King of Spades


As an entry to Playing Arts Competition, I was allocated the card of “King Of Spades”, which I had to represent. The illustration I created was done in black and white and combined traditional (pencil) with digital, linear drawing.

My inter­pre­ta­tion of the King of Spades por­trays him charg­ing into per­il, accom­pa­nied by a hawk. The bird can be tak­en as a lit­er­al com­pan­ion, hark­ing back to the medieval tra­di­tion of fal­con­ry. Equal­ly, it can be inter­pret­ed as a sym­bol of vision, atten­tion and focus. In mythol­o­gy the hawk is often used as a rep­re­sen­ta­tion of the soul: Valkyries trans­formed into hawks and car­ried the souls of fall­en war­riors from Norse bat­tle­fields to Val­hal­la. Mean­while in Ancient Egypt and Rome, the hawk was released at the death of impor­tant fig­ures to rep­re­sent the soul tran­si­tion­ing from the mun­dane into the after­life. In sum, you can view the hawk here as a spir­it ani­mal, a com­pan­ion and/or a reminder of the fragili­ty of life.

To view other submissions please visit Playing Arts website.