Sunday, September 20, 2009

Tarot Cards II

Of the various projects I've dabbled in over the last couple of years, one of the most perennially popular was the handful of tarot cards I drew last year. Thanks to some recent encouragement from the lovely folks at Aeclectic Tarot, I've finally decided to revist that particular project, with an eye towards completing the full set. To start things off, here are rough sketches for the next eight cards in the set...


The Fool just popped into my head, and I drew it pretty much as it first occurred to me. The Magician is something of a departure from the classic magus-slash-charlatan, but he's supposed to represent the artisan and the master craftsman too...


The High Priestess is inspired in part by the famous Burney Relief, hence the lions and owls on the columns. The Chariot is blazing through the heavens over an army encampment; in hoc signo vinces, indeed.


The Hermit is another one that popped into my head exactly as you see it here. The Tower departs considerably from the classic image, with more than a little of Browning's Childe Roland mixed in. Is this a calamity for the knight, the tower, or both?


The Star changed dramatically as I worked on it. My first impulse was something along the lines of Gustav Klimt's Danaë, but I think this version is much better at conveying the idea of capturing inspiration. The Moon is depicted as an underwater scene on the grounds that, as a symbol of illusion and confusion, it shouldn't be directly visible. And besides, the crab is so cute!

11 comments:

kmiles said...

OMG, these are Fabulous!
I can't wait to see the rest.

Daisy Dragonfly said...

Gorgeous work, Mark! I especially love the Hermit and the Moon. Oh, and the Chariot. And... no, I can't choose. They're all amazing :) Can't wait to see (and buy) the finished product).

Daisy
x

Jelter said...

whoa, can't wait to see the final product. thanks for the compliment on the clothed fig. stuff, it means a lot coming from you!

Zezina said...

Wonderful drawings, Mark!
What a great start to your deck - congratulations!

D. said...

As a long-time Tarot reader, these are more than just beautiful and wonderful designs, they're so spot on! They have condensed the many meanings of the card into one perfect image. Take the Moon, for example, a card about illusion, dreaming, deception, romance, too.

In most moon cards there is the moon pictured in the sky and the idea of us gazing up at it. But this card goes farther and deeper. On sand or under the water, the crab does not swim. So it is stuck at the bottom, gazing up at the fish "flying" to the moon. It can't fly like them, yet the angle and the way the crab reaches makes us think it wants to. But the moon is an illusion, it isn't there on the surface of the water. That is merely its distorted reflection. And the fish aren't flying to it. Dream, illusion, deception, even romance. All there.

As if that weren't enough, the crab is the sign of Cancer, who's "planet" is the moon. Yet the Moon card is not represented by Cancer in Tarot. It's given to Pisces, the dreamer. The fish. So we get all that astrological association as well.

Even the look of the card, there under water, is dreamy, fantastic. And that's just the sketch of this one card. I could say as much and more on all the others. This is going to be a fantastic deck.

Mark, you have a real gift. Not just in the beauty of your art, but in being able to encapsulating so much into one snapshot. Please give us more!--Thirteen

Ray Bonilla said...

niccceeeeee....

Mark Simmons said...

Thanks, all! I'm pretty excited about this project. :-)

And thanks to Thirteen for digging out some of the layers in the moon card. I think, even more than the symbols and imagery, I'm really happy that the image evokes a story. I'd love to be able to build a little narrative into each card; don't they say a picture is worth a thousand words?

Howard Shum said...

Nice looking work!

Sharyn said...

Stunning moon, and the tower made me smile. Don't humans just rush toward our tower moments rather than pull back and think first :)

Keep up the good work, The sketches are so powerful, It would be fun to have a deck of sketches and one of what you consider the finished project.

thanks so much for sharing.

Stephanie Pui-Mun Law said...

These look amazing. I'm a fan of b&w work so I do like your roughs a great deal. I like your different take on a lot of these, particularly with the moon being just a watery and hazy illusion through the wavering surface. Having just finished my own deck I can tell you it's a very rewarding process, and I will be eagerly watching the rest of your cards!

DarkwingLady said...

Blacksmiths ARE magicians.

In my country, even now, it takes YEARS to become a true blacksmith that can create magic keris (perhaps as an English speaker you'd be more familiar with kris?). When you have acquired enough wisdom to imbue in your creations, you are called an Empu or Master.

The Fool reminds me of that famous N**e slogan, "Just do it!" The Fool is about spontaneousness and leaps of faith, so methinks you got it nabbed.

I love the expression of secrecy on the Priestess's face. Some things we bury in our subconscious, we erase from conscious memory to save us...as our instincts warn us. Been there, done that, bought the T-shirt.

I notice that I maybe necroposting, but I DO wish you'd finish the card and tell me when it's published, so I can buy it.