Wednesday, April 23, 2014

The Modern Spellcaster's Tarot: Judgement and Six of Swords

Today i'd like to talk a little about a new project that I've begun recently. 

I was contacted at the end of last year by Llewellyn Worldwide about illustrating a full tarot deck that was being written. Initially, I was a bit apprehensive about dedicating my time to completing 78 illustrations for the set, but the deadline was reasonable, so I agreed to do the project. In the past I have not been too familiar with how tarot decks work or what the cards mean, but I've always liked the imagery and format of them. I look forward learning a lot more about the cards as I work through and research for this deck.  

After a few months of wrapping up illustrations for my MFA among other freelance jobs, I was finally able to get started on some illustrations for the tarot set. The Modern Spellcaster's Tarot is based on the standard Rider-Waite deck, but is modernized with additional symbolism and imagery. The first two served more or less as samples to give the publisher and author an idea of my process and what the finished cards will look like. The two cards I was recommended to start with were Judgement and the Six of Swords, both being important cards in the set. The full meanings are a bit much for me to go into detail about here, but if you're interested you can read more about Judgement here and the Six of Swords here.

The author, Melanie Marquis, provided me with some great descriptions of what she was looking for in the images and I got to work. Here's the sketches with the original card designs from the Rider deck for comparison:

                   Six of Swords 11" x 18" Charcoal and digital 




                   Judgement 11" x 18" Charcoal and digital


And here's the paintings:

Six of Swords 11" x 18" Oil on masonite

Judgement 11" x 18" Oil on masonite

I'm pretty excited about getting into this deck as the subject matter and imagery is a bit different from my usual swords and sorcery, but I'm sure i'll be able to sneak some of that in here and there. Now that i'm wrapping up my MFA program in the next couple months i'll be working on and posting a lot more about this project. So stay tuned!


These paintings are available for purchase, if interested, contact me at murphyillustration@gmail.com 

10 comments:

  1. The illustrations are absolutely gorgeous! Any idea when these might be available for purchase?

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    1. Thank you!! I'm not entirely sure but most likely fall of next year. I'll be posting more images as I work on the deck.

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  2. Thanks. I'll be keeping an eye out for updates. :-) I'm such a fan of your work!

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  3. Beautiful! The images truly speak.

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  4. So what's the latest news on this deck? Inquiring minds are eager to hear!

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    1. Hello Nancy, the deck is coming along very well! I have not been able to update lately because I am working very hard to finish the set. I hope to post more updates soon. Thank you for checking in!

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  5. It looks like it's going to be a very beautiful deck and I most likely will buy it . But what I would like to see in new decks, is less naked women, especially boob shots. I am new to the Tarot so I am using the cards a lot. I know that the female body is supposed to be a work of art, I get that, but after looking at this day after day, it becomes agitating.What is wrong with putting clothes on us?

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    1. Hello Anonymous (no need to hide!), thank you for writing in, I appreciate your comments. I understand that nudity can be bothersome. However for this deck, the author, a woman, has requested for me to include nudity in some of the cards. There are also cards including nude men. None of the figures are intended to be gratuitously naked, just a representation of the human body in it's natural form. I think it's important for all humans to be comfortable with the nude figure, rather than ashamed or afraid of it. I hope you can still find joy in the deck. Thank you again for sharing your thoughts. Best wishes!

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