How to Learn Tarot through Visual Art

Spice up your journal with some illustrations. You might surprise yourself.

My inner beast.

Illustrate Your Journal

Draw before or after writing in a regular Tarot journal. Keep a regular journal, but after you write, illustrate your interpretation of the card / cards you drew that day. Start with doodles. No one has to see!

Here you can see the evolution of the Empress through sketches. After each sketch, I jotted down some notes about the symbolism in each. I often found I didn’t realize the significance of the symbolism until after I finished the drawing. This eventually turned into a card in my deck.

Keep a sketchbook and challenge yourself to a sketch a day. Then write about your drawing after the fact. Or you can just let the art speak for itself. Many of the following sketches I didn’t even write about.

How is your art affected when you write about it beforehand? How about when the illustration comes first?


Try your hand at sorting through archetypes via old photographs or magazines. Collage the old-fashioned way.

Arnell Ando has a useful article about making your own Tarot deck with collage, as well as some tips about self-publishing.

Kelly-Ann Maddox is also no stranger to using collage. Check out Kelly-Ann’s video about her spiritual journaling and collage. She also has an excellent example of Tarot collage in her free e-zine.

The Tarot Deck Journal

If you have some success with your artistic ventures, why not culminate your efforts into a full-blown Tarot deck? You can take baby steps by keeping a journal, then move on to more polished works.

Dedicate a page or two to each card, as well as a section for general notes and ideas for your deck.

Through your eyes and into your hands

Think of when a teacher asked you to summarize a novel in high school. If you had just written the novel word for word in your report, you probably would have flunked.

As we eventually figured out through our education, what your teacher wanted was to articulate the book in your own words, through your own experience, through allegories and metaphors that you know first-hand. The power of Tarot, after all, is to express complex human experiences in the compact, yet endless expression of visual art.

Try this with the cards. Don’t just copy and paste Google-search definitions. One of the best ways I know how to do this is through visual art. It’s a lot more difficult to steal an idea visually than it is to copy definitions down in your journal.

Who knows, you may even discover a way to express the card that no one has thought of yet!


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