Archive for the ‘Horoscopes’ Category

One of my initial ideas which I worked on in my sketch book was depicting the signs of the traditional zodiac through female figures, but after researching both the traditional and the celtic representations of horoscopes and zodiac signs I decided to move away from the traditional zodiac and produce my own unique illustrations for zodiac signs which are an interconnected combination of the celtic birth signs, the celtic tree zodiac and the traditional zodiac for the different astrological periods ( although the dates did not correspond totally and I had to allow some overlapping ).
I produced a series of rough sketches for each of these, and then selected one to illustrate graphically. I chose to graphically illustrate the sign which represented my own birthdate, the Cwn Annan, the Ash tree and Pisces. I chose to keep the design simple, and to use just a few colours to keep the design dramatic and eye-catching.

Initial sketch of the dog and the fish to represent the cwn annan and pisces

The same sketch, produced using Photoshop, and coloured with two shades of purple. A background of Ash leaves was incorporated into the design to represent the celtic tree zodiac.

The finished illustration with the addition of the colour for the dog and the fish.

Overall I was happy with the finished product as I felt it effectively represented the idea I was trying to convey, the inter-related and connected nature of astrology. The simplicity and strength of the design was what I was aiming for, and I feel that this would work well as a series of astrological symbols in a magazine. I also feel that by moving away from the traditional zodiac my illustration is an original and unique interpretation of the horoscope theme.

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After looking at the traditional signs of the zodiac I decided to research the zodiac signs associated with the celtic culture. In Celtic astrology, the zodiac is based on the trees that the Druids held sacred. It was believed that the trees themselves expressed personal characteristics that could then be associated with particular months of the year. This was done by connecting the tree to a lunar month through the use of the consonants in the Celtic alphabet. 13 of the consonants form the calendar of seasonal magic, and the 5 vowels represent complementary seasonal stations.
The Celtic zodiac is based on the thirteen-month lunar calendar. English writer and scholar Robert Graves first outlined the 13 tree signs in his essay The White Goddess. Graves’s interpretation is based on his lifelong study of Celtic myths. He connected each lunar month to the Celtic tree alphabet, which has thirteen consonants.

The Druids believed that the spoken word had tremendous power, and that uttering a particular consonant could summon the particular tree spirit with which it was associated. And so, each Celtic sign is also associated with a letter of the Ogham alphabet. The Ogham is a mysterious shamanic alphabet, believed to have been created by the Celtic god of poetry Ogma.

The beauty of Celtic Astrology is that it takes its cues from nature. The Druids believed that nature was in constant communication with humans, warning them of disaster and pointing them toward success. That’s why each sign is linked not only to a tree, but to particular colors, gemstones, plants, animals and celestial bodies. By drawing on the wisdom of your Celtic talismans, you can forge a bond with nature that is both illuminating and empowering.

The zodiac signs of the celtic tree zodiac are Birch( the achiever ) , Rowan ( the thinker ), Ash (the enchanter ), Alder ( the trailblazer ), Willow ( the observer ), Hawthorn ( the illusionist ), Oak ( the stabiliser ), Holly ( the ruler ), Hazel ( the knower ) Vine ( the equalizer ) and Ivy ( the survivor ).

Celtic meaning behind personality types is born from an understanding of the interconnected nature of all things. A person born under the dominance of a certain season, animal, or vegetation indicates a partnership between that person and his/her phase of entrance into this natural world. It is this interconnected feature of celtic zodiac which inspired me to think about producing zodiac illustrations which combined and connected the celtic and the traditional zodiac signs.

In addition to this unique celtic zodiac, the celtic culture also gave particular significance to birth charms. Celtic birth charms are charms associated with a particular time of birth, worn to influence destiny and identify personal characteristics, in a similar way to how astrolgical signs are often worn today. The birth charms were often based on mythical beings, which were often endowed with particular characteristics, such as the Cwn Annan – hounds of the underworld, which project mystery and hidden depths.

and the Sidellu Gwynder,  a beautiful and blessed legendary beast. Those born under this Celtic sign have a sense of inner purpose and are often very sexually attractive.

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Horoscope Brief

One of the editorial briefs for 2011 was to produce a set of horoscope illustrations for a spread in a woman’s magazine. I started my research for this brief by looking at traditional horoscope illustrations for the twelve signs of the zodiac. The signs of the zodiac have been represented in many varied ways, from simple abstract symbols such as


to more elaborate and detailed illustrations which are more realistic and literal, such as :


There are also many different artist’s interpretations of the signs of the zodiac, including these zodiac illustrations by Rebecca Wallis:

I particularly like these illustrations as they are bright and colourful simple designs and  it is clear what they represent.

I also like this interpretation of the zodiac signs by Stanley Chow:

as these are quirky and interesting, yet simple and effective.

Some artists have interpreted the symbols through personification, such as this illustration in which the signs of the zodiac are represented by female characters, which I feel works very well:

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