Review of the Pastel Tarot

The Pastel Tarot is a self published, indie Tarot deck by Gary Shook, creator of other unique Tarot decks such as the Waite Acid Tarot and Retro Pop Tarot. The art style is unique and distinct, using photographic collage which is processed via multiple software platforms. It’s a Rider Waite based deck with a modern feel!


  • No borders! Yay!
  • Calming, pastel colors
  • Modern twist gives this deck a unique feel
  • Characters feel warm and relateable


  • Card stock a bit thin
  • Card backs don’t match theme of deck (note: the artist has re-done the card backs to match the color scheme of the deck, the backs of my deck were just temporary backs)

First impressions…

When I first unwrapped my copy of the Pastel Tarot, I noticed the box said Tarottica and being a bit of a pervert, I immediately assumed this deck would be smutty, although I didn’t recall anything porno-esque when I’d browsed the deck online a couple weeks ago.

I later realized that Tarottica is the name of Gary’s Etsy shop and there’s actually nothing smutty about it. Darn!

My first impression of this deck was “ooh, pretty!” because I liked the pastel color scheme. The soft colors are calming and gentle and make this deck easy really easy on the eyes. The art style feels uncluttered and soft and very accessible.

But upon deeper exploration of this deck, I was intrigued by some of the modern themes and imagery as well as the realness and warmth of the characters populating the Minor Arcana.

The Basics:

Card stock finish is something between a matte and a gloss, like a glotte. Size is pretty standard – not too big, not too small and a nice size for comfortable shuffling and handling.

The card stock is a bit on the thin side and overall print quality is middle of the road. Thin card stock isn’t always a bad thing though, especially when it comes to shuffling – a thin deck feels way nicer to shuffle than a deck made from sturdy stock. This deck does come in a premium version that has thicker card stock, if that’s important to you.

Next up, card backs: I noted in my video review that the card backs didn’t seem to match the deck at all. Gary has since told me that the copy I received is different than the copy that is now for sale and the card backs have been changed to reflect the overall theme of the deck. Perfect!

There is no little white book with this deck (LWB). Honestly, I don’t give a shit about this. I rarely ever look at the LWB, but some people, especially beginners really like a LWB.

What I love…

My two favorite things about this deck are the contemporary feel and the characters of the Minor Arcana.

Let’s talk about the Minor Arcana peeps first…

The Minor Arcana really shines in this deck and I love just how real and warm so many of the people in this deck feel. When I read the Minors, I feel like I actually know the figures on these cards, which helps make this deck feel very readable and accessible.

The Queen of Swords reminds me of Debbie from finance (in the office I used to work at). Debbie was a real trip. And the guy in the Nine of Cups looks just like my old history profs who used to smoke cigars and bring red wine and cheese to class (to share with his students). This makes the minors really easy to relate to, making it a breeze to tap into the energy of the cards.

Some cards depict recent events like the separation of children and parents at the U.S./Mexico border (Three of Swords) and tent cities (Six of Pentacles), giving this deck a very contemporary feel.

How does this deck read?

Sometimes it takes me a little while to really break in a deck and connect with it, but I instantly connected to the Pastel Tarot. My first reading was very clear and direct, making this one of the easiest decks I’ve read with.

In fact, this deck reads like your having a conversation with a good friend – it just feels easy.

Who is this deck best for?

This is a beginner friendly deck since it sticks close to Rider Waite style imagery and would be a fairly easy deck to learn on. But more seasoned Tarot readers will also enjoy this contemporary deck with it’s soft, soothing color theme and personality popping characters.

Buying Options:

The Pastel Tarot can be purchased direct from Gary Shook’s Etsy shop Tarrotica.

It is available in a regular edition (the kind I have) and a premier edition (better card stock and fancier box).

This entry was posted in Deck Reviews, January 2019. Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to Review of the Pastel Tarot

  1. Lynn Summers says:

    Lovely cards, and your review was excellent – very thorough! I want to add this deck to my collection – especially since the court cards are more relevant and easier to read. My hiccup is always with the court cards.

    I love pastel colors, and decks without borders, so this is a win-win for me.

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