Arcana Playing Cards
By: Chris Ovdiyenko

Availability: Sold Out
* Color:

"Exclusive for Arcana backers to pre-order, this is a dark version of my first playing card project (Calaveras). This deck of 56 cards will be printed by USPCC and will have premium foil and embossing and uses the same artwork as the original Calaveras, only on black cards rather than light with silver and gold ink."



"The Arcana Extension Deck (Tarot Major Arcana cards)

This deck is a compliment to the decks already in the project. It will contain the remaining 18 major arcana tarot cards, 6 gaff cards, and four knave cards. Because of the printing minimums, BOTH light and dark versions will be ganged up in one deck.

Here’s a mock up of the extension deck:


The tuck stock is soft touch magic black - the most expensive and velvety smooth stock USPCC offers. As I tried to show, it will have light blue foil and embossing, and will also have printing on the interior. 

The major arcana cards are some the most dynamic and interesting in the tarot and will complete this project perfectly! I’m super thrilled to make it available to you!



Playing cards inspired by the Tarot. Arcana is a new deck of custom hand-drawn playing cards printed by USPCC.



About this project

The standard playing cards we know today have a history that's intertwined with and inseparable from tarot cards. I want to pay homage to that history and create a deck of playing cards with art inspired by the tarot. 

In some countries, traditional tarot cards aren't used just for divination, they're actually used for games the way we commonly use regular playing cards. Likewise, today's standard playing cards are used by some for divination—known as cartomancy. The two card systems started out as the same thing and are still inextricably linked. This deck is the first I'm aware of that takes that simple fact as the inspiration for its design.

The Art, Suits, Symbolism, and the Rider-Waite

The art for this deck is heavily influenced by the 1910 Rider-Waite-Smith tarot deck—its pretty much the standard for tarot cards used for divination. Though the style of my art is very different from Pamela Smith's art, the themes and intent will be very much in the spirit of her artwork with a healthy dose of my own intent and interpretation. 

Arcana is first-and-foremost a playing card deck. Wherever possible I've pulled inspiration from the RWS Tarot, the Tarot of Marseilles, and the Sola Busca Tarot. That includes the royals, the suits, and the symbolism. That said, combining the two has meant a few tradeoffs.

Arcana isn't intended to be a full tarot deck. Playing cards printed through USPCC are 56 card decks (main cards plus 2 jokers, and 2 extra cards) while the tarot uses 78 cards. As a playing card deck, I'll be designing 56 cards, which means I have to limit the Major Arcana to 4 cards (replacing the two jokers and the 2 extra cards). The four cards I've chosen to include are The Tower, The Lovers, The Fool, and Death. I've consulted with a lot of tarot readers on this and they more or less agree that these cards are of importance to any reading and make sense to include. Additionally, these cards will not include the Page/Knave cards.

Correlating the suits was also a little dicey as there is at least a little healthy debate about which playing card suit goes with which tarot suit. I opted to go with what seemed like the most common concensus. Spades, Clubs, Hearts and Diamonds are paired up in this deck with Swords, Wands, Cups, and Pentacles respectively.

Also, just a note about my art. I take inspiration from all over—art history, found images, my own sketches and photographs. I combine all of it to create something new. I create the final art by combining art from scratchboard and images I draw on my tablet. It's all hand drawn, and I'm meticulous about making sure the final imagery works at the relatively small scale of playing cards.

The Cards

I hope you can tell from this artwork how much passion and dedication I have for the project. Each card takes many, many hours to draw, and I've been working on it for about a year. For me, the art is what custom playing cards are all about. If you backed one of my past projects, you know how detailed and unique my work is. It's a great pleasure to bring you these cards which I think takes my art to a whole new level. Please note that all images are just comps and subject to change.

Card Back Light

Card Back Dark

Queen of Hearts/Cups dark​

10 of Hearts/Cups dark

Ace of Spades/Swords light​

Ace of Spades/Swords dark

The Tower - one of the 4 major arcana cards in this deck


Many of the other royals are in various stages of completion. My goal is to have all the artwork finalized by the end of the funding period. That's a tall order, so it's possible completing the art might stretch a bit past the funding period. I'll definitely be posting more card images as I create them, so be sure to check back and feel free to offer suggestions.

The Box

As you can tell, there will be 2 versions of Arcana, one light and the other dark. Here are some images of the box:

​Text translates roughly to 'As above, so below'