Fool Sketches

I've sketched the three Fool cards that I have on hand as a way of closely examining them and comparing their iconography.


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Rider Waite - The Rennaisance Fop

A very classical card. Well drawn and well observed figures. Heavy lines, perhaps for the reproduction technology of its time, giving it an earthy aged feel. 

A youth on his way out into the world. Standing on a cliff's edge with the ocean behind. The sun is in the sky and the number 0 floats freely. The pattern on his flowing clothes suggests the sun as well. He is accompanied by a small excited dog. In one hand a flower and over his shoulder he carries his bundle of possessions.  There are stong diagonal lines in the waves and the stick that give an open composition. The feather in his cap and the flow of his clothing suggest motion.

Garner Dean - The Newsprint Jester

A modern interpretation of a classical style. Watercolours and inks with some collage. The figure is cartoonish but sharp edged. 

He is in full medival court jester costume with bells on his hat an shoes. He is more stylised and is textured with fragments of text. I can read the word 'changeable'. He carries a bigger flower but more casually. It is mirrored by a butterfly.  Again he travels left towards the open road but is stepping off a cliff. His dog bites at his ankle. The card detail (numbers and titles are strongly boxed in while the illustration itself has no boundary. 

Thoth - Crowley's Demons

This is a much more deliberately designed card. It is bursting with symbols all tied together by a swirling transparent loop.  

The Fool, here, stares straight out of the card. The sun shines out of his crotch and he has the horned hat but it makes him look like a devil, not a joker. His eyes are wide and he grins madly with fire in one hand and a diamond in the other. It is not a dog but a tiger that bites his leg and a dove pursues the butterfly around the swooping loops that make up an large 0. There is an alligator below him. Perhaps that is peril replacing the cliff. Behind him is a bunch of grapes and  a pile of discs or coins with zodiac symbols on them. Flowers in this case come in a three way bunch between his legs. Below that are two entwined cherub/babies. 

I don't know if the framing of the card is part of the original design or added for this edition. Included with the name of the fool are the Hebrew letter Aleph and the alchemical triangle symbolising air. 

My Takeaways

I like the directional and open styles. I think the companion should be a puppy and biting the ankle is a very puppy thing to do. I prefer the Rider Waite style of holding the flower because it reminds me of Delirium from The Sandman comics. I'd like my card to be very open and readable. The card business I want to reflect standard playing cards. Thinking about it I want the Fool to be travelling left to right because that seems to lead more to the future and the cards that will come after it.