A Profound Disquiet: The Work of Pamela Colman Smith

Fantastic article by my friend Sarah Featherstone about the illustrator of the Rider Waite Tarot Deck – Pamela Coleman Smith

Sarah J Featherstone

smith_tarot.jpgI’m grateful to Toni-Ann La-Crette for drawing my attention to the illustrator of these images. Like many people, I was familiar with this well-known tarot pack, but oblivious to its creator Pamela Colman Smith. This is partly because the pack has long been known as the Rider-Waite Deck, named after  Golden Dawn scholar AE Waite. It’s only recently that Smith has been credited as artist for the deck. She had the innovative idea to illustrate every card with an individual scene rather than simply showing cups or swords etc., which has greatly influenced the way we read tarot today.

Here she presents an insight into her creative process:

Note the dress, the type of face; see if you can trace the character in the face; note the pose… First watch the simple forms of joy, of fear, of sorrow; look at the position taken by the whole body… After…

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