Friday, February 27, 2015

At Sixes and Sevens

Click on the images to enlarge.

The arrangement of cups on the right is essentially the same as how Crowley / Harris arranged them in the Thoth deck, albeit mine doesn't use quite as copious amounts of water. On the left, I started the six with a similar Thoth influence, but elected instead to arrange the cups in three-dimensional space. Jusy and Punch are looking uncommonly nostalgic in the background. 

-- Frede.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Five of Cups

Who cries over spilled milk -- or water -- anymore? Mister Punch doesn't even cry over spilled blood.

-- Frede.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Four of Cups

I couldn't help myself... there's actually a very faint suggestion of Waite-Smith in this design... ever since I came to understand the four of cups as a more or less explicit allegory of left-brain thinking and dominance at the cost of right-brain creativity, it's become one of my favorite cards, and I think I managed to express that meaning here. At least -- that was what I was trying for, within the context of trying to keep the pip cards as Marseilles / non-illustrative as possible.

-- Frede.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Monday, February 23, 2015

It's the Two of Cups --

... and as you can see, Mister P is sharing a couple of drinks with the only person he truly loves.

Again, the minors are not going to have pictographic meanings in the sense of Waite and Colman Smith, but instead will be Marseilles / Thoth - style arrangements of physical cups and swords and the like (no keywords or titles), hopefully with Mister Punch or some member of the Punch and Judy company of characters worked somehow into each design. I've got the suit of cups all "blocked out" so to speak, and just need to add the finishing touches to each card. 

-- Frede,

Saturday, February 21, 2015

The Ace of Cups

The minor arcana in Marseilles decks are very spartan; I couldn't quite go to that extreme. And so, although you will notice that there's very little in the way of Waite/Smith symbolism going on, there's more theater, so to speak, than in the typical Marseilles style, and that's the balance I'm hoping to strike throughout all of the minor cards. In a typical Marseilles deck, however, the ace of cups is colored in vivid reds, yellows, peaches and cyans... I tried coloring my Ace Cup the same way, and it came out Ugly as Sin. So I scaled it back to the gold, and just added the little touches of red, and the cyan base. The crocodile is a very popular Punch & Judy character, and cups being the suit of water, this seemed as good a place for him as any. 

-- Frede.

Friday, February 13, 2015

Hanging the Hanged Man

Ah, Civility. Mr. Hangman has come along and is very kindly offering to string up Mister Punch for his crimes. It needs to be said that this "gift" is Richly Deserved. However, Mister P. has Other Ideas... and he also has a gift -- a tarot card, no less! -- to give to the Nice Man with the Rope. 

If you've been paying attention, you know what happens next.

Suffice to say that our anti-hero never pays for his crimes. Never. Probably the only reason the Hangman is still smiling is that he hasn't looked at the card yet.

Don't feel bad for the hangman, though... he's almost certainly strung up an innocent soul or two in his long career.

I realize this isn't quite the normal message of the card (which is one of the reasons I included a conventional Marseilles-style Hanged Man in the image)... but really, what else could I do here?

Time I started thinking about the minors... which will be pip-cards in the Marseilles manner, but I do hope to work Mister Punch onto each one somewhere.

-- Frede.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Remember You Must Die

One of my sources of base illustrations is a marvelous Punch & Judy book published by McLaughlin Bros. of New York in 1900. This contains a line-art illustration of Punch running away from the Ghost, but it also contains a much better, large sized paper doll of the Ghost himself in full color. With a little digital manipulation, I removed the ghost in the first illustration and replaced him with the paper doll. I then hand-colored Mister Punch himself. Marseilles "Death" cards have heads littered on the ground, so I used the head of an old ventriloquist dummy, again digitally processed... along with an actual Mr. Death puppet from a hand-made set of Punch and Judy puppets -- you may be seeing more of these later. For a stage floor and backdrop I used the battered cabinet and face of an old grandfather clock. Here's the nice thing, for me, anyway: The clock, the Death puppet and the ventriloquist head were all a part of my mother's extensive collection of... stuff -- and the book is something that I still have from her collection.

-- Frede.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

First Among Equals

Every year the satirical magazine PUNCH would collect all its issues and bind them into a single hardcover book. I'm fortunate enough to have one of these volumes; this is the title page, and I guess you could say that its assignment to this particular card was a no-brainer.

It's a good example of the style of illustration the magazine frequently used in which the people of England were characterized as various species of animals. Very Alice in Wonderland.

Whilst coloring it, I suddenly thought: "I'd better stop now before I dick it up completely."

So there you have it.

-- Frede.

Monday, February 9, 2015

The Fool on The Hill

The base image appeared on the front cover of most every issue of the Canadian version of Punch, the British satirical magazine. With the difference that the card is now set in The Frozen North, still I was able to model this very much on the famous Pamela Colman Smith version of the card. I was even able to use the pattern of her Fool's tunic on Mr. Punch here -- Photoshop's clone brush is a wonderful thing. The clockface doubling as a sun is a device I used in my Tarot of the Zirkus M├Ągi, on my Death card; I liked it very much there, so repeated it here and you can count on seeing it again sometime in the future. The very dense illustrative style of the original drawing gave me some difficulty, as you can see. Hopefully it works in the end, though... because I'm pretty much sold on this image as my Fool for this deck.


-- Frede.

Sunday, February 1, 2015

A Damn Good Thrashing

The first of the Royal Families takes his bow. I like how this one turned out, but I really have no idea what I'm going to do with the rest of the royals....

-- Frede.