The Magician

Key 1

Last night I got a bee in my bonnet and began the work on Key 1, The Magician, or the Magus.

The process for the deck this time is different than it was in 1994. 15 years ago, I made a sketch of the image based on the photocopy that Laura gave me, then I went over the sketch with three different drafting pens (1mm, .75mm, and 0.5 mm). After the ink dried, I scanned the image into the computer and made a print. When all the black and white images were complete I took them to a printer and printed two copies of the deck on acid-free card stock. Then the painting began.

Now I use Photoshop and a paint tablet.

The process now is to render a sketch (graphite on paper) as complete as possible, and scan it. Then in Photoshop, the real fun begins. The painting process is much faster than it used to be. Partially because adhering to a workflow allows for quick recovery of errors, and partially because my artistic skills are refined.

Painting, whether working with physical media like acrylic paints and graphite, or with a tablet, puts me into an “alpha state.” Alpha brainwaves are characteristic of a dreamlike state very similar to the effect you feel when you are in between deep sleep and waking up. The perception of “time” is gone when you’re in Alpha. So when I began painting last night, it was 11pm. When I next checked the clock, it was 7am.

In the middle of working, I had a clear realization of color. One little trick while working on one of the Photoshop layers sparked a revelation — I learned more about color in that one flash than I’ve ever conceived before. After 20+ years of studying color, from color theory to optics to cognitive development in the visual cortex, one moment changed all my previous perceptions. It was cool.

Here’s a rough version after last night’s session.

Key 1 of the Tarot

Key 1 of the Tarot


Let me know what you think.



~ by Jonathan Pierce on April 4, 2009.

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