About the Cards
I began working on the Tarot of Equus in 2018 — on a whim. That whim came in and out of my life for the next three years!
This deck has been a deep exploration of my own connection to the Tarot. From reading for my girlfriends as a teenager to seeking a deeper understanding of myself in some of the most difficult times in my life, the Tarot has been with me for a very long time — and if I dig deeper, I’d say the connection goes back much farther than this lifetime.
My personal life journey, and thus my connection with the Tarot, has been down some beautiful winding paths full of wisdom and knowledge — as well as through some dark forests full of shadow and mystery. I believe this deck reflects that journey with honor and does so with an added layer because so much my own life journey has been taken alongside a horse.
I began the creation process for each card by studying the mother of all Tarot decks — the Rider-Waite deck. Although I have become an avid Tarot deck collector over the years, I wanted to go back to this source deck to begin each card.
Then, I brought in my eclectic wisdom around each card — and although I don’t contradict the Rider-Waite interpretation, there are times I wander away from it a fairly far. As a Tarot reader, I prefer to focus on the positive of even the most negative cards while still allowing the shadows to be as rich and detailed as they should to be. Cards such as the Three of Swords, Five of Pentacles, The Devil and The Tower all reflect valuable lessons learned from time in those shadows, but they also offer us hope and wisdom from the light their influence sheds on our experience. I felt it was important to reflect this in the cards.
When I began creating the cards, I began with The Fool — which was easy. What better represents the youthful and confident energy of The Fool than a chestnut Arab filly? When I began drawing The Magician, however, I found myself a bit more challenged to represent the meaning of the card in a way that felt in alignment with horse behavior and human understanding. Cards such as The Tower and The Hanged Man (which is the only fully embodied human in the deck) posed even greater challenges because the lessons of these cards are such human lessons. That said, I consulted with my Muse and together we constructed what I feel is a good marriage of human lesson and equine spirit.
The cards are all drawn using the same process. I began with a photograph (most of which were from my own extensive collection of equine images created from my many years as an equine photographer) as a reference of the equine body posture or postures needed for the image. I then built a scene around that image which reflected the meaning of the card, as best I could to keep that meaning within the realm of how a horse would experience it. You can watch an short example of how this came together with the Eight of Wands in a short video below. Each card took me between 3 and 12 hours to create with most in the 4-6 hour range.
All of the images were created on an iPad Pro using the software Procreate. I can not say enough wonderful things about the iPad as a creative tool or Procreate as a vehicle for creating. The deck encompassed three different iPad Pros and two Apple Pencils over the years. This wasn’t because I wore them out, it was simply because I upgraded tools!
Procreate is a — and I still can’t believe this given how much money I give Adobe every month — $29 app from the App Store. It is amazing — and allows you to draw in a way that feels like you’re creating on paper with live paint, but allows you to do so much more. When I found Procreate, I found my perfect artist tool. That in and of itself was the most amazing feeling because I’d wanted to create illustrations before, but they never held up to the standard of what my artist’s mind saw until Procreate. I will be eternally grateful to the developers of this app because regardless of how many decks I sell, I have received a gift that will continue to support my creative soul well into the future.
Once the entire deck was drawn, I made templates in Adobe Photoshop and the final cards were given their names and saved into card sized and print sized files. And the rest of the story you see on the pages of this website.
About Kimberly Beer
Kimberly Beer is a multi-talented horsewoman and rancher. She shares her life with multiple equines including quarter horses, Shetland ponies, and burros. She is also a professional equine photographer and co-founder of Cowgirls with Cameras; an accomplished entrepreneurial strategist and co-host of The Business Animal Podcast; a published author of fiction and non-fiction; and a Touched by a Horse certified Equine Gestalt Coach. You can find her on most social media as @kimberlybeer or on the websites KimberlyBeer.com, KimBeerPhotography.com, BeMoreBusiness.com, CowgirlswithCameras.com & TheBeerRanch.com.