I need a good foundation in card magic and sleights. And I plan to get Jason England's "Foundations", but before I spend that kind of money, I think I want a better foundation.
So I'm wondering. Should I pick up Royal Road to Card Magic
? (I hear this is a must-have, and it looks very promising.)
Should I also pick up Expert Card Technique
+some Tally Ho's (just because I've never used them before.)
Thanks in advance.
Also, sorry for posting it here, but I remember it was either a free like Pen Thru Dollar or a secret Pen Thru Dollar or something like that. Does that still exist? And if I also remember correctly, wasn't there some sort of free discount code to get like 10% off or something? Is that, also, still around?
Hats off to you for wanting to learn the art and not just the newest coolest looking thing. Foundations wise, I'm a big believer in the classics, so here are my suggestions
Royal Road to Card Magic - classically the book recommended to beginners. It's not as comprehensive as the Card College tomes, but it's an excellent place to start.
Card College 1-5 - Also a good place to start, it's comprehensive, and importantly it has a good progression - starts with easier slights and builds up on theory and towards more difficult sleights. They cover quite a bit of ground. The effects have a 'spanish school' influence to them.
Expert at the Card Table - this is the single most influential book on card magic written in the last century. Published first in 1902, it is still considered the 'Bible' of card technique. Since its publication, almost all of the techniques described remains the golden standard. It is dense, the descriptions are concise, and it is sometimes difficult to read given the style of prose, but it is the most important book you will pick up on card magic.
Expert Card Technique - I hesitate to recommend this book because of its history. Hugard and Braue, who wrote the books, were not really privy to most of the sleights and effects described. Much of the material is attributable, but not credited to Dai Vernon, Jacob Daley, Charlie Miller and Jack McMillen. The authors simply hung around these giants of card magic, and in some cases, plagerized, and in other cases, conjectured at their methods. This resulted in an interesting book. Some of the material is absolute gold, but some material are merely unworkable conjectures. Despite this, Expert Card Technique is still considered as one of the classics in card magic, though it does need to be read with a careful eye. In my opinion, save this book for later when you develop a more critical eye for good material, and is familiar enough with Vernon's work to distinguish certain items as essential and others as trivial.
A few other books you should consider:
Dai Vernon's Book of Magic / The Vernon Chronicles / Inner Secrets Trilogy - Vernon was the most influential magician of, well, probably ever. You simply cannot do any effects and sleights now that have not in some way been affected by Vernon's input into magic. Unlike Marlo, Vernon did put most of his best work into print (though often ineptly described by Lewis Ganson...), it is worth studying. In terms of value of the material, I would place these books probably the highest on my list next to Erdnase.
Revelation - Vernon's commentary on Erdnase. Recently republished with additional material contributed by David Ben. Vernon and Erdnase together in one book, need I say more?
A note on Jason England's Foundations. While this is a VERY good resource, I think it is rather advanced for someone starting out in magic. Most of the sleights taught on the DVD are easier to grasp once a good understanding of the basic principles of card technique is obtained.
Despite the myths, although Tally Ho's are printed on different machines than Bikes, the paper stock and the finish is identical. They don't handle any different. Having said that, I've got a soft spot for Tally Ho's - somehow I've always found naked angels riding bicycles on my cards to be slightly disturbing.
Hope this helps,