Working with Oxide ink colours my fingers a lot more than the original Distress.

After wafting the panel through a mist to set the Perfect Pearls, I used Micro Glaze on the panel to preserve it.

It's even cooler in person.

I used Scor-tape and the release snips to adhere the panel to the card.

I will often turn a project over and smooth the adhesive from the back, but the back of this is the image. So, I used a bag I had on my desk, from something I bought and the bag just hadn't wandered to the recycle bin yet. Using the bag let me smooth the adhesive on both sides at the same time.

And thus I finished the first of the tarot cards featuring a wonderful digital image by Rick St Dennis, REaPeR.

I don't know how long it will take me to finish the rest especially since I am not going to work on them to the exclusion of all else. But it does feel good to have the first done.


The Sketchy Challenge: Halloween
Emerald Creek Dares: Freaky Fun
Simon Says Stamp Monday: Not a Card (not a greeting card)
Love to Scrap: Frightfully Fun
Addicted to Stamps and More: Make Your Mark
Penny's Paper-Crafty: Anything Goes
A Bit More Time to Craft: Anything Goes
Inspiration Destination: Anything Goes
Pearly Sparkles: Anything Goes


  1. I am huge fan of RSD and I am working with Tarot decks. So I love your totally awsome creation!!!

    Thank you for participating at our Penny's Paper Crafty Challenge
    Looking forward to see you at the next challenge

    Diana's Creations

  2. Stunning work,
    Thank you for joining at Addicted to Stamps and More and waiting to see next time.

    Meena DT

  3. Hi there, what a wonderful creation Stunning and fits the challenge just right.

    Thank you for joining us over at LTSCB and good luck

    Pen DT

  4. Wow, what a piece of art.
    Thanks for joining us at The Sketchy Challenges.
    Yvon - DT

  5. Love your beautiful creation! The image is so cool. Thank you so much for sharing with us at Simon Says Stamp Monday Challenge. :)

  6. Great colouring of the image and awesome background. Thanks for the tutorial on how you created it. Also hank you for playing with us at The Sketchy Challenges! Good luck! :) xx


Thank you for your comments. I do read every one. Your comments help me to grow as an artist. It warms my heart to see wonderful comments and constructive criticism.