Inspired by…artist trading cards

Blogtoberfest ~ day 4

Did you ever collect bubble gum cards, baseball or hockey cards? Do you love art, maybe think about collecting it? If so,I think artist trading cards may be for you.

I am inspired by  little artist trading cards, also commonly referred to as ATC’s. These tiny pieces of artwork, 2.5″ by 3.5″ , are a perfect support for exploring new ideas and different techniques. They can be created with any media/ medium. Paint, collage,stamping illustration, scrappy….anything goes! Except the size. They have to be 2.5″ by 3.5 ”

It gets even more fun..there is a huge population of people out there who want to trade, swap or even buy your cards.

Below are a few of my favorites. I am not very good at trading..I have a hard time parting with them…

The best site I have found to date for collecting and trading is ATCs for all. They also have a wonderful community and forum. There is always a different themed swap going on..

Art trader magazine is an e-zine devoted entirely to ATC’s, altered books, journals, inchies..Lots of great info here including art workshops, how to articles and contests.

Flickr also has another good community for posting and swapping.

The process to create your first ATC is quite simple. When I was first introduced to the idea I had no access to art supplies. I searched the house (once again) and discovered that my son eats way too much cereal. We have cereal cardboard boxes everywhere.A perfect support for these little cards..

Here is everything you will need to create your trading card.

scissors, ruler, pencil,cereal box, old paintbrush, gesso

  • Grab a ruler, pencil and any cereal, granola or cookie box. It should be sturdy (and not a corrugated cardboard box!).
  • measure out 2.5″ by 3.5″ and mark it in pencil on your cereal box
  • cut out rectangle. You can now use this one as a template and cut many more (bottom right in image)
  • grab some gesso and gesso up one side. have fun..texturize..anything goes
  • wait to dry
This is your trading card + apply your art = artist trading card!
Some tidbits of information to consider
I have traded some ATC’s only to receive cards back created on 90-120 gr paper. While sturdy enough they do not give it that trading card kind of feel. I also like to glue another piece of “pretty ” paper on the back of the card when finished. I add my name, title of the piece and any particulars. I use a protective ,transparent cover to place the card in. These are sold at most dollar and art supply stores. I appreciate presentation and I think others do to. AND finally, blank trading cards can be purchased all primed and ready to go.. I know, I could have mentioned this earlier. (What would I have blogged about then:)

Some tidbits of inspiration for your ATC..

use collage..tissue paper, leftover paper scraps, stamps

use leftover paint…add some acrylic skins

try different texture, crackle,gel medium

add magazine cuttings, text, old book pages, maps

play with paint color combinations

try different mediums..ink, soft pastels,

cut up some of your old art-keep portion you like and glue to card

try something you have always wanted to try…small scale

Lots of fun, easy to prepare, inexpensive materials

small = no stress!

Feeling ready for the next step? If you feel your ATC’s are absolutely fantabulous, you can go to Illustrated ATC’s . This is an exclusive trading site. All potential members must submit a portfolio to be accepted. You should take a look..there are some fabulous little pieces of art.

I really do love these little gems.My snapshots in time.

In fact, I am thinking these are going to be my next business card…

If you know of any other sites or tips and tricks, please leave a comment. They are always very appreciated!

Thanks for stopping by.

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5 thoughts on “Inspired by…artist trading cards

    • A great project for art students! My kids love them and my son even made a few.They are nice and compact so people dont get as flustered as when they have a large blank canvas in front of them.

  1. Never heard of them, but it’s a great idea for those of us who are dealing with an artist ‘block’ and just can’t get started again. Love your posts.

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