Category Archives: Design

Life Imitating Art…

…or is it the other way round?

I watched the pilot episode of the new Showtime television series “Penny Dreadful” the other day, and was smitten by a number of things. Least of all the actress Eva Green, who first caught my eye as the haughty Queen Sibylla in Ridley Scott’s “Kingdom Of Heaven”, and later as an eccentric teacher in “Cracks”. She was also Vesper Lynd in the Daniel Craig Bond movie “Casino Royale”.

(Images are sourced from Google Images)

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She’s been a Queen

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…a Teacher

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…a Femme Fatale

…as well as many other varied characters, in a range of diverse films over the years.

And now Eva Green stars as Vanessa Ives in the Goth/Steampunk/Horror/Supernatural/League of Extraordinary Gentlemen/Sherlock Holmes/Frankenstein series “Penny Dreadful“. Her character, Vanessa Ives, is a beautiful, enigmatic young lady who is also psychic and clairvoyant. And extremely fetching in tight-laced Victorian garb oooo errr! ;)

Anyhow, in one scene, Vanessa is sitting at a table with a deck of dark purple Tarot cards, which she spreads out in a semi-circle. We don’t actually get to see any details of those cards right then. After some suggestive banter with Josh Hartnett’s American gunslinger dude character Ethan Chandler, she invites him to pick a card. She turns over the card Ethan’s selected. It’s The Lovers.

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My interest piqued, I searched online to see if these cards really existed, or were they just a stage prop (like those newspapers you see in movies where only the front and backs have actual newsprint and the rest is just blank paper). The artwork of the Lovers card that viewers get to see on screen is minimalistic yet macabre. If this deck was real, it would shoot to the top of my Must Have Wishlist. (Yes, unfortunately in my quest to be as spiritually enlightened as Yoda, light sabers divination cards still get me all excited).

Well, what do you know, the Penny Dreadful Tarot IS a real deck. And it can be bought from Showtime’s own website through this link http://store.sho.com/penny-dreadful-tarot-cards/detail.php?p=523695

The price is reasonable too, at USD$14.95. Only, after heading to the checkout, I was greatly disappointed to see that postage to Australia would be a staggering $34.95?? WTF, excuse my French…was the deck gold-foiled and dipped in caviar, then wrapped in platinum paper covered in diamond dust, or something? Put it back on the shelf, girl, right now!

I next looked at the Penny Dreadful Tarot deck listed on Amazon.com. US readers will be pleased to know the deck is available to purchase from there too. Only, for me once again, my efforts to secure this deck were thwarted…Amazon.com just would not post the deck to Australia. Amazon.co.uk did not even have the deck listed. SIGH…

Anyhow, undaunted, I searched for other sites online. And then I just happened upon this site Popcultcha that not only had the Penny Dreadful Tarot at a great price, AUD$18.99, but also somehow managed to discount the price of postage too…meaning when I got past the checkout the postage was Freeeee…Here’s the link.

I also went searching for the artist who created this deck. She’s Anaïs Chareyre aka “Irio” from Ireland, and here is her deviantArt page showing the full Penny Dreadful Tarot deck http://irio.deviantart.com/art/Penny-Dreadful-Tarot-Cards-449642001

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What are you waiting for? Run, don’t walk! 😄

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http://www.alyzenmoonshadow.wix.com/alyzenmoonshadow

FREEBIES! Happiness posters

I’ve been playing with the App Moldiv, which offers just 2 things – Collage templates and Magazine mock layouts. I’ve already used one of its collage frames to create a deck of Lenormand cards. Now I’m experimenting with Moldiv’s Magazine layout templates.

Moldiv on Android

Moldiv on iOS

Here’s what I’ve done so far. The layouts come with text embedded in them, which can’t be changed. Which is a pity, in some ways, as there are a few grammatical and spelling errors in them. If I wanted to, I could easily create a worded poster of my own in Phonto and stick it over Moldiv’s text.

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Feel free to save or share these with your friends and loved ones. Happiness is Free, as is Peace, Joy, Kindness and Love. Let’s spread the word!

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http://www.alyzenmoonshadow.wix.com/alyzenmoonshadow

Lenormand moves

…in the right direction, hopefully ;). I’ve been in a creative frenzy lately, creating decks of Lenormand cards. What started out as research rapidly escalated into a full-blown obsession and passion for these seemingly inocuous divination cards which traditionally utilise playing card pips as insets.

