I like colouring books and I always wanted a tarot themed one. So, when I received this book I was very excited. Theresa Reed is a tarotista I follow on social media and I really like her direct, no nonsense approach to the cards. All told, I was really curious what she would do with this book.
Well, not only is this a colouring book, but also a beginners’ guide to the Rider-Waite-Smith Tarot. Each and every card from the Major and Minor Arcana has a full page for the colouring, along with a page next to it with keywords, upright and reversed meanings, the meanings of the many symbols on the card and a description of the original colours of the image. Then, at the end of the text, Theresa always asks, what colour makes YOU feel that particular way? I really like this, as it encourages us to think about how we would colour the image – as opposed to just copying the original.
Let’s talk about the technical things like paper quality. I am a bit lazy and I like to colour with felt pens. Not a problem with this book, because it has quite sturdy pages that don’t get holes if I use my Sharpies on them. Not easily anyway. A big relief really because doing all this work with pencils would be my death sentence.The book itself is paperback, and spiral bound. This makes it really easy to colour the cards; you don’t have to break the spine of the book if you want it to stay flat. A great and practical idea really, even if it looks a little strange at first.
The images used in the book are the same ones that Waite used in his ‘Pictorial Key to the Tarot’. If you like the RWS, you will like the book. But be warned, these are not the refined images of the Universal or Radiant Waite! These are the good old originals with the thick and sometimes not very obvious outlines. I would have loved to see a cleaner version of the cards, but I guess these are more traditional – and probably aren’t under copyright anymore!
What I really would have loved though, is a colouring book that uses the RWS images as inspiration and transforms them into those intricate colouring outlines you see nowadays in colouring meditation books. But, this book was not made for that purpose. The purpose of the book is to get the beginner acquainted with the cards through interacting with them. While thinking about and colouring the images, and reading the text next to the cards, anyone will easily learn the meanings as well. Then, to move on from just knowing the meanings, Theresa provides her quick, no nonsense introduction to how to read the cards. I love this part most of all because it is just so to the point, and is loaded with useful information a beginner can easily implement into their practice! A lovely mini course which even includes case studies. Great job!
To quickly sum up my thoughts about Theresa Reed’s Tarot Colouring Book: I think it is an ingenious way to teach the tarot. I love the paper quality, and I love Theresa’s approach to the topic. From a traditionalist point of view, I like the images as well. It is good to know the original when so many reproductions and clones are out there, and I am happy Pamela Coleman-Smith gets recognition in this book. I really think this book could make learning the tarot very easy. Overall, a good investment whether you just want to do some colouring or you are about to begin your journey with the cards.
Review by Katalin Patnaik