Merfolk Tarot Card Design

For May's Make Art that Sells Bootcamp, we were given the assignment of illustrating a Tarot card.  I'll admit, that when I first read the assignment I wasn't very excited at all.  I know lots of people love them, but I was never very interested in Tarot at all.  We were assigned a specific Tarot card to illustrate, based on our birthdays.  As a Gemini, I was assigned "The Lovers". I avoided starting the assignment for a while then half-heartedly played around with a few ideas, all of which were scrapped. A few days before the assignment was due, I got the idea for my lovers to be a merfolk couple.  Once I got that idea, the illustration came together very quickly.

I started by sketching my design in pencil and then roughly colored it in, to see what colors I would use for the final version.  I tend to want to use every color of the rainbow, in an illustration, but for this I wanted to keep the palette somewhat limited and slightly subdued.  I've always liked the look of old-school nautical tattoo art, so the style of their faces, ribbon and text are all a nod to that work.  

After I had everything planned out, I inked the final version of the illustration, using a fine-tipped marker. I also knew that I wanted to have a pattern of seashells on the back of my card, so drew and outlined a number of different seashells for that as well.  

I scanned both drawings and brought them into Photoshop. Once there, I started to add color, shading and texture.  To continue on my subtle homage to tattoo art, I gave my merman a few nautical tattoos.  

So, after dragging my feet on this project, I actually enjoyed it in the end.  I think it would be an interesting task to illustrate an entire tarot deck, with this ocean theme.  Since there are 78 cards in a deck, this might take a while.  If you are interested in seeing the full gallery from the class, go here.