There's plenty of pondering, studying and looking for source material for a painting. That is especially so when dealing with the subject of Tarot Cards. They come with a long history, plenty of symbolism, myth and metaphor. We try to absorb as much of that as possible before beginning our concept and sketches.
We wanted our Magician to embody not only the mystical mage of the RWS tarot, but also the trickster of the Marseille.
Here's a sampling of the images we put together to base our card on, from sources from art history such as Vermeer, Rembrandt and Remedios Varo (check her out, amazing female Surreal artist), old maps and Jung's map of the psyche, Houdini and and elephant, solar flares, to some of our own past work and one really cool photo of Jimmy Page in a dragon suit.
Here's our first rudimentary sketch and underpainting:
We always find the process behind a piece of art, to be really magical, the combination of inspirations, collaborations, stream of consciousness and the delicate balance of careful composition and breaking the rules.