Create an original tarot card
Discover new experimental approaches to personal projects and telling stories, as Sam Guay paints The Emperor card for the Blood Moon Tarot
Discover new approaches to personal projects and telling stories, with Sam Guay.
When I received my first tarot deck, I was enchanted by the beautiful artwork and the stories that accompanied every card. It became a source of inspiration for me: it could be used to explore life’s experiences, to interpret dreams, or to randomly generate ideas for characters and stories.
It was a goal of mine to create my own deck. Many years later I began the long journey of creating the Blood Moon Tarot, and I’m in the midst of finishing the Major Arcana. The Major Arcana are the iconic cards such as Death and The Fool.
The concept attached to each card is an integral part of the tarot. I find that many decks stick close to the imagery found in the familiar WaiteSmith Tarot, but for my own deck I wanted to explore the meaning of each card, relate the meaning to my own experiences, and then use my experience to create my own symbols and a unique view of the card.
For this workshop I’ll be painting The Emperor. My interpretation of the card is of foundation, plans, and protection. He’s a solid oak tree growing in the forest: difficult to sway, impossible to move, but a fortress for thousands of creatures that he shelters with strong limbs and tough bark. Each year when autumn turns he lays plans for other leafy strongholds and tucks them away beneath the shells of many acorns.
I’ll walk you through the steps I take to create the card art. Tarot decks can vary in size; for my own I chose to stick with typical tarot card dimensions – about 3x5 inches. Though I primarily work in watercolour, you’ll see that sometimes I incorporate acryla-gouache, ink and crayons. Each card is a new problem to solve, and by staying open to a variety of solutions I’ve discovered new mediums and techniques during the creation of the deck. Lurking in the gloomy forests of New England, Sam pursued art and storytelling to document her travels in the dream lands. You can see other examples of her work at www.samguay.com.
Original tarot card