Art Blog: Patrons & Deities Process and Visual Development

Updated on  
Art Blog: Patrons & Deities Process and Visual Development

Art Blog: Patrons & Deities Process and Visual Development

At Cantrip Candles, we look to innovate creatively and artistically, bringing life to concepts that we take great pride in. While brainstorming ideas for new projects in late 2022, we kept coming back to a specific candle type; prayer candles. Many people, several of us included, have grown up in religious households where these have a place and purpose. There’s something inherently ritualistic in lighting a candle with an image of the divine. It changes the space around you and calls for a shift in focus. Warmth and light take on additional meanings, and it can be an act of devotion in and of itself.

In recent years, prayer candles have made a cheeky comeback in the more secular market. You can find prayer candles assigned to your favorite celebrities, characters, or customized with your pet in saintly portraits! And while many of these are hilarious (I personally wouldn't be above burning a Kermit the Frog prayer candle for good vibes), there are a couple reasons we didn't want to go the gimmick route on this particular project:

1. Cheekiness didn't fit our candles.

We don't make unscented candles (yet), and if the entire purpose is a silly image, then it wouldn't really feel like our product. You can find that practically anywhere. Silliness hasn't stopped us before (looking back fondly at our Stoned Cunning collection for an April Fools & 4/20 celebration in 2023), but those scents were also developed with that cheekiness in mind.

2. Prayer candles have a pre-existing weight behind them.

We're cognizant of the significance candles along this vein carry. We wanted to treat the project seriously, in no small part to the history behind them, even though we're making them our own.

3. It Didn't Exist Yet. 

We hadn't seen a serious take on devotional "prayer" candles to fantasy gods that could be applied to elevating tabletop gameplay and character exploration. It felt uniquely unprecedented and exciting to us, while also falling into line with our core; immersive candles.

In order to be honest to the concept, we decided that the candles would require different vessels from our usual line. Prayer candles tend to be comparatively tall and thin, so we wanted to go with vessels that honored that while also still wide enough to burn well all the way down. At the same time, we wanted to veer from the traditionally very Christian-bound imagery on the labels, and instead leaned more heavily into a tarot-inspired aesthetic.

That's where I come in!

We decided that since each god or patron had their own unique feel to them, it made sense to have each one worked on by a different artist. However, each illustration would have a unifying theme of a tarot template, and a touchstone of Ramil Sunga's iconic work on the Dragon Age: Inquisition tarot cards (here's an article to make yourself familiar if you're not already), which was hugely influential in the art community in the mid 2010's up til today.
Even with that visual touchstone, each artist gave life to these otherworldly beings in their own way!


Art by Viv Tanner (x/twitter, website)

For Abella, we developed the idea of confident mature woman laughing in joy. We wanted her dressed in bold colors and patterns, with tattoos decorating her, to convey someone who lives and embraces her life fully!
Additionally, she has some visual counterparts with Florence, Prince of Death! She holds a mote of sun-like light, almost in display or offering, in contrast to Florence's moon lantern.

Art by Frei (x/twitter, website)

Our concept for Florence was a pale younger figure (Death is younger than Life, though our concept of Life does periodically reincarnate!) with angular features and a moon motif. They represent natural decay (the embroidered and surrounding flower elements), and the inevitability of death. The moon lantern represents the way he guides souls to their end, a gentle light in the dark.

Art by Kooks (x/twitter, website)

Javid's concept was a "refined, soft, silver fox" (actual concept notes). We wanted him to represent the pursuit of knowledge purely for its own sake, and his singular focus and solid composition lend to the idea of his acquired timelessness. He's also surrounded by swirls of incense, a key note in the scent itself, as a clarifying and focusing tool for his mind.


Our patrons may seem more darkly-inclined, but that's not to say that their patronage need go hand-in-hand with dubious acts! Though it's possible they may be encouraged...

Art by Alexa Sharpe (x/twitter, website)

We wanted to lean into the devilish rather than demonic for our hellish patron, with dark contracts and legalese being so prevalently played with in tabletop games! There's a definite draw towards a sophisticated evil that can be bargained with, and we wanted to make sure he looked the part of self-assured and indulgent. We went through a couple color variations for the composition, but the sulfurous look of the smoke surrounding him lends to the unsettling atmosphere and we're so pleased with it!

Art by Hess (x/twitter, tumblr)

For this regally mysterious patron, we wanted to lean heavy into traditional archfey aesthetics, so we made sure to share natural elements mixed with aloof nobility in their character notes. Masks were also a theme we wanted explored, implying duplicity and hidden motives. You can never really know what Maevenon is thinking, and while they are gently smiling, their claws may give some supplicants pause.

Art by Limb-O (x/twitter, instagram)

For Ozul, our concept for it was a pierced suit of armor run through with many weapons. In this way, it reads as bound and trapped in a dark space, from which it reaches out to mortals to enact its will elsewhere. Partially inspired by Hexblade patrons, we also drew on warforged concepts to create a "figure" of armor that could be recognized by supplicants as a being, although it isn't necessarily one. The magical energy that holds it together is closer to its actual being, reflected in the blue magic visible holding its bound joints together in the artwork.

Working with these artists was an amazing experience! We're exceedingly grateful for the chance to have worked with them!
Now more than ever, the art world is a little messy (understatement) as questionable technology pushes in favor of quick and thoughtless creation. We wanted to make a statement with this project too; art made by real artists, working thoughtfully on unique concepts, should be sought, showcased, and celebrated!
We're still a small business (6 team members, including the owner) with what means and time we can manage, but this is an important part of our growth and who we are.

Designed to be applicable to gods and domains you may already be playing with in your home games, we hope you'll enjoy these candles for their art, scent, and concept! They've been a long time coming, and we're so happy to share them with you at last. :) Want to read more about these powerful individuals? Check out the Lore Blog

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