We have so much talent in the Supernatural fandom. People who draw, edit photos and videos, write fanfics, work on costumes or props, make jewelry, and more. So it’s time to share some of the talent with the fandom and ask the people behind the ART some questions.
This time I am introducing to you Britanee, the artist behind the Supernatural tarot cards.
My first questions are about Supernatural.
How and when did you become a fan of Supernatural?
I'd heard of the show before, but it came out while I was in high school and college. I didn't watch much TV in those days due to studying. Several months ago, I was scrolling through Netflix and thought I'd give it a try. I loved season one and two but wasn't able to watch more due to moving from Ohio to Nevada. Once I was set up in my new home I binged the rest of the series. I fell so quickly for all the characters and within a two-and-a-half-month period had watched all the episodes. I'm super new to the Supernatural fandom, but it's been amazing. Everyone in the SPN fandom is incredibly kind and supportive.
What does the Supernatural fandom mean to you?
Being new to the fandom, my experience is limited, but it has been incredible. To me, the Supernatural fandom means family, spreading kindness and support to one another, all while obsessing over our favorite characters and episodes. When I posted my first fanart piece of Jensen Ackles a few months back, I had no clue what it meant to be in a fandom. I thought it would be a group of people chatting about how awesome Supernatural is, but I learned it's so much more and I look forward to making new friendships with the people in the fandom.
Now let’s talk about you, your art, and the awesome tarot cards you’ve created.
How and when did you start drawing, both by hand and digitally?
I've been drawing since the day I could hold a pencil. I know that sounds so cliché, but it's true. I'm newer to digital drawing. I started in college out of necessity and at first didn't like it at all. It was hard for me to wrap my head around drawing on a tablet, and looking at the screen, not at a pencil to see what I was drawing. I was terrified of it and after college I rarely drew digitally. In 2016, I was bored with painting in oils. I decided to face my fear and draw digitally, and after several less-than-desirable drawings I got the hang of it. I love how much more adventursome and experimental I can be with digital art. With traditional art, it can be scary to try a different technique or color combo. You can spend hours on something and in an instant, it's ruined. With digital I never lose my line work and if I don't like something I tried, I can undo it.
When did you get the idea for the tarot cards? Was there an initial thought or moment?
The idea popped in my head, like most of my ideas do, while I was trying to sleep one night. I thought, "I love tarot, I love Supernatural, why not combine them?" The two seemed meant to be together.
Do you use tarot cards yourself?
I do! I use both tarot and oracle cards. I've been doing readings for myself for about 2 years now, and every once in a while, I'll do one for close friends.
Can you explain how/why you choose the characters for each card?
Choosing who to put on each card is honestly the hardest part. It takes a lot of research into the card's meaning and then pairing the character that fits with that meaning. It's tough because we all relate to the characters of Supernatural differently. We look at the series/characters through our own eyes and relate to them differently based on our own life experiences. Sure, there are facts about each character but I believe we all bring a piece of ourselves while viewing anything, whether it be art, music, writing, movies, etc. A good example is my interpretation of the Lovers card. I changed it to the brothers because I personally felt there wasn't a strong portrayal of romantic love in the series. In the original Rider Waite deck, the Lovers card shows Adam and Eve with an angel in the sky above them. To me, it felt natural to put Sam and Dean on the ground with Castiel guarding them above. Others viewing the card have been either excited or upset by the fact that Castiel was included in the brothers’ card. This is what's so beautiful about it though. We all have different feelings about the characters and how they relate to one another in addition to how we, the viewer, relate to them.
The choices for several of the cards are obvious, but less so for others. Can you explain The Empress card?
That is Mary Winchester. If you look at her clothing, it is the same nightgown Mary wore the night she found Azazel in Sam’s nursery. Many people have pointed out the family resemblance with Dean in this drawing.
Why did you choose Dean as The Magician?
I chose Dean as The Magician because the tarot card’s meaning seemed to fit him. Right side up it means power, concentration, action, and resourcefulness. Dean is all of these things. I chose him with the First Blade because compositionally it worked well with the original Rider Waite imagery which I've based this deck off of. Also, it added a layer of meaning that correlated well with the card’s upside-down meaning, which is manipulative and poor planning.
I love the drawing on “The Fool” card but am a little concerned about its implication. I understand there's a greater meaning to this card in a tarot deck? Fabulous drawing of the dog by the way!
I too was worried that people would take this the wrong way. The Fool card has nothing to do with being silly, foolish, or uneducated. It's one of the most desired cards in tarot and I wanted to honor that. The Fool card represents a man jumping fearlessly into his new life. The dog is his protector and guide. It is a card of new beginnings and Sam has had many of those - like when he chose to go to Stanford, or when he chose to leave Stanford and go hunting with Dean, or when he chose to start a new life in the flashbacks of season 8, and then again when he leaves in season 8 to rejoin Dean. The list goes on and on. The card's number is zero which represents unlimited potential. So really this card’s name is misleading. Because it talks of a man who is brave, fearless, and has unlimited potential, and I felt that described Sam Winchester well. To choose someone “silly” to put on this card would have changed the entire meaning.
Is that Gabriel on the Wheel of Fortune card?
They are all Gabriel. It seemed like it would fit his humor to have his face appear on everything.
The Sun is a fabulous card for Charlie! What is the meaning behind the sunflowers, the horse, and the character you chose?
She seemed like a wonderful fit for The Sun card. It means fun, warmth, success, and positivity. I think all these words describe Charlie's personality well. In tarot, each card is layered with symbolism in its imagery, and I believe it's important—and my responsibility—to maintain the symbolism as much as possible. The white horse represents strength and purity. The sunflowers represent life and how spirit flourishes under the sun.
