I’m Annette Abolins, the artist behind the illustrated cards decks here on Nine Lives … I have been drawing and painting for as long as I can remember; discovering from an early age that the visual language of art (and a wild imagination) is my voice for telling stories and exploring ideas.
To me, art is about connections and stories inspired by people, dreams, music, mythology and life.
I grew up in a large family frequently extended by visitors from all walks of life; people bringing stories to share, and sometimes, new card games to play (we played a lot of cards). I fell in love with the beautiful pictures, wanting to learn more about the stories, symbolic meanings and characters. Years later, this journey of discovery and research, inspired me to create Nine Lives Tarot, Nine Lives Playing Cards, and VIZAĜO. I hope you enjoy these decks and follow creative updates for future decks to come!
A deck of cards is like a portable treasure box, filled with stories …
The Creative Process
A long background in fine arts and a close connection to traditional drawing and painting techniques, largely defines my work and artistic style. Combining traditional drawing with digital media gives me the freedom to truly explore ideas and tell stories!
Illustrating a deck of cards is a journey filled with discovery and inspiration, involving a long process from ideas, to sketches, drawings, adjustments and finally, the completed artworks. I always start with pen & ink, as I find my ideas flow better on to actual paper (and I love working in ink…). Drawing on paper allows me to work through my ideas and form a deeper connection to the characters and their meanings. When the drawing is completed, I begin the process of applying and working with colour and detail, slowly bringing the artwork to life. Each card has a story to tell, weaving into the tapestry of stories that brings the deck together as a whole.
When I’m not busy illustrating cards, I paint and create designs for web and print. If you would like to see more examples of my work, you are welcome to visit: