Staring at a large canvas of watercolor paper, new set of watercolors on the table, brush in hand. Now what? We get invested in how our art comes out. An Artist Trading Card (ATC) is different - it's fun and playful. ATCs, also known as ACEOs or art cards, are swapped worldwide. This tiny 2.5” x 3.5” canvas is a fabulous place to make art.
When I tell people about ATCs the first question is, "What do you do with them?" The concern that there has to be a purpose always catches me off guard. ATCs inspire me to do other types of art, allow me to to figure out how to use new art supplies, to play with color combinations, for motivation, and to illustrate thoughts in vivid color. I like to put them on my Inspiration Board.
The "Soar" ATC was made by collecting clippings from maps, packaging, magazines and greeting cards and attaching to cardstock using Mod Podge. The turquoise edging is with Caran D'Ache Neocolors.
My 8 yr old and I make ATCs together. She creates funky designs by taping together patterned cardstock or draws with paint markers or gel pens on black cardstock. Her "Paisley" ATC is drawn with silver Sharpie paint marker and colored pencils.
One way to take a playing card (conveniently just the right size) and paint it with white gesso. Let it dry a few minutes and add doodles, acrylic paint, text from magazines or patterned cardstock. Gesso is a great base and adhesive. Mod Podge is a great adhesive to attach flat ephemera to ATCs.
The only rule other than the size is that you not sell them. Just keep or trade them.