This post is long-overdue, but I made a point to do it, better late than never.
For our KKG recruitment bid day, the theme was “Bohemian tea party,” and I received a special request for some Kappa themed tarot cards. Tarot cards are an intricate set, which special roles and meanings for each card, so I had to take a scaled down approach. The cards I made cannot be “read,” and they don’t really have accompanying meanings for each image. Instead I tried to emulate the look and feel of tarot card images.
The main KKG symbols are the owl, the key, and the fleur-de-lis. But we also have other symbols, like the iris and the sapphire. I used these and the Greek letters, including my own chapter’s Zeta Pi. Then I went a step further, using a little creative license to come up with some more. For example, the keyhole came from the key, and the feather stems from the owl. The fleur-de-lis is a mythical flower, but said to be a stylized version of the lily, so I made one of those. So I stretched the limits of our symbols to get a substantial body of cards. (Only just now did I realize I forgot to make one of the iris.)
To create each card I used simple 3×5 blank (on both sides) index cards. You can get these very cheap, maybe a pack for a dollar. I then took a handful and trimmed the corners off of each one, cutting them into rounded corners.
I unified the images by having a blue cool-tone color theme. I also used the same watercolor and salt technique for the backgrounds of all the cards. I quickly did random washes with different shades of blue and violet stippled onto the wet surface, followed by a sprinkling of table salt. It’s a very unpredictable method, but very rewarding when it produces lovely results. In addition to using table salt, I also added extra drips of water on some of the cards, while on others I used paper towels to dab the washes and selectively remove color. All of the methods combined creates the feeling of marble. It also reminds me of the look of a watercolor artist I greatly admire, Stephanie Pui-Mun Law.
This project was done under a time crunch, so I purposely didn’t spend too long on each card. I tried to adapt a rapid assembly line creation process. The drawings had to be simple yet elegant. I used a lot of gold paint as well as some glitter to accent the cards. As mentioned before, my primary medium was watercolors, but I also used black Staedtler pens to outline things. I used a little bit of white crayon in some areas, to repel the watercolor washes.
While I was on a schedule to create these, I am really glad I took the project on. Putting my perfectionistic tendencies aside and trying to adopt a more rapid and random technique was actually pretty fun. The final deck of cards are pretty to look at and make a nice collection mounted together on the wall.