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Make Mini Art with Artist Trading Cards (ATCs)

I have always been most at ease when creating on a small scale; finding large, blank areas intimidating. The same might also be the case for my boys, who upon discovering a few packs of Artist Trading Cards among my craft supplies, asked if they could have them and then quickly set about composing with markers, pens and paint. My youngest is always drawing but it was a wonderful surprise to see my oldest using his stack to paint beautiful pictures.

Artist Trading Cards (or ATCs) are only 2 ½ X 3 ½ inches, the same size as trading and baseball cards, so they fit into standard size card-collector pockets or sheets.

I have always been most at ease when creating on a small scale; finding large, blank areas intimidating. The same might also be the case for my boys, who upon discovering a few packs of Artist Trading Cards among my craft supplies, asked if they could have them and then quickly set about composing with markers, pens and paint. My youngest is always drawing but it was a wonderful surprise to see my oldest using his stack to paint beautiful pictures.

Artist Trading Cards (or ATCs) are only 2 ½ X 3 ½ inches, the same size as trading and baseball cards, so they fit into standard size card-collector pockets or sheets. The cards themselves, found alongside drawing supplies in arts and crafts stores, are available for both wet and dry media (watercolor, canvas, bristol, acrylic). Sheets are not bound and come in resealable plastic packets at less than $2.00 per pack. You could also cut paper into your own cards but somehow my boys think it is more exciting to have pre-cut packs from the store (another inherited trait?).

The idea behind ATCs is to create original miniature works of art and then swap, trade and collect them with friends and other artists. Presently, my young enthusiasts would rather make and keep their own series of cards for themselves and that is fine with me.

If you are looking for an inexpensive activity that is not only wireless but fosters tactile creativity and is easy to store, consider an afternoon of ATCs.

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5 comments
  • Was planning to take photos but the whirlwind of the weekend overtook me! One boy did thoughtful abstracts in blue along with abstract sword fights. Think Mark Rothko meets the Three Musketeers. Other son played with colored pencils and rubber stamps – also abstract. Both conscious that grandmothers may not want light sabers. I did watercolor flowers. Cannot wait to make more!

  • Elyse, we have been making trading cards too! I didn’t know there was a special paper being sold for this. AMAZING NEWS! Would you like to try to curate a show–the BPL (barrington) might hang such a show. All of the closet trading card makers should take this opportunity to come out.

  • I didn’t realize these came precut! What fun. I’ve cut down watercolor paper into smaller squares so we can paint small, but I haven’t thought of making it trading card size. Ooh, I think my boys would LOVE that. They can make trading cards of all their made-up characters!!

Written by Elyse Major