Amanda Palmer Tarot- The Seven of Wands

Some of you may have already heard about the Amanda Palmer Tarot Deck, it has been in the works for years now. Now the deck is finally going to see the light of day and I can share what I did for it! Thanks in large to Madeline Carol Matz, who started rallying the 78 or so amazing artists in earnest (no easy task!) and organized a kickstarter to get it properly off the ground, this deck is now happening in a big way! There are still a few weeks to get your own deck, so check it out and help us exceed our goal even more. The more this gets funded, the more the artists get paid!

The initial instruction way back when this assignment was first given was to base the card off a particular song. I always loved  Astronaut, from her Who Killed Amanda Palmer series and when I read the description of what the Seven of Wands stood for, it seemed a perfect match. For me, this song was about the people who are simply destined for greater things. You've met them.They have a little extra spark, they don't seem to have any fear and don't worry about failure. They are the mad geniuses who come along and shake up their corner of the world. The Prometheuses, the  Übermensches. These are the people who make a lot of sacrifices and may give up a little of that human connection because they are so focused on doing something a little bit larger than life. They are magical and terrifying and we flock to them like moths to a flame.  Astronaut is the the song of the Moth.

I wanted my image to embody to that very human desire to steal fire from the gods.  While everyone has some capacity for this,  I think this is something especially familiar to artists. The creative struggle is long and hard and full of obstacles. Whether it's the people around us who are standing in our way  or own personal demons, it is an unending battle. But it's a battle worth fighting if, even for a moment, we get to touch a little fire.

Seven of Wands from the Rider-Waite Tarot deck
From the Wiki page for the card : "The Seven of Wands is a card that when upright, means a testing time calling for courage and tenacity for long-term success. In the Rider-Waite deck, the person braces themselves in a defensive pose against the other wands prodding in his direction. Looking strained and stressed, but standing firm, he appears to stand on a hill, or straddle a mountain range, to symbolise his strong footing. The Seven of Wands defender stands ready for battle. It is about defending the footing gained. It is the ability to cultivate the struggles at hand into a stronger position. He stands alone against a multitude, but perseveres. It is he alone who maintains the fight and is not beaten."

music and lyrics by Amanda Palmer

Is it enough to have some love
Small enough to slip inside a book.
Small enough to cover with your hand
Because everyone around you wants to look

Is it enough to have some love
Small enough to fit inside the cracks
The pieces don't fit together so good
With all the breaking and all the gluing back

And I am still not getting what I want
I want to touch the back of your right arm
I wish you could remind me who I was
Because every day I'm a little further off

But you are, my love, the astronaut
Flying in the face of science
I will gladly stay an afterthought
Just bring back some nice reminders

And is it getting harder to pretend
That life goes on without you in the wake?
And can you see the means without the end
In the random frantic action that we take?

And is it getting easy not to care
Despite the many rings around your name
It isn't funny and it isn't fair
You've traveled all this way and it's the same

But you are, my love, the astronaut
Flying in the face of science
I will gladly stay an afterthought
Just bring back some nice reminders

I would tell them anything to see you split the evening
But as you see I do not have an awful lot to tell
Everybody's sick for something that they can find fascinating
Everyone but you and even you aren't feeling well

Yes you are, my love, the astronaut
Crashing in the name of science
Just my luck they found your upper half
It's a very nice reminder
It's a very nice reminder

And you may be acquainted with the night
But I have seen the darkness in the day
And you must know it is a terrifying sight
Because you and I are living the same way

Amanda Palmer Tarot: Seven of Wands

And here is a teaser for my final piece for the Amanda Palmer Tarot deck: The Seven of Wands. The most challenging part of this project was combining my vision of what the card meant to me with Amanda’s music. I knew that I wanted to use “Astronaut” as my basis but do it from the perspective of the person flying in the face of science, not the one left behind. I went through pages and pages of thumbnails before finding one that felt right and after shooting reference, began a charcoal drawing. I was still finding difficulty in placing imagery from the song in my drawing that would marry the concept with the card, until a random smudge in the charcoal put in my mind the milky way swirling around this larger than universes figure and suddenly everything started working. Another smudge on the rod in her hand made it burst into flame and suddenly echoes of Prometheus tied the whole piece together. From that point the drawing basically finished itself. I started laying down oil paint up to a certain point and finished digitally. Now I look at this piece and see a universal figure overcoming a universe in her way to achieve her goals. To me it is an image of perseverance, courage and inspiration and I can only hope others might look at it and feel the same.

More Amanda Palmer, Queens and faces

Ok, ok. So it's definitely been too long since my last post. I will try to make this one count! I've been doing a lot of work for Shadowrun, none of which I can show you of course. But I can show you some of the side projects I've been working on in between.

First off a couple more tiny portraits. Here are Mark and Valya:

These two were a lovely couple and I really enjoyed working from several pictures of their beautiful family. I tried to capture the most striking emotion that both portrayed in their images. Mark definitely struck me as a thoughtful, far-looking person and Valya had a smile that I knew would be infectious in person.

Next is a little private commission work in progress I've been on for a bit. The Queen of Hearts:

Pencil and watercolor.

And finally, the piece I have been working on for the Amanda Palmer Tarot deck. The Seven of Wands with inspiration drawn from Amanda's song, "Astronaut":

I really do love working in charcoal. The flexibility and texture allow for so many happy accidents. Such as a random accidental brush turning into the milky way wrapping around a figure.

Portraits! Get your Portraits! Tiny, adorable Portraits!

So I've been teasing a few of you the last couple days about my new project that I'm hoping will excite people and maybe evolve into something really fun. SDCC was a great experience, as always and one I wouldn't give up for the world. Alas, it has left my funds dreadfully depleted and so I am trying to be creative instead of , you know, panicking or holding up the local coffee shop. (Guerilla coffee- your time is coming. All you hipster bloggers with teeny laptops should fear)

Here's how it starts:

Some heads inspired by some favorite faces from films:

Getting a little creative with some. First guy based on Rufus Sewell needed some wind. And Amanda Palmer's cool hair made me just want to make it bigger, until she became a sexy gorgon. Perhaps Medusa killed Amanda Palmer?

Then I worked on some of my friends. The top two are the amazingly talented Kurt and Zelda of Teetering Bulb and the bottom two are Gregory Manchess and Michael Kaluta- two amazing and generous artists and friends. I really went for likeness/personality in these and am quite happy with the results!

All of these are 3 inches by 3 inches on Canson watercolor paper.

So here's what is going to happen. I am going to keep making portraits and I am going to offer them at the amazing price of $25 each, plus $2 for shipping anywhere in the US. That is an original work of art for only $27! Holy cow! Not only that, but I will sign and title each and maybe even write something fun on the back just for you as a surprise.

But wait there's more.

Are you looking at these and thinking, well these are nice enough and all- but I don't really know any of these people? Well how about an original made to order? That's right- I am also taking requests. Send me a decent photo of someone. Anyone. And I will paint it up for you. Same price. You can even pick favorite colors if you want. Now there's a birthday present that will make people talk! Order in the next few days, and I will have your painting done and in the mail within a week.

Email me to start your own collection of Carroll originals or with any questions at Kristina (at)