For my senior thesis project, I designed and illustrated 9 major arcana cards as part of a full Tarot Card deck named "Kalon Tarot". In addition, I illustrated the cover box art and the back design of the card deck.
Each card is represented by a poignant female character in Ancient Greek mythology. Every character is specifically selected to reflect the traditional reading of their respective tarot card and embody its values; however, I aimed to portray each character in an original way by varying their character designs, poses and expressions. I intended for the illustrations to not only refresh the viewer's general knowledge of that individual, but also to expose nuances and details from the original myths that are less commonly known. Every detail and object in the card is symbolic of the character's story.
The High Priestess
Eros & Psyche
The Wheel of Fortune
Cover Box Art
Card Back Design
The reason I chose to illustrate mainly female characters from the Greek mythos is due to the overshadowing of male characters from the stories. As Ancient Greece was a severely patriarchal society, female characters are usually overshadowed by the male heroes despite the fact that they played equally if not more important roles in the stories. By illustrating the female characters that were forgotten and unappreciated, I aim to celebrate and raise awareness of their character and contributions.
A personal goal of mine was also to practice my character design skills and practise storytelling/showing narrative through a synthesised snapshot. I wanted to familiarise myself with my own personal, anime-inspired art style, which differed from the european, traditional portrayals of the gods and goddesses. Greek mythology was also originally passed word-of-mouth, resulting in a number of versions of one myth. Since that time, there have been countless artistic and literature adaptations of these stories, which allows for a lot of creative liberty to explore a unique portrayal of the characters.
With each character, I started off with quick pencil sketches on a white piece of paper before transferring it to digital on Photoshop.
Afterwards, I sketched over the top of the traditional sketch to correct any anatomical issues and add details. Then, I line the illustration with a pencil brush. The next step is colouring and shading to finish.
In addition, below is an in-depth presentation outlining my specific inspirations, focus of the cards as well as some tarot card references.