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.