Interview with Izabella Bastidas

Izabella Bastidas is the artist behind the Natural World Tarot (2016), which was featured here on the TABI blog last week. I asked Izabella if she’d be willing to answer some questions and explain something of her process and her inspiration. Enjoy!

1) Tell me a bit about how you became interested in the tarot?

I have always been interested in the occult and at the time I was studying witchcraft and really loved having my own cards read but was unsure of where or how to begin studying them. I eventually asked my friend Francesca, who would end up helping me write the guidebook to my deck, to guide me through learning how to read tarot and it ended up bringing us even closer together as friends.

2) When did you decide to create a deck of your own?

Well originally it was a school assignment! I had to do project consisting of several pieces, inspired by something we were interested in. I had started on a few of the cards and decided to keep going with the deck. However; when I began painting the cards I had no idea that I would continue to eventually create the Major Arcana, and hopefully a full deck. My family and friends really supported me in finishing the project eventually funding the kickstarter.

3) What was your process when creating the cards for the Majors?

It is certainly a very long process. First I researched all the cards in the Major Arcana. I would look at various sources and annotate. I would look at the symbolism of the colors and figures in each card, as well as the meaning behind each. I researched a ton of animals, looking at the characteristics of each animal, figuring out which was best suited for each card. A single card would take anywhere from a week, to a month to complete.

4) Were there any cards you particularly struggled with?


There definitely were. I get inspiration from the world around me and I have always been very critical of myself and tend to have very high expectations. I would get frustrated because I care so much about this deck and felt that some of the cards didn’t look the way I wanted them to. I had to balance between being an artist and being a tarot lover. At the time I didn’t really know how to be both without compromising one or the other but I got through it and learned a lot about myself and my process.

5) What is your favourite card and why?

This one is tricky! I love all the cards for different reasons, it’s hard to pick just one… But my top three are the Tower, the Sun, and the Moon. I love The Tower because of how instant, beautiful, and terrifying it is. For everything to change in a second is a truly scary thing, but also incredibly powerful and I think a did a good job of capturing that feeling. I also love the Sun and the Moon because of how well they work together. Dualities have always been a favorite subject of mine, the balance between light and dark as well as their need for each other. I wanted to show that they are indeed separate entities, however, they work well together. I really loved putting the Sun on a dark background and the Moon on a light background. I did this because I wanted to show that in order for there to be light, there needs to be dark, and vice versa.

6) I understand you plan to make a full 78 card deck. How will the minors be different, what is the inspiration behind them?

Yes! I do plan to finish a full 78 card deck. Aesthetically they should be very similar to the Majors. I intend on using a couple more landscapes integrated with the animals. The goal is to make both the Majors and Minors work together and look like one full deck. I want to make them work as cohesively as possible. As far as the inspiration, I just get really inspired by the symbolism and story each card has, and I don’t fully know where it’ll lead me as of now but I’m excited.

7) Will you be making any changes to the existing cards?

Yes, I intend to rework a couple of the Major cards. I find that I created cards that too similarly resemble other people’s work. While this happened subconsciously it’s something I intend on changing. At the same time there are other cards that don’t quite capture the feeling I had hoped so I’ll rework those as well.

8) Are you planning to go the crowd funding route again?

It was a lot of hard work the first time around and I made a lot of mistakes but now that I have the experience, the second one will hopefully go a little smoother. The first campaign was successful, 6,500 dollars was raised, but I’ll certainly do things a little differently. Something really cool about the experience is that I’ve made a lot of friends from all over the world! It’s a very special feeling and I look forward to doing it again.

9) When can we expect to see the finished deck?


Unfortunately, not for a while. I’m finishing my senior year of university and don’t have a whole lot of time to focus on the deck. I don’t want to have my attention be divided between the deck and my schoolwork. I also tend to be a bit of a perfectionist which doesn’t help. Hopefully I can get back into it as soon as school is finished in May and we’ll have a complete deck by the end of next year.
10) Is there anything else you’d like to share?
Just that I am so happy to be interviewed! This deck is such a big part of who I am, it’s been in my spirit for a very long time, over five years, and I’m so happy to share it and to get such positive feedback. And to see it grow is like seeing myself grow. Knowing that there are people out there that enjoy my work feels so amazing! I have always wanted to inspire people through my artwork, and I finally feel like I am one step closer to that. I just want to say thank you to everyone that has supported me in this journey.
Many thanks to Izabella, and best of luck! I for one will be keeping my eyes peeled for the full deck 😀
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