I followed St. Jinx on Tumblr and now follow him on Instagram, so I looked forward to the release of his first deck, the St. Jinx Arcana. It followed the Rider Waite Smith pattern and symbolism closely, and the art was great. The only issue I had with St. Jinx’s choices for the deck was what appeared to be to be an overly large border. I don’t mind decks with borders, but the border on this one seemed excessive. With the large border, each of the Minor Arcana cards contained the name of the card twice–once at the top and once at the bottom. When he announced that he planned to release a borderless version of the deck, I wondered whether I really needed another version of the same deck. Eventually, I went ahead and ordered both the Standard and Uncensored versions of the revised deck, as much to support the artist as to have the decks in my collection.
The decks arrived yesterday, and I could immediately see differences. The updated decks are brighter with some subtle color differences. I also saw many of the cropping decisions St. Jinx had talked about as he went through the process of making the deck borderless. You can see the new cropping most dramatically in the Celestial Host add on. He also made major changes to the World card that I feel created a much better depiction.
Many of the changes are much subtler. St. Jinx redid a small number of figures. Some of them look less defined, especially in the torso (The World, above, the Hermit, and the Prince of Cups, below), and some genital areas are depicted differently (the Hermit, the Hierophant, and the Six of Swords, below). The Hierophant and the Ten of Swords are two cards where I noticed distinct color differences between the original and the current versions. The Hierophant is one of the few cards that I feel suffered during the conversion process. It looks more washed out than lightened, and the lavender light is too much like the new color of the vestments. While I like the darker tone of the Ten of Swords, it diminishes the one small, positive aspect of this card that is often helpful when interpreting it for clients (the sun is coming up).
Below you can see more of the decisions St. Jinx made about cropping and repositioning the images in the revised decks. The Three of Pentacles shows how the image was cropped closer to the figure at the top of the card and shaving some off the sides, which does not particularly affect the overall feeling of the card. The Six of Swords shows how a small amount of cropping on the sides made both the figure and the boat more prominent in the space of the card. He added space at the top of the Two of Pentacles allowing for more of the circular graphic above the figure in the card. A similar expansion to the Wheel of Fortune gave him the opportunity to add to the illustration, which I think enriches the card.
Overall, I think St. Jinx did an excellent job of revisioning the decks. The larger illustration size means that I will discover even more small details that I haven’t seen before. I’ll also continue to spot differences between the original decks and the updated decks for a long time (for example, I only just noticed that St. Jinx’s little signature glyph does not appear in the new versions).
Now I need to make new bags for the new decks!
St. Jinx Arcana card images © 2021, St. Jinx