Artist Trading Cards

ATC’s or artist trading cards are created with many different mediums on a small substrate, the size of a regular playing card.  These miniature works of art are collected and traded at conventions and online, much in the same manner as baseball cards.  In my book, Creative Tangle, I show three different examples of these types of cards, using an array of different mediums and materials.  They’re basically a blank canvas, to quickly create something wonderful in a smaller format. The materials needed for the ATC below were items that I already had on hand in my studio:  Colored card stock, Tombow markers, Micron pens in .03 and .08 sizes, glue stick, 3-D sticky dots, regular playing card and various ephemera.


Trace around a standard playing card onto colored card stock and cut out.  I made a simple sketch on a scrap piece of paper and transferred it onto my piece of light-green card stock.  I went over the entire surface with a kneaded eraser, to remove any excess lead.


Next, I used the markers to fill in the shapes and add the base layer of color to my card.  You could easily begin with a piece of plain white card stock, but I wanted another colored background layer for my monochromatic design using various shades of green.  The ephemera used in the final step, was prepared beforehand.  I cut the butterfly shape from a collage sheet and the ladybug was an ink-stamped image that I colored red.


I completed the detail with black Micron pens.  At this point, I decided to add yellow to some of the shapes and tie in the color of the butterfly.  I used a glue stick to attach the ladybug to the card and used the Micron pen to draw the legs and antenna afterward.  You could glue the butterfly shape flat to the card, as well, but I decided to give it a three-dimensional effect by using the sticky dots.  It takes no time at all to make your own “pocket-size Picasso!”     

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