Lulu Too Card Back

Over the past 2 years I worked on the illustrations for the second edition of Little Lulu’s Lucky Lenormand. The last image I had to make was the card back. There’s a lot of pressure on that image… it gets repeated 36 times. It’s the image you see when the deck is just sitting on the table. The card back sets the tone for the whole deck.

Hand holding the original color painting layer for the Lulu's Too Lucky Lenormand card back. Cursive letter L decorated with floral motif and a moth.

I worked up a couple drafts of my first idea for the card back… and I liked the image. But not as the back design. What I ended up with was a bonus card for the deck! (More on that image/card later.)

The final illustration is done! Because Lenormand decks originated in the Victorian era, I turned to inspiration from playing cards of the time. I looked at playing-card-back designs from the De La Rue company of the early 1800’s and in particular the works by Owen Jones which featured floral and ornamental designs.

The “L” of Lulu’s Lucky Lenormand leant itself nicely to ornamentation. Since Lenormand cards are not read differently when reversed (upside down) it was not necessary to have a mirror-image for the design. However, the cursive L can be read in either direction. This gives the card a more fluid look which is not jarring when viewed “upside down.” When the cards are shuffled and spread out on a table the card backs will not compete with each other for attention between the upright or inverted images.

The proof deck has been ordered! And the next steps will be finalizing box and guide book designs. I’m so happy to be able to begin sharing this project that has been two years in the making so far!

Nerdy Cartomancy… 2 of Cups!

It’s nerdy Tarot-meme time! I feel like Finn in the “Blenanas” episode of Adventure Time when he cracks himself up with his own cartoon but no one else around him thinks it’s all that funny. But… I stand by my take on this card, in jest and in seriousness.

Illustration of the 2 of Cups as if they were the cartoon people from an Ikea instruction manual.

Many people assume that the 2 of Cups Tarot card refers to a romantic partnership. But that’s not necessarily the case. Your 2-of-Cups person is the one who will help you build your Ikea furniture with you. Literally (I mean seriously… those bookcases are a “ride-or-die” activity) and figuratively (the kind of person who is down to do the mundane stuff that really helps you out simply because it will help you out). That might be your lover, but it could also be a friend or family member.

So single folks, Aces, and people struggling in their romantic partnership… don’t feel “left out” when the 2 of Cups pops up for you. It’s just asking you to think of your “first-call” whoever that may be. The one who will patiently hold four heavy pieces of particle board in place as you Allen wrench a 4-inch bolt into place 3/4 turn by 3/4 turn.

* My Cart(oon)mancy series (cartomancy-related cartoons) come out each month in my email newsletter along with tips or reading, news, workshop and event announcements.

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Fundraiser for Bat Conservation

Stack of Magic of Bats zines with open copy on top showing an illustration of a bat skeleton.

Last year I was asked to start working on a special fundraising project: a zine about bats to help raise awareness about the plight of bats worldwide.

The Story: Oracle Natural Science was given a box of old-stock bat skulls. Bat populations are endangered and there is no way to ethically or sustainably source bat parts (no matter what a given retailer or website may try to indicate, you can read more about why this is the case in this article). So Oracle has decided to redirect all proceeds from the sales of these skulls to bat conservation and use this event to educate their customers about bats and how to help.

The Zine: I began working on writing and illustrating a zine for Oracle to accompany the fundraiser. I immersed myself in books, websites, podcasts, YouTube videos and social media feeds of various biologists, conservationists, and bat rehabilitation centers. And in the process I fell in love with bats! I truly did not expect to be completely converted into a bat lover. They are awe inspiring. And weird. And adorable. And intelligent. And just fascinating. There’s so much to learn about bats that I had trouble narrowing down what I wanted to include in the zine!

The zine is a 22-page booklet filled with facts, trivia, tips for what you can do to help protect bats, and 12 original black and white watercolor illustrations. I also included instructions for two practices to tap into the bat spirit. (Since Oracle’s motto is: Science is magic!) $2 from the sale of every zine will be donated to The Ukrainian Bat Rehabilitation Center.

Why Ukrainian Bat Rehabilitation Center: UBRC is located in Kharkiv, Ukraine and is the largest bat rehabilitation center in Europe. All of the bats in Ukraine are on the red-list endangered species. This organization of professional scientists have continued to work under extremely dangerous and heartbreaking circumstances of the war to continue their work in protecting bats. We chose this organization to donate to because funding will not only help conserve endangered bats (who are now also facing the dangers of living in a war zone disturbing their roosting spots and safety) but the humans caring for them who are working in extreme and serious risk. We felt that donating to this organization would have the most impact at this time.

What, When, Where: Oracle’s Bat Fundraiser will “go live” July 5th, 2022 at noon Kansas City time. There will be 12 fruit-bat skulls mounted in glass cylinders, 11 horse-shoe-bat skulls mounted in mini glass domes, and the “Magic of Bats” zine available for purchase. I suggest setting a reminder alert for the 5th if you are interested in purchasing any of the skulls… there aren’t many and Oracle will not be carrying them ongoing, this was an unusual circumstance of receiving old-stock. (Like I mentioned above… bat products CANNOT be sourced sustainably and harvesting bats has already led to population decline and extinction of some species.) On Tuesday, July 5th you can find the Bat Fundraiser listings under the New Additions section of Oracle’s online shop.

Elegy Candles

Alessandra Dzuba of Oracle Natural Science specializes in skeletal articulation and does memorial work for clients. Finding ways of honoring memories and soothing grief become a major theme. She has certain rituals such as setting an intentional space, burning incense, and lighting a candle while working on a memorial. She asked me if I would create a special candle specifically with grief in mind.

I started with an herbal blend: Hawthorn for love. Nettle for strength. Lavender for peace.

Although she had not specified, I chose to make this candle a joined pair. So one candle is dressed with an Obsidian crystal for courage and grounding; and the other has a Rainbow Moonstone for soothing sorrow.

There is a long tradition of burning candles during times of loss, grief, and sorrow. We light candles to remember those who are no longer near. Both prayer and homage, a lit candle is a universal offering. The candle’s flame burns bright and flickers with life until the wax has been spent and there is no more wick. Candles are temporary, something we experience, and then it is gone; a ritual for the senses and a small gift of light to the world.

It was an honor to develop these Elegy candles. They are made exclusively for and available at Oracle Natural Science.