Weekly Update 3-19-18 | Tarot Art, Watercolor Supplies, and Starting-Over Syndrome

[Pictured: My workspace, a small-ish blue desk with piles of sketchbooks, a cup of tea, various jars for ink and water, piles of watercolor paints, and the original of my Ace of Cups illustration for The Julian Tarot.]

Hey guys! It’s been a while. Sorry for radio silence…I’ve been painting. 🙂

Yes, painting. A LOT of painting. I never thought I’d be a painter, but nowadays, watercolor is my medium of choice when it comes to color media. I’m just nuts about it. I feel like I could study watercolor forever and never finish learning, and I LOVE that. I don’t actually like the idea of mastering a skill, because that would imply that there’s nothing left to learn. I don’t want to ever get to a point – with art, with Tarot, with whatever – where there’s nothing left to learn.

My love of watercolor, though, is part of what’s kept me stalling and in starting-over mode with my Tarot deck project. I’ve been insisting that I don’t have “the right watercolor supplies” to do it, so at first I attempted to do it in colored pencil. Just didn’t vibe for me, even though I tried two different brands. I briefly considered marker – after all, I own about 300 art markers – but decided that if I was going to do this, I was going to go all the way. I needed to do watercolor.

But sadly my collection of watercolor supplies is…well, sad. A few low-end brushes, a couple of pads of Canson XL watercolor paper, and the paints are…$15-for-24-tubes craft level stuff. Not quite “cake watercolors” (the chalky, circles-in-a-tray ones we remember for grade school), but still certainly not “real watercolors.”

I insisted, for weeks, that I HAD to have Holbein or Shinhan or even Winsor & Newton Professional paints in order to do this project AT ALL. I put my artsy little foot down and said “no, I am going to refuse to do any of my Tarot illustrations, until I have in my hands a shiny new set of Real Watercolors.”

But while I maintain that it might turn out differently with one of those brands, I’m realizing that maybe, just maybe, Artist’s Loft watercolors ain’t so bad. Or maybe they are – but it’s okay. I’m getting some fabulous results just by working creatively and working with what I have rather than fussing about what I don’t.

Because really, I’d be hitting bumps in the road no matter what supplies I theoretically had. I could be painting with Schmincke watercolors on Arches and I’d still end up adding the wrong kind of purple to the wrong kind of pink, and getting a really ugly maroon instead of a lovely ruby red…

My point is that in the end, to an extent, it doesn’t matter what tools I have. What I have is good enough to at least get started, and that’s all I need to do right now. I still plan to get some nicer watercolor paints at some point, but for right now and the foreseeable future, I’m actually content with my current setup and array of tools. So for now I’ll be saving my money and will spend my art budget on something good when it comes along. 🙂

Anyway, now that I’m getting myself to actually work on them, I’ll be posting at least 3 or 4 Tarot cards a week, for the next four months or so. I still plan to do weekly updates, and they’ll feature the images, but I’ll be posting the images themselves as I finish them, over on the section for The Julian Tarot. As I’ve stated before, this deck will likely not be available until next year (2019), but you can certainly follow its progress here and at its special little Instagram page, http://www.instagram.com/thejuliantarot. Information on ordering will come in the winter.

I’m looking forward to this project. It’s a big one, and it’s going to take a lot more commitment than my previous ones (drawing a 30-page black and white comic is a bit different from doing 78 full-on watercolor paintings!), but it’s going to teach me a lot. And hey, these days if you’re in the Tarot world, you have to make a Tarot deck. It’s the rule! (Kidding, though sometimes it does seem like there IS such a rule…)

One card down, 78 to go.

Yep, you heard me. 79 cards.

It’s a surprise. 😉

~Julian

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