And now Bobbie Kelley aka the Rogue Perfumer aka Psychic Twin Bobbie-el, based in Maui, Hawaii, has caught wind of my Lennies (as they are fondly referred to in the Lenormand community), and will be reviewing them on her YouTube channel. Yay, happy days!

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Bobbie asked what my thoughts were or what I’d like attention drawn to, for when she reviewed my decks, beginning with the Moonshadow Lenormand, my very first. So I sat down and wrote about my approach to Lenormand.

Here’s what I wrote, for your ease of reference:

Well, I’m relatively new to Lenormand. I was drawn to Lenormand because the playing card insets intrigued me. My first deck was a Piatnik, followed by a mini Ukrainian deck, a Laura Tuan Dondorf deck, and Ciro Marchetti’s   Gilded Reverie. Then I discovered  artist self-published decks…

I’m a digital photography artist and my “studio” is my Samsung Galaxy S4. I’m also recently a licensed artist with several companies in the US, Canada and the UK. I sell my Art also on Society 6. When I discovered I could create my own physical Lenormand card decks, and not just virtual art, I was inspired to try my hand at making my first Lenormand deck. This rapidly became a passion and obsession, and I’ve since then created 7 Lenormand decks, and am concurrently working on my 8th, 9th and 10th! Yes, I’m very prolific 😄. You can or will soon enough find my Lenormand card decks on my eBay and Etsy pages.

I learn by doing, so with each individual Lenormand card and deck that I create, I’m finding new nuances and perspectives. I’m also learning new aspects of my chosen format (digital mixed media photography art) as I go – freestyle design in one, using frames and templates in another, creating one card at a time, or creating an entire deck one layer at a time. My Lenormand decks utilise my own photos and public domain/copyright free images and clipart. I’ve built up quite an archive of Lenormand archetypal images now, on my Samsung Galaxy S4!

So, my approach towards Lenormand is two-pronged – 1) from wanting to learn a new esoteric language and 2) from an artist’s viewpoint. Now that I’ve created several decks in various styles – eclectic, modern, geometrical, plain and simple, time-worn, half-tone, etc I feel the need to share them with the rest of the Lenormand community. I’m sure that whatever style you prefer, or if you’re a deck collector, you’ll find one or more of my Lenormand decks that suit you!

You can catch Bobbie’s videos on YouTube, under her name “Rogue Perfumer”. http://youtu.be/CIHncKg4Vpg

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http://www.alyzenmoonshadow.wix.com/alyzenmoonshadow

The Half-Tone and Altered Half-Tone Lenormand

I was looking for an App that would give me a framework upon which to hang my Lenormand archetypal images. And I found a new (to me, anyway LOL) App on the Android Google Play Store, called Moldiv, that has heaps of cool collage templates. Moldiv is also available on iOS here.

For my Half-Tone Lenormand divination card deck, my initial idea was to create some sort of newspaper/scrapbook effect, as if I’d cut my images out of newspapers and magazines, and stuck them to my template.

Firstly, I collated the images I wished to use, into a folder on my Samsung Galaxy S4. Said images came from my library of my own photographs, public domain/copyright free images and clipart.

Then, I found a simple App that would give me the Half-Tone effect I wanted, called Just Sketch It. Of course, the App does give more than one style of sketching, Half-Tone being merely one.

I ran all 36 images through Just Sketch It, one after the other, and saved them to a new folder. (Thank the Universe for my S4’s expandable memory, I’d be lost without my 64GB memory card).

Then I set up my template in Moldiv, selecting a simple 2 photo frame, accommodating one large and one small photo. The App is versatile in allowing users to change the ratio. For this Lenormand card project, the 2:3 ratio worked a treat. I chose a neutral light grey textured background, and a font that I liked. I already had my 36 playing card inserts, created previously, waiting in another folder on my S4. We were all set to go.

The creation of the Half-Tone Lenormand was relatively straightforward. I did everything in-App in Moldiv – rotating and resizing the images, tweaking the colours, brightness and contrast etc, putting in the playing card inserts.

Here are a few of the completed cards:

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Then I got creative. I stumbled upon a long-lost old friend, an App that had previously been on Apple iOS only. The developers, Jixipix, have at long last made some (but not all) of their iOS photo editing Apps available on the Android platform, so when I came across Grungetastic, I knew my Half-Tone Lenormand project was going to produce not one, but two separate decks. A nice, clean one, if you will, and a dirty, grungy one that looks terribly worn. I adore grunge and texture! I’d already found an App that gives me the effect of torn washi or decorative tape, which I dearly wanted to use. (I will write about that App, as well as Moldiv, Just Sketch It and Grungetastic, in future posts). The App is called Masking Tape.

