The Artist's Concept
By chance, I had already been designed a 'Fool' card for a personal deck that I decided not to carry on designing. However, I also feel a personal attachment to this card; its stance that the future is undecided, and its quest for independence reflect my own hopeful romantic streak, but the card can still be seen as having a pragmatic message... What you work for, you get.
I think that the Fool card often shows the tone of the rest of the deck quite well. It can be used to criticize or compliment the designer's view of the state of the human soul, either positive or negative; and can place more or less importance on free thought and exploration of the physical and metaphysical environment. I tend to feel less comfortable with decks where the Fool feels like a more negative card.
The most obvious feature of the illustration is its scale and scope, and the relative smallness of the traveler him/herself. They have already seemed to take that first step upon the path they face. Although they may not yet have decided to carry on along that path, the subconscious urge to step aside from the main route is already strong in them.
In contrast, however, the other traveler, robed and cowled, blinkered to their options, has walked on without stopping to consider their options. Although in their defense, they have prepared well, and wisely take all they need to travel their path, their devotion to habit and tradition has restricted them. The Traveler may be idealistic, walking towards the sun, but their willpower in choosing the path conquers their fear of the dark and oppressive forests to either side. In addition, their choice of path has left their shadow following behind and out of sight, freeing them of the burden of walking against it for the rest of their journey, or having it trail tantalizingly and distracting on the edge of vision.
Without the burden of shadows or of bringing too much of their past with them in a sack, the traveler truly has the chance to find a new beginning and grow freely. At closer inspection, however, the evergreen pine trees mark a path that is vibrant in colour and life all year round, and in the distance, the trees give way to open grassland.
On the other hand, however wonderful the rewards of reaching the destination may be, the journey itself has lessons to teach. Within sight lie obstacles, represented by the fallen tree, and the shadow of a river valley implies mysterious problems that the traveler may find with or without a bridge when they come to them. By the nature of the path, it disappears from sight quickly, unlike the wide, straight paths leading in other directions.
Finally, although ill prepared and naive, the traveler can brighten up the path they travel on, represented by the bright clothes worn by the figure, rather than the usual drab travel gear.
As can be seen by my choice of imagery, I feel this card represents finding new paths and new beginnings, and opening up to what the world can teach you. This can obviously entail risk, but must be seen in a hopeful or inevitably fail and create the problems feared.
As a reversal, it must be remembered that there are TWO human figures on the card, and the reading could well represent either.
Created primarily using watercolour paint on sketchbook paper, although colour pencils were used to add shading and further depth. Dimensions: 29.4cm x 20.7cm
Go back to the project index, read the traditional card meaning, or get a free tarot reading with this deck.