Thursday, January 8, 2015

Ostara Tarot Card Designs

Hello and Happy New Year!

I hope everyone had a great holiday. I had a pretty busy one. But it was a good kind of busy, so it was a pleasant time.

One of the projects I was working on was for a Ostara Tarot, which is collective of lovely illustrator ladies from Vancouver who are making their very own tarot card deck. They will also be having an art show, where there deck will be launched, in late March.

What they hired me to do, was come up with some designs to go on the back of the cards. I was given a generous amount of freedom with my designs, so I was very excited to get started. My inspiration came from Norse and Celtic knot-work, and the word "Ostara" itself, which is one of the names applied to the celebration of the spring equinox. For the most part, I chose colours and shapes which alluded to the blossoming of flowers and to the hues prominent during dawn and dusk.

I chose to render my designs in Adobe Illustrator because I wanted to learn how to better create knot-work art with vector shapes. Also, I wished to achieve perfect symmetry because I thought it important that the backs of the cards do not prematurely reveal that the face card may be upside down - a variable some tarot readers an important part of their fortune telling.

As always I started a handful of thumbnail sketches, which I'm not showing because they ended up scattering all over my notebook and became to troublesome to scan.

Then, I picked out some of my favourite ideas and drew them a bit bigger.

Then, one by one, I worked on each idea in Illustrator, with some coming along quicker than others. Design A was the fastest out of them all to come to completion.

Design A
Design B, which is actually the last sketch in that picture, took the longest, and was the last to be finished. After working on it and feeling dissatisfied, I decided to temporarily move on to the next idea.

Design B Works-In-Progress: Initially, I liked the shimmering light idea for the background, but just quite wasn't happy with the look 

Design B WIPs: many new thumbnails and experiments later, I ended up with a much more different look, but one that was more harmonious with the other two designs.
Design B: Finished (Or is it? Dun...dun...dun)
Design C might look most laborious in regards with intertwining the knots (which is more tedious to do digitally in Illustrator, than transitionally with paint), but it came together fairly quickly after I was satisfied with the colour scheme.

Design C
And here are all three illustrations together. They've been cropped to how the cards will be trimmed, and I've given them a subtle paper texture (in Photoshop).

Here are some close up shots.
(click to enlarge)
And that's it for the art, for now anyway. There may be some subtle changes in the future, but today I feel like these pieces are finished. Which design is your favourite and you think would look best on a tarot deck? Please let me know in the comments! :)

*Edit - decks are now being printed, and you can pre-order one right here at the Ostara Tarot Shop.

P.S. - If you're interested in learning how to create knot-work in illustrator too. Here are some of the tutorials that helped me:

"Three Ways to Create Celtic Knots in Illustrator" - by Iaroslav Lazunov via Tutsplus
"Drawing celtic knotwork 1" + "Drawing celtic knotwork 2" by Greg Kulz

I feel like I should write a tutorial on subject myself because I've picked up a few tricks throughout the process. Hopefully I'll make it happen sometime!

Hope you enjoyed this first blog post of 2015. Happy January!


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