Tarot- Strength Card – Creation Process- Watercolor Painting

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I wanted to show the process of creating a watercolor tarot card. I have made it up to the ninth tarot card, which is actuality card 8 (the deck starts at zero)

I am going in order from zero to the 78th. Once I am done with the 22 major arcana, or major life event cards,I will do the four suits at the same time in order from ace to king. That means all four aces will be worked on at the same time and all four two’s, on down the line until all four kings will be worked on.

I realized from working this far, that it is easier for me to get a handle on the whole deck by having more than one image started at a time. That means I will start on one card and then start on another before it is finished and then a third or fourth will get going and I will go back and forth from one image to another.

So far, I have been using three watercolor blocks, or pads of watercolor paper, at a time.

For this post, I will focus on the strength card. I have not finished it yet, but I got pretty far.

Above, you will see the sketch I did directly onto the block of watercolor. A block has a bunch of sheets of paper glued together on the sides. This makes it so I don’t have to stretch the paper and so that it won’t wrinkle when I work on it.

At times, there is a slight bulge in the middle of the pad from water but it is usually really minimal and goes away. The idea is to do one painting at a time, per block, so I am using three different blocks of paper.

Below, you will see I have lightened the image by erasing some of the pencil lead. I leave only a trace of lead on the paper do it doesn’t show through.

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My eraser had a lot of charcoal all over it so it turned black. This is easy to fix. All I need is a blank piece of paper and a couple of minutes of rubbing to clear the end of all the charcoal. In the photo, you can’t see the end I rubbed with but it was clear and white.

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Above you see the lightened version of the sketch. It is very faint, but I am still able to see all I need to to be able to paint the final.

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Here, you see the first six cards on my vision board. (I did NOT poke any of them with pins) I had an idea of the look I wanted so I was fairly confident about what I was doing before the strength card. I’ll remind you that I had three cards in process at the same time as the strength card so the cards shown are all that were completed.

It helps to see the others for reference and to keep the style the same throughout. I ended up switching the clothing and some of the styling of the Angel for just about every card so far. Some consistency is very well needed. I however still have difficulty keeping similarities between images.

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Above here you can see the three paintings I was working on and the corresponding Rider Waite Smith cards I used as reference (they are from the ‘Radiant Rider Waite’ published by U.S Games Systems Inc.) The Rider Waite tarot card deck is considered one of, if not THE definitive tarot card imagery system that has been around for several centuries. The cards I used have been enhanced with more color, but the images are the same as the old tried and true tarot cards that so many versions of the tarot are based upon. image

Above are some of the watercolors I was using. I have several sets of paints and I will switch back and forth, depending on the colors I need or want to use. Most of them all have the same colors, but each set has a color or two that the others don’t. I recommend trying a couple here and there and seeing what you like about them. They all get the job done as far as I am concerned, but some artists are loyal to one brand over another. There are certain qualities and attributes to each brand’s pigment. The set here is a custom set made from tubes of different brands of watercolor paint. I prefer the pan watercolors that don’t come from tubes, but I use this one a lot as well.

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Above, you see the first colors being laid in.
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Unfortunately I got a little absorbed into the painting and forgot to get some more photos. I was also interrupted, so you’ll have to excuse the missing photos.
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This is where it is at now and I still have an hour or two worth of work to do on it, but I am going to switch back to one of the other paintings before finishing this. I still have to work more on the hand and the head and some of the foreground.

I hope to post some more progress pics of this card deck soon, but this is where it is at for now.

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It would also help if you all could check out my finished graphic novel chapter, ‘Angel Messages of Light’ on amazon.com.