And so I went to town playing with first sticking on virtual tape over my images with Masking Tape, then grungifying (is that a real word?) them in Grungetastic.

Et voila! The Altered Half-Tone Lenormand deck:

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I had such fun doing this 2-in-1 Lenormand deck! 😄 Both versions will be made available on my eBay and Etsy stores in due course. I shall also post up video slideshows of them on my YouTube channel.

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http://www.alyzenmoonshadow.wix.com/alyzenmoonshadow

Videos of my Lenormand decks

While currently working on my 8th Lenormand divination card deck, I decided also to create a slideshow of some of my previous decks, so viewers can have a better understanding of what they look like.

I’m on the Android platform, so whilst in the past I would’ve created my slideshow using iMovie, I didn’t have that facility now on my Samsung Galaxy S4. So, as I hadn’t created a video in a couple of years (wow, how Time flies!), I now had to cast about searching for a slideshow/movie maker App that was easy to use. I didn’t need any fancy schmancy effects, just a straightforward no frills slideshow.

Turns out there’s a plethora of moviemaking Apps available these days, a far cry from a couple of years ago when there were only a few to choose from. Now they number in the hundreds, all vying to be the best, easiest to use, the one with the most bells and whistles, the fastest, etc etc.

After trying on a few Apps for size, I settled on Videoshow. It was the easiest to use, did what it says on the tin, I could add music to my slideshow if I wished (I didn’t), and it was free.

Videoshow boasts 18 million users worldwide, and claims to the world’s No.1 video editing App on the Android platform.

Now, I know I could create some really fancy videos with this App, if that had been my intention. But my intention was simply to showcase all the cards in my Lenormand decks, no more no less. So, here are the videos of my Lenormand divination card decks:

1) The Moonshadow Lenormand

2) The Modern Lenormand

3) The Olde Worlde Lenormand

All rights reserved AlyZen Moonshadow.

I will post up more videos of my other decks later, when I’ve created them. These Lenormand decks are available to purchase on eBay and Etsy. Just search under the names listed above. I’m there as either AlyZen Moonshadow or AlyZen M. Thanks for looking! :)

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Workflow: The “Plain And Simple Lenormand” card deck

This time round, for my 5th deck of Lenormand cards, I wanted to really simplify matters. I wanted archetypal images that were readily recognisable, with as little background distraction as possible. This deck, I figured, would be ideal for people just beginning to learn the Lenormand divination system.

I also wanted to experiment with creating a template to put my images within. Before this, I had created my images without using a framework, the only boundary being the dimensions of the page itself. This time, I wanted there to be a distinct background, then a frame within which my images would go.

I created a simple yellowy beige background using the App iMagic Pro. Then, using the App PicsArt, I chose a simple blue-grey tectured background from within the App, then put in an oval shape and inverted it so the yellowy beige stayed in the framed part, while keeping the background design. I adjusted the shape of the oval so it wasn’t so elongated.

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Now for the images. I used Clker and Clipartlord for royalty-free and public domain images. I wasn’t sure if they would save to my Sansung Galaxy S4 smartphone, as I’d had problems downloading PNG format images before. But luckily, 70% of the images I downloaded showed up correctly on my S4. I don’t know why some did and others didn’t.

I also decided it was high time to get organised, if I was going to continue creating Lenormand decks. So I filed my downloaded images, and other photos I’d taken especially for my Lenormand projects, into individual folders on my S4. That would make finding the archetypal images significantly easier.

And now for the fun part. This was easier than I expected, after having done the groundwork to prepare the background template. I simply had to put in the numbers, keyword and playing card pips, then select a corresponding image from the correct numbered folder, and put it onto the template.

Et voila! I present to you The “Plain And Simple Lenormand”.

I have yet to self-publish this online, as I’m waiting for the actual physical cards to arrive from the printers first. So for now enjoy these examples from the deck:

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A different workflow : The “Geometrical Lenormand”

In the past, I created my Lenormand decks card by card, with no fixed theme. However, I was inspired by the App “Pixlr Express” (available on both iOS and Android platforms) to alter my usual modus operandi and create an entire deck of 36 cards in a different manner.

The way I approached my “Geometrical Lenormand” may be likened to a conveyor belt at a factory. The developers of “Pixlr Express” like to tempt and taunt their users with promotional filters and effects, which stay for a short period in a special folder within the App, before vanishing into thin air. And so, when I noticed that it had just pulled its previous promo filters and introduced its newest – the “Cosmic Geometry”, I knew I had to act promptly.

