Fern & Oak


Illustrating my own deck of tarot cards

One of my big creative goals this year is to illustrate my own deck of tarot cards. I’ve always been interested in tarot (even though I’m not much of an expert!), especially when it comes to the artwork. I’ve toyed with the idea of illustrating my own for quite some time but it always seemed like such a daunting task – and that was with the intention of illustration just the Major Arcana!

However, my change of heart came from several other reasons so it all just seemed to fit together. I’ve had a real need for stepping back lately, and creating just for myself as well as really digging deep and defining (and refining) my style. Also it bothers me how I often struggle to complete creative projects. Well, what better way to create a completed body of work for myself, working on my own distinct style than 78 paintings all fitting into one theme?! Yes, it’s a hugely daunting task but it’s also really, really exciting!

I decided on a style for my tarot pretty early into the planning phases – I really wanted to create a deck focused on Goddesses, whilst sticking to the Ryder Waite style (ish – more so the symbolism). A big part of this creative project that I’m relishing is there is also quite a lot of research. I’m no slave to 100% accuracy, I like to imbue my own artistic licence here and there, but I do want to research and grasp enough of the R.W. tarot to be fairly accurate in my depictions, and to “match” goddesses throughout different cultures and history to the cards. I am only really familiar with Greek and Norse mythology and it’s important for me to have a diverse tarot deck, celebrating Goddesses from all over the world so there’s been lots of reading up on different cultures too.

It’s all really fascinating and I’ve loved every minute so far. I am also continuing to paint and create other things alongside my tarot paintings, so as not to get too fixated or burn out – this is working nicely, as if I am getting frustrated with a painting I am much less likely to abandon it if I can dip into another painting for a couple of hours. I’m also taking care to “ban” myself from any tarot stuff every couple of days. Again, this is to help stop burn out and also keep it fun and exciting. This is a fun, creative project for me – not a chore!

So far I have researched and decided on goddesses for all the cards in the Major Arcana, and the Suit of Cups and I’ve finished 3 paintings. Not too bad for the first three weeks of the year! I’ll be posting here updates as I go along, so you can follow my journey here and I have also been posting a lot of work in progress pics on my Instagram too.