Friday, August 3, 2012

Artist Trading Cards

According to Wikipedia, Artist Trading Cards (or ATCs) are miniature works of art about the same size as modern baseball cards ( 2.5" by 3.5"), small enough to fit inside standard card-collector pockets, sleeves or sheets.  Cards are produced in various media, including dry media (pencils, pens, markers, etc.), wet media (watercolor, acrylic paints, etc.), paper media (in the form of collage, papercuts, found objects, etc.) or even metals or cloth. The cards are usually traded or exchanged.

It's been well over a year since I last participated in an ATC swap on Craftster; it was one of the first swaps I did there.  That time I hand-drew every card with skinny Sharpies and colored pencils; this time, I wanted to steer away from time-consuming drawings, and try paper collage instead.

This is the first one I did.  It is for my partner's "water" theme.  I had run across a photograph online of a blackbird on the edge of a puddle (or birdbath, it was hard to tell) and I used that as my guide when designing this simple card.  It is made of  scrapbooking papers and rubber stamps, with a piece of thin plastic over the lower section to replicate the shininess of water.  I did just the smallest amount of drawing, by adding the boarder and coloring it in with colored pencils.

I claimed my second partner for her "cooking/recipes" theme, and although it was my intention to use only paper for the design, I realized I couldn't make the card I wanted to make without doing some drawing. This ATC is a collage with a drawing as the focal point.  I drew and colored the cook, then cut that out and glued it to the blue striped paper, which I also cut out to give the cook an outline.  Then I used a rubber stamp on scrapbook paper to imitate the look of a recipe card for the background.

By combining a small drawing with paper collage, I felt that I had developed a style that really worked for me.  I intended to continue in this style for the rest of the swap, but for my very next card, I tried something completely different:  fabric!  This is the third card I did, for my partner who likes nature; it was "artist's choice".  The blue background and the square with the poem are paper, while the tree and ground are fabric.  I decided on fabric when I realized that my stock of scrapbook paper is limited, but my supply of various fabrics is almost endless!  I easily found scraps in the colors I wanted to use.

 Below you can see how I'm signing the back of these cards.  I received the wonderful flying heart stamp from my partner miknessevie in another swap; she hand-carved it just for me!  it is the perfect size for these cards.

Since I take my time to do a good job on each card, I like to present them nicely.  I made these small folders out of heavy scrapbook paper and little price tags.  I affixed the cards to the folder with a single roll of tape on the back--just enough to keep them in place, but easy to remove later.

This swap runs all month, and I can make as many claims as I want (as long as I don't have more than 10 in transit to their recipients at a time)--and I'm having so much fun with these that I will definitely do a couple more "show and tell" posts about them in the coming weeks!

1 comment:

Pa Ul said...

Your post is great to read. I was wondering what are 5 easy steps on how to create an artist trading card?