Green Witch Tarot: Queen of Athames

Disclaimer for new readers: Welcome! I am in the process of illustrating a full tarot deck for Llewellyn Worldwide, the artwork has been shared here with permission from the editor. There is no release date yet for the deck, but it should be sometime in 2015. It will be a full 78 card deck with no borders. The author behind the project is Ann Moura, who is widely known for her Green Witch books.

Sketches for the Green Witch Tarot Queen Cards

Sketches for the Green Witch Tarot Queen Cards

Rider-Waite Tarot: Queen of Swords

Rider-Waite Tarot: Queen of Swords

For the month of May I have been working on the illustrations for the Green Witch Tarot Queen cards. Above you see the rough sketches for each of the Queens. From left to right it is: The Queen of Athames, The Queen of Wands, The Queen of Pentacles and lastly the Queen of Chalices.

Which one do you think looks the most promising? Let me know in the comments and I might just share the final illustration for that one next!

All of the Queen cards have been completed at this point but I wanted to share one in particular with you – The Queen of Athames. In traditional tarot she is known as The Queen of Swords. In the Green Witch Tarot all the Sword cards are named Athame instead.

One of the challenges of being an illustrator is that there will be times where you have to draw your clients vision, not your own. This can be difficult but it is an essential part of the job. In this case the author had a specific vision in mind for the Queen of Athames and I had difficulties translating it. The first final I sent showed the Queen as being a very young and red headed person, I had missed the mention in the art order that the Queens were to be more matronly, wise women which makes sense.

We went through four revision of the Queen in various age stages (the #4 looking too old) before I finally managed to hit the mark, much to the relief of both myself and the author.

Tarot card illustration of a matronly lonely woman standing by a table and cutting stems of irises.

Four different versions of the ‘Final’ illustration that were not approved due to the Queen’s appearance not being what we were looking for.

The funny thing about revisions is the final result you end up with, is in 9 out of 10 cases much better than your initial version. You end up ironing out the kinks and the illustration is stronger for it. I have to admit I was really fond of the appearance of the first final I sent in, but I can see how the final we settled on was more fit for the deck:

Tarot card illustration of a matronly lonely woman standing by a table and cutting stems of irises.

The final approved illustration for the Queen of Athames.

Lastly I have again compiled an animated gif of the full illustration process so you can get a look into how it all came to be. I paint my illustrations digitally in Photoshop with a Wacom Intous 5 tablet. If you aren’t familiar with what digital painting is, here’s a blog post I wrote on the matter: [CLICK TO READ – What is Digital Painting?]

Tarot card illustration of a matronly lonely woman standing by a table and cutting stems of irises.

The illustration process.

Thank you for reading, I hope you enjoyed this little look into my illustration process. As always I’d love to hear from you, so please leave a comment. If you like the artwork I would also like to encourage you to share it with your friends.

To view all cards posted on the blog so far, please click here: Green Witch Tarot

Llewellyn Publishing
Ann Moura

Kiri Østergaard Leonard

Award winning Illustrator, Artist and Creator Kiri Østergaard Leonard happily shares her experiences making a living as an artist and pursuing a creative life. She grew up in a tiny village in Denmark, left her country behind to pursue art in the bustle of New York City and now resides in the delightful weirdness of Austin, Texas surrounded by sunshine and felines.

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