The Robledo’s Cards

Come from Argentina the two titanic works that enrich the world of Tarot cards. The first part of the text deals with a restoration of the Tarot of Jean Dodal. The second part of this is a new Tarot of Marseilles (TdM II), completely designed by Pablo Robledo. Where his experience enabled him to draw up an entirely new deck, but respecting the standard recognized as traditional. To write these texts I made a compilation of what Robledo wrote on forums about tarot and on his old blog. The details came through a mini-interview I did with him, which proved to be a lovely guy and very approachable. Let’s go to them!

Tarot of Jean Dodal restored by Pablo Robledo

Pablo Robledo is responsible for this amazing and celebrated edition. Made available handcrafted and self-published.

The argentinean left several ambiguous details without making a dogmatic and unilateral interpretation of the cards, ie, without adding details that seem to be in the cards.

A part of his work was done as the result of a collective mind, where several members of the Tarot Forum Aecletic exchanged information with Robledo on some details.

Almost at the same time that Jean-Claude Flornoy has prepared his restored version of Jean Dodal, Robledo from his hometown Rio Cuarto, Argentina, also was preparing its restored version. And as the french restaurateur, Robledo made a work as faithful as possible. However, some differences characterize the restoration of Robledo as more faithful. If we take into account the size of the cards, the framing of characters and the fill in of the colors. The back of the cards, in the hermano’s deck follows the original shape of paws in one direction (a triangular motif, like footprints of birds) and that, according to him, allow linguistic clues for reading the cards – the language of birds.

The cards are laminated with a layer OPP mate, beyond the protection that gives a silky touch, allowing a smooth shuffle.




The dimensions of the cards are 4,96 in x 2,68 in.





Modern Tarot of Marseilles edited by Pablo Robledo

Here Pablo Robledo claims to have done a work like a master engraver, from the time of Nicolas Conver, respecting the tradition of TdM. Like the name of the cards: using “V” instead of “U” and “I” instead of “J”. In the case of Le Pendv, the number used was the IIX, the same way that the traditions used, which denotes an idea of detention.

Released in 2012, that was the result of 3 and a half years of research and design. Just as the Tarot of Jean Dodal, it was released on his own editing and semi-handmade and is currently sold out.

To get an idea of the scale of the work, each card was scaled up to reach about two meters height where every detail stay apparent. After that, each card was discolored – in fact were painted white – until only the edges of the lines were visible. Later, these lines were reinforced with care to keep them in their original form. This allowed the work with the actual appearance of the wood engraved line. It was a job that cost up to 27hours on each card.

The deck includes a geometric transparency that illustrates how the Tarot can be decoded. It is the model that Tchalaï Ünger suggests in her book  El Tarot– Por qué? Cómo? Hasta dónde?  And that is based on the manner in which Jodorowsky divides  the cards.

The deck is packaged in a very careful and traditional fashion, with a wrapping paper (at left).

The paper used for the cards is a sheet of 300g mate (non-glossy) after the printing the cards was coated with a layer of matte laminate (Opp) which is neither plastic nor varnish. This laminate gives more body to the cards, giving a silky/wax texture, protecting them from wear.

Size and operability

The care and diligence were so many that even the size of the cards (from 11.3 X 5.95 cm), was the result of various studies and tests. In that case Pablo concluded that the cardss were ideal for this size without losing handling and the operability.


About the colors, Pablo Robledo talks about his experience with the Classic Tarots “to learn more decks ‘true’, I tried to capture the old look in a more faithful manner, respectting ‘much to my way’ for what could be the current print considered as errors“.

The colors were recalibrated, where another color palette was used, making the cards more harmonic. Thus, the light blue and the flesh tone were smoothed and yellow was a bit stronger. Looking at the figure on the left, you can see that the use of a bit darker together with the light blue, gives a subtle effect of depth.



The back of the cards is a version similar to that used by François Chosson, Joseph Chafard and Jean Payen (1743).

Creation process

For the creation of this deck were used drawings of the 22 arcana of Nicolas Conver, Pierre Madenié, François Chosson, Suzane Bernardin, Arnoux & Amphoux , Jean Rochias and François Tourcaty. For the court cards, the expressive glances of Conver. And for numerals cards were used a Lequart models (said of Arnoult) and the touches of baroque by Joseph Fautrier. In the series of Clubs, Pablo used the way to paint by Dodal.

The devil in this deck is based on lines of Conver and inspired in the designs of Jacques Rochias, 1782 – Neuchâtel, Switzerland (but in this case, with a little more style and without snakes). What you see on the Devil legs are hairs, very common in packs held in Besançon and Switzerland, while they would not depart from the canon of graphic TdMII and also in some cathedrals. “I tried to make the lines coincide within the double square. All changes made on some drawing, always kept the original aspect ratio “- says Robledo.

The Empress has bright green eyes, is one of the details worked out from the new folklore (in this case, the Camoin). Many details handled by Robledo, come from what he claims to be part of a folklore. From his personal taste, he listed a series of fads that recurred among different decks where he worked.


The new edition (February/2013) features a major change in the form of color. The cards will have an appearance of having been painted by brush, alternating darker parts and lighter parts. Furthermore, was added a “dirt” look as if been used by several generations.


Personally speaking, I believe that this should have been the treatment given by Jodorowsky / Camoin, Hadar and Sanchez / Rodez to your “restored” tarots. With Pablo, we did not find anything like the “real Tarot of Marseilles”, “ancient symbols finally rediscovered “, “the true Tarot of Marseilles” and other types of marketing pitches that plague these decks. It is not a case of putting in the trash the creations of these authors, but realize what is behind the names, titles and features given to them.

This guy brings a explicity new deck designed in the 2000s. Beauty and unique efforts.

Pablo Robledo, cartier and designer, an image maker of Tarot!

Daison Paz

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