Saturday, April 05, 2014

Artist Trading Cards, part 1

Yesterday we began a new art project... making our own artist trading cards. In case you haven't heard of these, they are little works of art made on trading card sized blanks. They are popular in the artist community and are always traded, never sold. I thought it would be fun to make our own attempt at them. Oh, and the reason this is titled 'part 1' is that what would be the point of making trading cards if you don't have a chance to trade them? We've invited our friends, the P Family and the H-S Family to make some of their own, and then next month we will have a trading card party. (Of course, since I arranged this way back in August, the mothers of these families may be surprised by this.)

It was a huge success, based both on the engagement of the participants and the final products. First I ordered a bunch of blanks. Yes, I could have cut card stock down to the proper dimensions, but the cards were so inexpensive that I decided to purchase them. I ordered smooth Bristol board blanks and they were so nice to work with, I think that contributed to the project's success. (I'll add a plug for giving children real art supplies and not kiddie versions. Have you ever tried to use the kiddie versions? It's incredibly frustrating.) I also ordered plastic sleeves for each card. Putting the cards in the sleeves made it suddenly look so much more important. Everyone loved slipping their artwork into the sleeve and admiring it.

We began yesterday morning by talking about what artist trading cards are and looking at a lot of examples. (Pinterest is perfect for this. Search the term 'artist trading cards' and you'll have more images than you could possibly want.) I also mentioned that each artist trading card needs to have the name of the artist on the back, contact information (for older people who have such things), and the title of the piece. At first this threw everyone, "Title? I have to title it? I don't like to title things!" Yet, I think, like the plastic sleeves, this small thing changed the way everyone thought about what they were doing and made it more important and worthy of time and effort.

After discussing the cards and showing them a few that I had made in advance out of different media, it was time to make them. I only gave each person one blank at a time to stop them from just churning them out. (This was a particular concern for the younger half.) We also got out nearly every craft supply we own. There were old magazines and books, glue, colored pencils, tape, doodads, needles and thread, pastels, watercolors, and markers. Each child made between two and three cards in the two hours we worked on them. Even the little girls took a long time for each card. It was two hours of contented busyness with everyone focused on their own work. 

Here are the results:


Some close-ups:

By D. on left and P. on right

By L. on left and A. on right

By H. 

By P. on left and TM on right


By A. on top and D. on bottom

By P. on left and G. on right

1 comment:

MamaPPod said...

Um, yeah, one of those mothers is a little surprised. It does, however, explain why I now have 3 packs of blank artist trading cards in my house "for next month".

I suppose I will need to schedule an art day in my future, too??

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