A beautiful lion/lioness basks in the sun’s rays, its calm expression radiates gentle but tamed wildness, true and intense personal power. Here I outline the creative process I undertook to create the artwork for this Strength card (also known as Fortitude) for my Cosmic Sunbeam Tarot: a joy-filled, uplifting and whimsical deck, suitable for children and adults alike.
The meaning of the Strength card in tarot:
VIII STRENGTH – Mastering one’s emotions. Facing and overcoming inner conflict. Working in harmony with our innate wild impulses; power through balance. Gentle mastery without force. Fortitude. A balance between our logical mind and animal nature. Self understanding and self acceptance lead to the positive integration of the wild side, enhancing our innate personal power. Health, warmth and vitality.
Designing a joyful Strength card for the Cosmic Sunbeam Tarot
The Strength card is a personal favourite; my own version was one of the quicker ones to design, but I think the final version conveys the card meaning well.
As a leo rising, I found it easy to reflect on the meaning of Strength whilst designing this card. I’ve always loved lion energy – I wanted to convey this design with a calm sense of power with some joy thrown in. I thought a beautiful lion gloriously basking majestically in the beams of the sun was a perfect way to do this.
The creative process and features of the Strength tarot card design
I had outlined a basic design about a year before I created the artwork here, originally creating a rough version in my free Share the Magic mini printable tarot (which ended up being a mini rehearsal for this deck!). I reflected the original design in my new version, so they look a little similar! The main feature here is the lion’s face and mane; the mane flowing into the edges of the card to denote both majesty and wildness; yet giving a calm and serene presence. There is a wild beauty and tenderness about the animal – beauty, gentleness and strength together.
A genderless lion/ess!
I wanted to avoid using a figure (many traditional cards include a woman taming the lion) as I felt the lion on its own was enough, provided I could convey both calmness and strength co-existing in the design.
I decided this was a genderless lion, with the features of both lion and lioness – the mane reflecting both strength and feminine gentleness and softness (also the flowers bring a soft calmness like the meaning of the card); I deliberately made the face both male and female. So, for all intents and purposes, this is a lion/ess!
The strength card artwork: hope, fortitude, vitality and joy
Ultimately the card design was designed to bring joy, power and hope to the viewer – I hope you agree it succeeds?
The Cosmic Sunbeam Tarot is a whimsical deck being released via Kickstarter at some point in 2023/2024. To stay updated on release sign up here; you can also see all the card designs created so far at the same link. Thanks for looking!