Making magic: Creating my second oracle card deck

how to make an oracle or tarot card deckIf you’ve been dropping by here since a while {thank you!}, you may remember that I was creating a set of oracle cards in March last year. You can catch up with that post here, if you missed it.

It was an exciting project, and instead of the 30 cards that I had planned to create, I ended up making a 45-card deck with a fully functional guide book! Kristen is hosting the Create the Oracle Deck Challenge again this year, and I am busy working on my second deck of oracle cards. I would never have believed this last year – that I’d have another deck living inside me, waiting to be born into the world!

Making magic: how to create an oracle card deck

So, after a rather dull February, I am finding myself immersed in this project: deciding on the overall theme of the deck, responding to the prompts with my own unique take that hangs well with the theme, and sketching and painting my cards. This year, again, I’m working on watercolour paper, but this time around, I’m using tube + pan watercolours for most of the cards – ack! I’m really not comfortable with watercolours – they’re very unpredictable in how they react; unlike acrylics, you cannot layer them, which means it’s impossible to rectify mistakes; and it isn’t a medium that I have worked with much.

But, what is the point of embarking on a creative challenge without creating some challenges for yourself, eh? And so I create each card with bated breath, muttering “please work out please work out please work out” below my breath. So far, I’m happy to report that I’ve finished 15 cards and messed up just 2 of them. Not bad for a watercolour newbie, eh?

Plus, I had wanted to experiment with a more illustrative style this year, and I have to admit I’m enjoying it. I still need to shed a few of my acrylic habits, so to speak, when I work in this style, but I’m learning with each card. And I’m enjoying it immensely! So much so that I am considering giving it a go in my art journal too; and I’m thinking of creating some watercolour illustrations too. But, we’ll see how it goes!

If you’re keen to see the progress of my cards, I’m sharing some over on Instagram, so do follow me there. In the mean time, here’s a flip through of the oracle deck I created last year. Hope you enjoy it!

Now, for a bit of an art-related ramble

This creation of an oracle deck has put me in a bit of a quandary. One of my intentions for this year is to create 52 pieces of art. But with the creation of this deck, I’m not sure how to count this – do I count each card as one piece of art, or do I consider the completed deck as one piece of art? Neither of the two options makes much sense to me.

Each of these cards is small – roughly 3.5 x 5 inches, so counting it as one piece of art feels a bit like cheating. And creating an oracle deck is not easy – there’s a lot of time that goes into coming up with the theme, doing research, and writing the guidebook, so counting this entire finished project as one piece of art seems a bit unfair.  So I’m thinking – count each week that I work on this as one piece of art equivalent, or two? What do you think?

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I’m an artist and art educator, podcaster, tarot reader, and writer. I share my discoveries along the path to inspire you to live a more creative, soul-centered life. Receive my love letters for more of my musings on life and creativity. P.S. I love Instagram - join me there?


  1. I had a fling with watercolour painting when I was younger. It’s difficult but also satisfying, I think.
    If you feel that each card isn’t equivalent to the amount of effort you think ‘one piece of art’ should require, then maybe you can group them, and say that for example 4 cards count as one piece (or 6 cards, or whatever seems reasonable to you x

    • It is quite difficult! I primarily work with acrylics and mixed media, so watercolours require a completely different mindset. No layering! No hiding mistakes! All your oopsies are on full display! Gasp! lol
      So I had 52 pieces of art journal spreads/canvases as my goal – mixed media, acrylics, lots of layers and fussing around. Watercolour illustration though very challenging also feels somehow easier, which makes me think: challenges are supposed to be difficult! I’m crazy, aren’t I?

      But I like the suggestion of counting a certain number of cards as I piece of art. That makes sense! Thank you!

  2. I don’t think the size of the art should matter so much, I would definitely count those cards as individual art projects, because like you said, there is a lot more to consider in keeping in line with the theme etc, so I would definitely count those in.

    And assuming this is another 45 card deck you are creating (just an assumption) – if you worry that your challenge will get too easy – having to come up with only 7 more for your yearly goal, you could possibly revise your yearly goal a bit and try to shoot for a higher number? Of-course you could keep it as is and overshoot the goal, but if you need the added motivation, a goal revision works wonders.

    • I think…watercolours are more challenging than mixed media and acrylics, but also quicker because there isn’t much layering with these. And that’s what makes it seem so much easier. And that’s why it doesn’t seem fair to count each one as a piece of art vis-a-vis what I had in mind at the start of the month.

      I sound a bit crazy now: how can things be easy?! ?

  3. I think that each piece of art is separate. It’s like comparing a novel to a group of poems. Each poem may be small and grouped together but each poem is a separate piece of writing that the writer put a lot of time and effort into. That’s how I look at your cards. They may be grouped together but each piece is has it’s own identity. Hope that helps you in your decision. Your art is wonderful:) #mg

    • That’s a beautiful analogy! And yes, that is very helpful. Can you believe, I’ve still not been able to decide just what to do! But I’m inching closer to a decision. 🙂

  4. your talent leaves me in awe, I wish I had the talent to be so artistic. Thank you for being part of the #mg community

  5. Agree with Phil beautiful. I think each card is a piece of art but know how you feel about counting them. If you want to create 52 pieces of art this year and not sure how to count the cards as one or one piece why not think of a number say four cards as one piece of your 52. Does that make sense? Looking forward to seeing the deck!!

  6. I love how creative you are, your art is so beautiful. It is a talent I wish I had, my two daughters love art and are very talented, a gift they received from their father. You truly inspire me the way you follow your passion. Thank you for being part of #ablogginggoodtime

  7. Hi, love your creations! I want to create a deck for my friends birthday. Initially i thought of ordering blank tarot cards from online but then wasn’t sure how my acrylic pain and pens would work on them. Still pondering what type of card to use. Any suggestions?

  8. I love this deck you created with watercolor.messing up on a few is only because of the unpredictability of watercolor.So So so love the acrylic colors of the present deck.hmmm I woder how the 2nd oracle deck turned out. did you end up using 52 pieces of art….created over a year… wooooahhh..I am enjoying this journey of a story.

    • Thank you! Yeah, watercolors are so unpredictable. I really should play with them more, so I can understand them better! Acrylics are my love, of course. The second deck is still kind of stuck, funnily enough. I think I tried to bring too much into them! I’m going to brush them off and figure out how to edit them, so that they have better cohesion!

  9. wow 52 pieces of art.such an amazing journey you have been on, many little experiences,little stories in the making and not to mention the amazing art that channels through is so much effort I can see.Yet amazing that a whole body of work and wisdom has passed through you to be in conversation with you as journaling reflections and quite a companion.It seems like quite a lesson of self discovery.the processing wow.superb. and with a lot of tenderness and love i am saying Shinjini,soak in some pause and enjoy need to publish and when you are feeling ready and aligned excited and delighted to grow into opening up to this journey..

    • Ha! That was my goal, that year. And I don’t think I achieved it. And thank you for your words – I needed to hear them today. I don’t think I’ve ever looked at the process like this…and yet, it’s true. You’ve just helped me peel back another layer of the tyranny of my inner critic. Thank you so much for that!

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