Tarot by Design Workbook: Color and Learn Your Way into the Cards by Diana Heyne
Published by Weiser Books, Massachusetts, soft cover, with introduction by author
I have always loved coloring books. As a child, I valued my giant box of Crayola crayons (with the built-in sharpener), and could spend hours filling the black-lined drawings with colors. As an adult, I have indulged in the adult coloring books, spending time with images of ocean creatures, forest creatures, flowers and plants, and geometric shapes, and my colored pencils, bringing myself into a meditative state as I applied colors to the lined drawings. I have a lovely coloring book of Frank Lloyd Wright windows, with the line drawings on a translucent tracing paper so the finished works can be put in a window so the sun can shine through the colors. Imagine my delight when I held this Tarot-themed coloring book in my hands for the first time!
The Tarot by Design Workbook is 8 ½ by 10 inches, with a glossy full-color soft cover. The paper stock of the pages is smooth and substantial, perfect for colored pencils or crayons. The workbook is set up with a short forward by the author in which she explains the setup of the Workbook and offers some suggestions for connecting with the line drawings; then without much further ado, we move on to the drawings themselves.
The Tarot images beautifully drawn by Diana Heyne are based on the traditional Rider Tarot Deck created by Arthur Edward Waite and Pamela Colman Smith. The line drawings are detailed enough to be recognizable but not so detailed to be discouraging to a non-coloring book person. The Minor Arcana Cards are labeled with a number, or rank for the Court Cards; the traditional images portray the suits of Swords, Staffs/Rods, Cups and Pentacles. The Major Arcana cards are labeled with the title of the card and the number of the card, as well as traditional images portraying The Fool’s Journey.
The card images themselves are on the right side when the Workbook is open; on the left side is the “learning page” with the name of the card, some key words, phrases for both the upright and reversed card (and yes, a bit of whimsy: the phrases for the reversed cards are upside down), and some space for notes. The learning pages for the Major Arcana cards also contain a rhyme or phrase that briefly sums up the messages of each card. The last 10 pages of the book contain spaces for notes, drawings, or reflections, each bordered with a line drawing that can also be colored.
I pulled out my colored pencils, my crayons (yes, I still have one of those giant boxes), and a set of 20 magic markers, and turned to the page portraying The Emperor. The image was easy to work with, and the colors remained brilliant as I applied them. There was a bit of bleed-through to the reverse side where I used the markers. I had no problems with the crayons and colored pencils.
Despite that one bleed-through snag, I enjoyed playing with the images in the Workbook. For a Tarot novice, this could be a useful and fun hands-on tool for learning about the symbolism of the cards. For someone who is already familiar with the Tarot and its images, this Workbook offers the chance to play with non-traditional color themes, and to find a new way to go deeper into the symbolism of the images of the Tarot.