Wednesday, February 20, 2013

The Making of a Fool...the Tarot Card


The Fool is a soul in search of experience said Arthur Edward Waite, an occult writer from the 1880s and co-creator of the Rider-Waite-Smith Tarot deck.  The Fool represents the protagonist and he is on a journey very similar to the Hero’s journey. 
So, my reasoning for choosing the Fool as my first card to design was that he stands for the protagonist and symbolizes the beginning and the end.  It’s funny, but in my story, Dragon’s Gate there is a clue that is given to the main character and part of it said the ‘beginning must go to the end.’  Okay, it’s out of context, but for me it was time to cue the Twilight Zone theme music.  You know the one. 
I was going to walk you through my steps on how I did this card, but I got so involved I forgot to document it.  Ooops.  But, I used acrylics for paint and covered the surface with Mod Podge so the liquid wouldn’t soak into the mat board.  Cut the card to the size of 5 x 7 to have a larger work area.
My story takes place on a mythical Chinese island, P’eng-lai, the isle of the Immortals of Chinese mythology.  I mixed the Tarot with the I Ching, since obviously Tarot cards are a western tradition.
The Chinese calligraphy means balance, but it’s not specific what kind of balance.  The character is walking on a bamboo pole across an abyss.  In Chinese culture the bamboo symbolizes moral integrity, resistance, modesty and loyalty, all things needed when on a Hero’s journey.  On the journey, the protagonist might feel loneliness because he is leaving behind what he has known and venturing into the unknown, which is another thing bamboo represents. 
There is a fan, which is meant to ward off evil spirits, the color red, represents good luck, and of course, the fan can be used to cool oneself off.  The peacock feather also represents warding off evil doers. 
On the pants leg is the I Ching hexagram meaning The Wanderer.  It calls for the necessary attitude for undertaking a journey.  Such as to be sincere, flexible and understanding of the new surroundings.
The overall color of the card alludes to the idea of a world slowly dying. The burnt red color of the fan and the turquoise green of the feather represent the hope that my main character represents.
What do you think?  Any suggestions?  Would you like to know more about my process for developing my Tarot deck?
Till next time,
Elizabeth

26 comments:

Ella Gray said...

Beautiful! And such a unique concept for tarot deck. Great job, Elizabeth, I can't wait to see more :)

EW Gibson said...

Thank you, Ella. It was fun doing the research too.

Elizabeth

Kelly Hashway said...

Wow, you are really talented.

EW Gibson said...

Thank you Kelly.

Jessie Harrell said...

dang, that's so cool that you're designing your own deck. awesome! that would be great swag if you printed off a card (or maybe even the whole deck) as a giveaway.

EW Gibson said...

Cool ideas Jessie. It's so much fun being a writer. hehehe.

Book Endings said...

This is a wonderful and unique idea! Very creative! Yes, I would like to know more about your process.

EW Gibson said...

Book Endings thank you for dropping by. My next card is the Magician which should be even more fun to do.

Sarah Negovetich said...

Jessie and I were thinking the same thing, "what a cool swag item". I'm always impressed by people who are so multi-talented. :)

EW Gibson said...

Sarah, thank you. A swag it is. hehehe!

Catherine Stine said...

Beautiful artwork.

EW Gibson said...

Catherine, thank you.

Beverly Stowe McClure said...

Interesting. Lovely artwork. I agree with the others.You have a special talent and the cards would make great swag.

EW Gibson said...

Beverly, thank you.

Jai said...

That is very cool. I love the symbolism of all the parts that you've added and yet it is 'simple'. The artwork is beautiful.

I look forward to seeing the Magician.

EW Gibson said...

:) Jai, thank you. Must admit it makes doing research even more fun than it already is.

EW Gibson said...

:) Jai, thank you. Must admit it makes doing research even more fun than it already is.

Kat Duncan said...

Very cool, Elizabeth! You are quite talented as an artist. The images are not overly detailed and yet they create a strong image together. I'm wondering about the Fool's outfit. Is he wearing boots or stockings and shoes? What is his hat made of, it looks like fur? Is his dress traditional? If so, what time period is it from, 1880s?

Katja Weinert said...

Wonderful! That's such a clever idea and great artwork. And like Jessie and Sarah said, if you got these copied and printed they'd make great swag to go with the book. Happy writing, researching and being creative! :)

EW Gibson said...

Kat, thank you. The fool is wearing cloth boots and the hat is fur.(good eye) Most traditional dress hasn't changed that much in China.

EW Gibson said...

Katja, thank you for your input. Looks like the sway idea is a keeper. :)

And same to you!

Lexa Cain said...

Did you paint the card yourself? It's really artistic and beautifully composed. I used to do the I Ching when I was in college. Fun stuff! :-)

Melanie said...

Awesome, Elizabeth. Love the depth of symbolism yet simple in its execution. Masterful!
m

EW Gibson said...

Lexa,

Yup, I painted it using acrylics, not my choice medium since I normally work with oils.

So cool, you used to do the I Ching.

EW Gibson said...

Melanie,

Thank you for your kind words. :) I was trying not to clutter up the card and leave negative space. Guess it worked. hehehe.

Marsha A. Moore said...

I'm catching up on my inbox and wanted to comment on how much I enjoyed seeing your artwork. The design for a tarot card is very clever! Thanks so much for sharing this.

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