Tarot Deck alllll Day

It's been a while since I wrote a blog post, but that's because I've been head down, but seated, working hard on the Spacious Tarot and my new picture book. I can't talk about the picture book too much right now (I think) but I'll post a snippet of the illustrations I've been refining. Still wating on the green light to make final art but it's getting there!

You’ve seen some of it already, but here’s the illustration style of a new book in the works.

You’ve seen some of it already, but here’s the illustration style of a new book in the works.

In the meantime, I have moved from OC to NorCal, closer to family. I love it. I love them.

I'm looking for more involvement with my community and finding it through regular coffee shop visits and lots of walks downtown.

Taking a painting class at the local college to get my feet wet with oil paints and explore some concepts that have been inside of me, waiting to emerge. For instance, I realize most art before the 1900s were made for men only. What do women want to see in art? What subjects, what colors. How do you want it to make you FEEL?? I'd love your thoughts on this.

And also working on another draft of my MG novel. What are you reading these days? What do your kids love to read? I need some recommendations!!

xoxox, Annie

Here’s my face saying hi, friends!!!

Here’s my face saying hi, friends!!!

Spacious Process

Some have asked about how I go about illustrating the Spacious Tarot cards, so I thought I'd give an insider's look into the process. Until a month ago, I strictly used a Wacom cintiq, but I've since switched over to an ipad. I continue to work in Photoshop, however, so I recommend downloading astropad so you can work PS on your tablet.

Here's how I start. A sketch!


I love working with fake, digital pencil brushes because my heart flutters over texture. From there, Carrie and I talk about the composition and make sure it's clear what w'ere trying to communicate with each card.

Next I "ink" it and drop in basic color. I use Kyle Webster brushes, usually the "rough inker comics" brush and the "big wide softy" and "big fat spongy" thing to add a little sumin' sumin'.


As you can see, there's not a lot happening at this point, so from here I start adding darker tones and some lighter tones to create contrast.


We're getting somewhere! Once I can get here, then the rest feels like frosting a cake. I usually play with tones for a bit, but after that I add details and texture, focusing on strong lighting.


Believe it or not, this almost the finished card. After adding a couple more highlights and darker shadows to give it that "pop", I do a watercolor overlay, which ever card has, so that it feels organic and deep.

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This is always where the magic happens for me. I love this particular overlay and the slight pink hue it gives to the card, bringing out the purples.

I hope you enjoyed seeing the 4 of cups in its many stages. See you soon!


Ladies who launch.

I'm sitting on the floor in Carrie Mallon's office here in Salt Lake City. Her cat, Lulu, is purring loudly on her lap, and the sun is shining almost lazily outside while birds chatter. It's nearly June 21st, the summer solstice, and pleasant attitudes exude from everyone as we visit some cafes and walk amongst the blooming neighborhoods- summer is here.

I relish in this awareness of a sweet moment, where the two of us can share a creative space and also celebrate the fact that we worked really hard on this tarot deck. I bet anyone who reads this could use a reminder that they have acomplished something terrific with their own will, be that making a glorious dinner or earning a degree. Even watering all the plants in their fantastic garden which took hours and hours to cultivate is a task worthy of celebration. Behind most feats that take concentration, are hours of dedication, often to earning a living, yes, which in turn allows us do the things we love. I am thankful to the people in my life who have guided me and journeyed along the way, since they are huge players in my game.

In two days the deck will launch on kickstarter. I hope you'll come along with us! This deck has seen me through losing a job, living with my folks, moving to new york, and moving back to southern California- all transitions that have helped me grow into the woman I am today (Which is a woman i am proud to be!) It has taught me the value of patience, trust, enjoying my own creative imput, and the serendipitous relationships that manifest in our lives. All hail our journies to getting HERE right NOW.

I hope you enjoy this deck. Here is a video Carrie made to show the cards and how they will feel in space and time. Happy solstice and see you soon!

Refuge oh Refuge

At least 40, probably more, slightly larger than life figures sit inside an inflatable boat, waiting for land. Some have horns, some wear ornate collars, and some look like Nefertiti. There are a clan of mythical creatures, historical figures, and nameless men and children, that are searching for hope. Constructed by thin lengths of bamboo that wrap around them in ovals upon ovals, they are fragile as well as strong. They long for space and peace, knowing that they are barely there to the eyes of others. They are hollow and subtle energetically to the western world, yet immersed in theirs you would feel the weight and distress, and crumbling flesh. This is Ai Weiwei's "Life Cycles" at the Marciano Art Center in Los Angeles.

Refuge: a condition of being safe or sheltered from pursuit, danger, or trouble.

A human right.


After the show, I clambered upstairs to see some hidden galleries (the place is so much bigger than it looks when you first enter). And came upon Andrea Bower's piece.


I was delighted to see this piece, because a little spark tickled me, knowing that refuge is found in art, in cultivation of good things in our lives. To seek refuge, we are seeing safety and peace. Sometimes this is external, God forbid it is, and I hope our world can work on helping everyone find safe homes, decent food, and warmth. But many people also seek internal refuge, knowing that even though they are in a warm house, their hearts are longing for a closeness to… the everything. To the joy that we all can experience, but for some reason don’t know how to just “turn on”.

I see this joy as something kids play so easily with. They run around, chasing each other and laughing their heads off. No cash required.

Sometimes, when I need refuge, I light a candle, turn on some soft music and bring out my art supplies and tarot deck. I’ll pull a card or two and let it speak to me. Usually the cards bring forward a theme that I can then work with in a small art piece. This is why I’m so excited to share the tarot deck that I’ve been working on with all of you. I find tarot, basically, art therapy. Images can help us literally SEE what’s going on for us, where talking or reading a book may not touch the abstract place that we need to view from. Of course, with all internal work, our power is within, but tarot can be such a lovely catalyst to accessing that power.

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Photo by Carrie Mallon

Keep track of the tarot deck and potential release dates on instagram: @thespacioustarot !