The Pixelated Tarot

Back in high school--- circa 1990--- I took it into my head to design a Tarot deck entirely on the computer. I did all the sketching, drawing, and layout electronically and then printed the cards out onto card stock. Given the technology of the day, this meant working in low-resolution, one-bit graphics, drawing with a mouse, and printing on a dot-matrix printer. I completed almost all of the Major Arcana and a good number of the Minors before the whole task seemed too paleolithic. When I got my first scanner, I abandoned the project.

I lost the original files, and all I had left was a set of cards printed on blue cardstock with varying levels of faded printer ribbon. Motivated by nostalgia more than anything else, in the Spring of '03 I scanned in some of those and tweaked the contrast. The Moon and Judgement were two of my favorites. Some of the other cards I was fond of relied on pixelated background patterns that didn't print or scan well at all.

Over that summer, I was visiting my parents and discovered the diskette with the original files on it. The images below are re-scaled versions of the original bit maps.

The Empress

The Emperor

The Eight of Swords


The Hanged Man

The Moon

The Tower