Near the end of last year, a friend of mine on the Art Forum I belong too, introduced our membership to the concept of Artist Trading Cards. These tiny pictures are made and traded by artists of all ages and abilities, all over the world. There are few rules, but each must be 3.5 inches by 2.5 inches and they are usually traded in an agreed way often between two artists, but sometimes in groups or on special websites and never for cash…that would make them ACEO’s and not ATC’s. ACEO stands for “Art Card Originals and Editions”.
These modern day minatures are fun to do. Especially if you are like me and a huge lover of fine detail. I like to paint mine, in Acrylic and I often use brushes as small as “000”! Sometimes I even use a magnifying glass. The real beauty of these things is that you can produce a completed piece of work in a really short time and feel super productive. How else can a slow poke such as me ever complete 3 pictures in an afternoon?
Because of the size, it can be a challenge to choose an effective subject for your composition. Not everything works well in such a small size. I know that in the old days artists would paint a portrait of someone small enough to fit in a locket around their neck, but, personally, I would have a tough time doing a portrait that had any real resemblance to the subject in such a small scale! Flowers, insects, landscapes and individual still life type items (a cup of tea?) all make great subjects. I recently found out that the Philadelphia Museum of Art has a HUGE collection of people’s left eyes, as minatures……what’s that all about?! An eye would make a great ATC too!
Here are the links to a couple of ATC card trading sites that I like the look of, though sadly, I do not really have the time to take this on as a way of life! http://www.illustratedatcs.com/ (which is a juried site, you have to submit some kind of portfolio of your work to join) and also http://www.atcsforall.com/ a more general site, for all skill levels. Maybe this is something that piques YOUR interest? Are there any other casual and intermittent ATC makers out there?? Drop me a line and tell me YOUR ATC or ACEO story!
Above are some examples of ATC’s that I have painted – don’t be fooled by the collage effect, they are all the same size in reality. Some have been traded, many have not. When I make an ATC for someone specific, I often make 2 or three and then decide which one I want to send them! – I also have a small but growing collection of cards I have received from my JWJ Artforum friends (https://www.jwjonline.net/JWJforum/ ) . It’s like Christmas when one of those shows up in the mail for me…I love it!