78 Tarot Project – 10 Of Coins Step by Step Painting

78 Tarot is a group of 78 artists completing a tarot deck. Each artist will do one card in their own style. You can follow our progress at the 78 Tarot website or facebook page.

 Rider-Waite-Smith 10 of Coins

Rider-Waite-Smith 10 of Coins

10 of Coins

10 of Coins is about family, inheritance, tradition, material abundance, a lasting foundation, security and comfort.

When I was asked to join the project there were not many card choices left. I thought I would do one of the Coin or Pentacle cards since the Earth-based suit interested me. I quickly glanced at my book and chose between 9 and 10. Once I started researching the card and meaning I found it was not very appealing to me as it was usually depicted in the Rider-Waite Tarot, and had second thoughts about choosing that card. I disliked the jumbled mix of narrative and scene and coins strewn over the picture. The scene was hard to read and crowded.

Thumbnail Sketches

I knew I wanted to simplify it by including fewer figures and making the coin symbols part of the scene itself. My first idea was to show a parent and child instead of a large family. The coin was to be a repeating symbol or coat of arms that could be used in the background to tie into the inherited wealth and tradition idea. The mother is passing a necklace to her daughter that she received from her mother.

In the second sketch I added a statue behind the mother and daughter meant to represent an ancestor. In this way I could show the coin symbol being passed between generations. I wasn’t sure about the background yet. Perhaps it would be an leafy arch with coins designs in it.

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Further refining the thumbnails

My third thumbnail sketch became the basis for the final drawing. I brought the figures inside a solid stone arch and moved the statue to into the arch. A dog next to the mother represents fidelity.

Next I made sketches of the mother and daughter concentrating on their costumes. I chose to dress them in Italian Renaissance style dresses, which definitely bring to mind wealth and abundance.



Color Sketch

A quick digital color sketch of both compositions helped me to decide on which I wanted to continue with, and what the eventual color scheme would be.

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Once I decided on the second composition, I worked on refining the pose of the two figures.

Laying out the background arch I decided to give it an organic Art Nouveau look to tie both nature and history together into a solid stone carving. A statue based on medieval cathedral door jamb figures will be on other side of the archway. These figures are dressed in costumes from centuries earlier.

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 Coor

Coor

Color Sketch

Once I have the basic layout of the entire picture drawn I did a second color sketch. I wanted to base the top section of the art on Art and Crafts period stained glass designs with muted green and gold. For the coins, instead of literal Pentacles I drew them as ivy leaves. The ivy motif will be repeated all over the painting. At this point while I’m figuring out the coloring of the background I get a better idea of how to will draw the floor and the stone wall, as well as a walled city the distance.

Final Drawing

To make the final pencil drawing I used my light box to draw over sketches of the various elements on separate sheets in order to adjust the placement. In the final pencil drawing I made the right statue a man facing forward to break up the symmetry and drew the stones in the floor in a leaf or petal shape.

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On to painting…

Next I ink outlines on some of the main figures and archway and begin painting. After many days working…

almost done!