Am I right that Sam and Adam are on the top of The Judgment card? What does the scene on the card mean?
That is Sam and Adam. The original Judgment card shows a large angel (the Archangel Gabriel to be exact) blowing a trumpet over several people while a giant wave comes crashing towards them. I also saw the imagery as Judgment Day/the end of times so it personally seemed fitting to have the scene from the last episode of season five, which is Judgment Day in the Supernatural universe.
I saw that you already made 22 tarot cards. That means the card set is finished, right?
I have completed 22 cards, which means the Major Arcana is done. Originally, I planned to stop there but so many people have shown interest in seeing the Minor Arcana as well. That's 4 suits of 14 cards! I have my work cut out for me but I'm so excited to draw more characters from Supernatural.
I am also for a Minor Arcana because I’d love to see more tarot cards. What are your 3 favorite tarot cards so far? Can you even choose?
My personal favorites are the Strength and Judgement cards. They were really fun to do compositionally. My third favorite is probably the High Priestess card for a couple of reasons.
One, it's my favorite in other tarot decks - it's just a card that really speaks to me - and two, it was the first card that a cast member of Supernatural noticed. It might sound silly but I almost cried when I saw that Ruth Connell retweeted it. The fact that a cast member likes a drawing you did of them is just so exciting to me. I'm always second-guessing and, like many artists, have self-doubt. Her posting melted my doubt on whether or not I was any good. A lot of the Supernatural fandom has helped me with that too! I honestly can't thank everyone enough for their encouragement.
Is there a plan to make a tarot card set that people can buy?
I would LOVE to make them available for purchase. So many wonderful people have contacted me expressing interest. I'm currently trying to find ways to sell them legally, whether that be to obtain licensing on my own (still trying to figure out how to do this) or selling the designs to a company that can distribute them. I've reached out to a few sources with little luck but there a still many avenues I haven't explored. I've just started researching this, and I'm determined to make this deck a reality. If anyone has suggestions, I'm open to them.
I checked your website and I really like your digital artwork. The ones of Sam, Dean, Cas, and Jack are amazing. Do you plan on making more Supernatural-related ones?
Absolutely! I have so many ideas for more Supernatural art.
I saw the dogs and cats you draw as well. Do you have a pet? Maybe with the name of a Supernatural character?
I have a black cat named Pepper. She's named after Pepper Potts from Iron Man and not the spice. I've been begging my husband to get either another cat or dog. Whenever I do get a new pet, I'd love to name them after a Supernatural character/cast member. How cute would it be to have a kitty named Misha or a Corgi named Cas? <3
You also share traditional art, photography, and more. Please tell us more about it.
As an artist, I'm always evolving and have a hard time sticking to one medium. This always drove my college professors nuts because they wanted me to have a “niche”. This caused a lot of heartache, tears, and frustration on my part. Now that I've been out of college for a number of years, I've accepted the fact that I do what I love, whether it be an oil painting, pencil drawing, digital piece, or whatever. I even write for fun, though I'm terrible at it and never share what I write. Portrait photography was something I used to do for fun; I still photograph for reference when I can. I plan on doing Inktober again this year. It's always fun to stretch my traditional art muscles.
Some artists are open for commissions, what about you? Is your art available to buy?
Currently I'm not taking commissions due to the amount of time I have dedicated to the tarot project. I do open my Etsy shop every once in a while, but that is also closed at this time.
You won the t-shirt contest put on by Alaina Huffman. Congrats on that. Amazing design. Can you tell me more about why you made that design?
When I think of Alaina Huffman I think about a strong female that we all can look up to. She has such a strong spirit and an edginess that I just love. I wanted to try and capture that and play on her character Abaddon. The design just sort of came to me one sleepless night. I was like a-ha! Let's make her an edgy Rosie the Riveter.
How do you feel now after she announced that you won?
I feel fantastic! I'm just so incredibly honored. I can't thank Alaina and Stands enough. There are so many talented people out there and I feel very lucky that my design was chosen.
What responses did/do you get?
The responses have been great. Everyone is so nice and supportive. I feel so blessed to be a part of the Supernatural fandom and I can't thank you all enough for your kindness and encouragement. You all embraced me and accepted me into the fandom so quickly. I can't say thank you enough. It really does feel like one big family, and I'm grateful to be part of the family.
What are your next projects?
Finish the Minor Arcana for the Supernatural tarot, do 31 days of ink drawings for Inktober (some might include Supernatural-themed work), and I've had this idea of doing the cast of Supernatural in witty t-shirts similar to my Castiel illustration where he's holding a coffee cup. I'm still in the process of finishing some Marvel-themed pieces as well. I'm never short on ideas, just short on time to complete them.
That’s a lot on your list. Can´t wait to see everything. Now it’s time for the question I ask everyone. If you could change only one thing in the world right now, what would it be and, if you want to explain, why?
If I could change one thing it would be to make people more tolerant of each other. There's so much hatred and it's a horrible thing that eats away at people. It's always been hard for me to wrap my head around. I love that everyone is different, that we don't all like the same things or think the same way. I also never got how people could hate someone they've never met just based on skin color, gender, sexual orientation, religion, or where they're from. So, if that could stop being a thing, that would be fantastic.
Thank you so much for your time. I am sure we will see more amazing art from you in the future.
To See the Full Deck of Tarot Cards, touch each button to move through the deck, or swipe back and forth on Touch Screens!
Please share your comments, questions and reactions below! If you want to follow Britanee, you can find her here:
Thanks for reading.
-Using Words, Telling Stories, The Writer Business-