To say I was inspired is an understatement. My previous Lenormand decks had all taken me around 2 weeks of constant editing, processing and tweaking, from start to finish. My “Geometrical Lenormand” took all of 5 days. I started on a Friday evening, and the project was completed, bar printing, by Wednesday evening.

This time, I kept things very simple. The parameters I set myself were:

1) I would use the simplest images where possible for this project.

2) the images would be from clipart, or come from within the Apps I use, from public domain images, or otherwise cut out from photos I’d taken.

3) I’d use a plain, coloured background for all the cards, instead of creating collaged backgrounds like in my previous Lenormand decks. For this project I generated 12 different coloured backgrounds using the App “iMagic Pro” (available on both iOS and Android platforms).
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4) on the first pass, I’d simply put a geometrical design on a coloured background. This design would be from “Pixlr Express”. The 3 promotional folders within the App are called “Wavelength”, “Bezel” and “Supernova”. Each contains a variety of geometrical designs that can be enlarged, flipped, rotated etc. The Screenshot below shows a collage of the 3 folders.

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Here’s a background with a geometrical design I’ve put on it.

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5) on the second pass, I would stick on a Lenormand archetypal image over the coloured background with the geometrical design already added. I’d do this systematically over the course of all 36 cards, starting from 1 through to 36 in that order. No fancy filters or other special effects. Let’s use the Bear card. This is a public domain image that I’ve cut out digitally using the Android App “AThumb Cut”. I simply pasted it onto my prepared background image, using another universal App, “PicsArt”.

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6) on the third pass, I’d add a simple, subtle background design to each of the 36 cards, using the special filters in “Pixlr Express”. Again, here is the Bear card.
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7) on the fourth pass, I’d add the number and title corresponding to each image. So, again, here is my Bear card.

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8) I then thought hard about whether to put the traditional playing card pips on the cards or not. I wanted this to be a modern Lenormand card deck with ultra clean lines, and debated with myself whether adding the pips would clutter things up. In the end, I compromised by not adding actual card inserts, but a simple number plus ♤♡♢♧ symbols.

So here is the completed Bear card from my “Geometrical Lenormand”.

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I like the simplicity of this Lenormand deck. Not having to create a complex collaged background saves a lot of time, and a simple background makes the archetypal Lenormand images easier to see at a quick glance. Also, adding the effects layer by layer throughout all 36 cards, instead of completing one card at a time, gives a more consistent and uniform look to the deck.

Note: the “Cosmic Geometry” filter effects are part of the App developers’ marketing strategy to get people to sign up to their desktop App. These filters will be removed from the mobile Pixlr Express App, but will remain a permanent feature on the desktop version. Check out their link:

https://pixlr.com/desktop?utm_source=pex&utm_medium=direct&utm_term=ExampleKeyword&utm_content=&utm_campaign=cosmicgeometry?utm_source=pex&utm_medium=direct&utm_term=ExampleKeyword&utm_content=&utm_campaign=cosmicgeometry

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Sneak Preview of my 2nd Lenormand deck: The “Eclectic Lenormand”

These are some of the cards from my 2nd Lenormand deck, the “Eclectic Lenormand”. Creating this deck was easier the 2nd time round, as by now I’d found more sources of public domain and copyright free images I could utilise.

(Click here for information about Lenormand).

I haven’t put this deck up for sale yet on my eBay and Etsy stores. But I will shortly :).

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As you can see, I’ve employed several different styles in the creation of this deck. Hence the name “Eclectic Lenormand”.

I hope you like it!

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http://www.alyzenmoonshadow.wix.com/alyzenmoonshadow

I can hardly contain myself!

Well, I couldn’t help it, you know I love puns. I also like recycling and repurposing, and some time ago when I was researching beach huts and garden sheds, I also noticed a proliferation of container houses. It’s an intriguing idea alright. Perhaps some day…

Pinterest, my favourite go-to for visuals (Google for text based articles, Pinteresr for images), generously dished out these gems. Enjoy!

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The Making of the “Moonshadow Lenormand”: Part V

This is the final part of my “The Making Of” series, showing the last 18 cards of the Lenormand set. (Yes, there are 2 each of the Man and Woman cards, so substitutions can be made for same-sex relationship readings).

My “Moonshadow Lenormand” can be purchased on eBay and Etsy, via these links:

http://m.ebay.com.au/itm/261630354440

https://www.etsy.com/listing/207677660/the-moonshadow-lenormand-card-deck-by

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And an explanation of the card meanings:

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For further information about Lenormand, check out this list of recommended books and videos:

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