gina barbieri


Gina Barbieri is an American illustrator with a focus on digital and emerging new media. Her art blends traditionally hand-drawn images with digital techniques to achieve a look and feel not possible through solely traditional or digital means. Her style leans towards the horrific and grotesque in character design and conceptual visual development. With her belief that art is narrative, she holds a minor in Creative Writing and weaves storytelling into her art practices.



For my thesis I chose to illustrate the 22 Major Arcana of the tarot deck, adding my own interpretations and twists to the card designs. Tarot has a history as playing cards, but is better known for its occult usage in divination—this mixed history of play and fun, paired with a very esoteric narrative tradition, drew me to the idea of illustrating tarot cards and adding my own story to the narrative quality offered by the cards. Tarot also has a rich history of illustrative practices, with thousands of different decks being illustrated over tarot’s long history.

I chose to illustrate only the Major Arcana due to time constraints, and because the Major Arcana is more widely recognized than the Minor Arcana. Thematically I have incorporated my “plague doctor” character design practice (from a personal side-project) with the figures to create an overall “avian” look to many of the cards, while also constructing a “setting” so that various recurring elements would appear in various cards, giving the sense of an underlying narrative to the series. I also chose to incorporate plant and flower symbolism into the cards, as flower symbolism also has a long history with narrative qualities that I felt paired well with my approach to the Major Arcana.