Thursday, August 25, 2011

Artist Trading Cards

Ahhhh...the internet. I need to set limits because there are just WAY too many good sites out there with WAY too many great art ideas and I get lost in a world of links! But, on the bright side, I get so many wonderful ideas and learn so much! One thing I see that intrigued me is something called Artist Trading Cards (or ATCs).
Some of the ATCs made by my boys (the "Make More Art" one is by me).

Artist Trading Cards are awesome! Started in 1997 by an artist in Munich, they are a great way for artists to showcase their style or ideas, but they aren't just for professional artists! Anyone can create ATCs--children, teens, or grown-ups! There are very few rules for ATCs: 1. They must be 2 1/2" x 3 1/2" and, 2. You cannot sell them--they must be given away or traded. This is a wonderful way for children (and grown-ups) to learn new art techniques and express themselves! It is also a wonderful way to spend time together as a family--grab some art supplies and sit down and let your creativity go!

For Me: Personally, I am embracing the ATC idea! I'm an artist but I am also a mother of four and an art teacher trying to grow my business--I don't get to do huge masterpieces right now. I'm OK with it, but sometimes I get an art idea and need to explore that. ATCs are just right for me!

For my children: I am also encouraging my children to do ATCs. My children love to collect and trade things, but I seriously WILL NOT pay lots of money for cheap trading cards whose sole purpose in life is to get children to spend money (oops, getting off the soapbox now...). Anyhow, ATCs allow children to create & explore and gives them something they are excited to trade and are actually connected to. Learning and fun--I'm all in!

Supplies Needed:

ATCs are easy and require no special supplies, unless you want to try different techniques. Here are some supplies to begin with:

  • Posterboard cut to 2 1/2" x 3 1/2" to use as "blanks"
  • Glue sticks
  • Scissors
  • Pencil and eraser
  • Markers, colored pencils, crayons, etc.
  • Stickers
  • Stamping materials
  • Neat papers (I have a scrap paper bin I brought out and I save neat papers from junk mail, etc).
  • Old magazines
  • Paint (tempura or watercolor) & paintbrushes
  • Old photos
  • Needle & embroidery thread
  • The list is truly endless!

1. Cut a whole bunch of blanks from posterboard. You'll need about 8 or so per person to get started. Once you get going--it is hard to stop!

2. Start creating! Think about the different ways you can create:

Ripped paper
Sewing (by hand or machine)

There is no right or wrong way to do these. Relax and have fun. Send me pictures of your ATCs--I'd love to see your creations! ENJOY!

Need more inspiration? Here are a couple of links to check out:
This month's Family Fun Magazine
A great mini tutorial on ATCs from 

My disclaimer: While I do look at all references before sharing, I cannot look at every page of every reference. Please check out these references before sharing with your children, to verify that the content and images are appropriate for your child's age level and the content is acceptable for your family.

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