Card Decks Portfolio

Da Vinci Tarot

Mark McElroy
Written by Mark McElroy

Finding connections between da Vinci’s work and traditional tarot

Project Info
Contribution: Scriptwriter, Author
Year: 2006
Publisher: Lo Scarabeo

This deck is a fine example of research as a problem-solving tool.

My editor at Lo Scarabeo approached me with an intriguing project. Artists had been paid to produce artwork for a tarot based on the work of Leonardo da Vinci. Unfortunately, all notes on their drawings — including which da Vinci masterpieces inspired each illustration, and which images corresponded to which Tarot card — had been lost.

First, I found myself sorting through dozens of illustrations, looking for correspondences between the subject matter and traditional tarot themes. Then, I was off to the library to track down which of da Vinci’s copious works seemed to have inspired each picture. Finally, I wrote a short but detailed book compiling everything I’d learned into an approachable guide to the deck.

The result: a book and deck kit that, in the end, feels like a unified, cohesive effort, despite a challenging start. This assignment earned me a reputation as something of a creative “fixer” — someone who could be approached with broken or incomplete projects and come up with a creative, satisfying way to revise, remix, or reposition them for publication.

It’s still available on

About the author

Mark McElroy

Mark McElroy

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