Artist Trading Cards

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Two weeks ago, the art teacher came to us with a request. He was beginning a unit on Artist Trading Cards, and wanted us to make some as examples for the students. I had never heard of Artist Trading Cards before, so I did a little searching. “Swiss artist M. Vanci Stirnemann first developed the concept of Artist Trading Cards in 1996, when he decided to document his activities with other artists by producing a catalogue of 1,200 cards he created by hand. He exhibited the cards at his gallery in Zürich in May 1997. On the last day of the exhibit, Stirnemann invited anyone who wanted a card to create their own ATC to trade during the closing reception. Canadian artist Chuck Stake participated in a Trading Session while in Zürich. Stake became very enthusiastic about ATCs and collaborated with Stirnemann to stage “The First International Biennial of Artist Trading Cards” at The New Gallery in Calgary, Canada that included 80 artists from 10 different countries. Since then, with the help of the Internet, interest in ATCs has spread around the globe.”

Granted, this tends to be something shared among the painters and other graphic artists, but while working on mine, it suddenly occurred to me that this would be a really neat thing for writers to do, too. When you follow the spirit of the project, each card is unique. No making copies on a Xerox to give out two hundred of them. The charm of the cards, for me, was in how each one is a miniature window into a writer’s world. I made three – two of them displayed objects from Mad Kestrel and Kestrel’s Dance (the soon-to-be-turned-in sequel) and the one in the middle was just….piratey.

Granted these were made for the art teacher, but I’m considering making more, to be used as neat little promotional giveaways or prizes. I enjoyed searching for graphic representations of my stories, and fitting it all into a tiny card. If you’re interested in making your own artist cards, here’s a brief explanation about how to get started.

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12 comments to Artist Trading Cards

  • Misty I would absolutly *adore* doing this. I can see what great giveaways they would be, or for fans to win in a contest or in a drawing. Displaying them on a website would be something no other (or few other) writers would ever do. But … considering my artistic ability … Well, let’s just say there is a reason I work with stone beads. Short of using a hammer, it’s hard to destroy them.

    *You* however! I love what you have done and hope you’ll do some more and put them front and center on your website. When Kestrel’s Dance comes out, I think you should have a contest right here for one or more.

  • Neat. 🙂 Seems like something fun to stick in maybe one book out of who knows how many sold or signed at a con. One lucky person sort of thing.

    Might be something fun for me to put together some time, if I ever get time to spare.

    If these links post–and these are all mass produced so they don’t fall into this category–they are the post cards and business cards for our indie FX team. The last one is a little Thanksgiving holiday card. All were drawn by me and put together and colored with the help of Photoshop.

    Our Promo Card:
    Front: http://i24.photobucket.com/albums/c9/DanSJVDavis/PodunkvilleFXPostcardSmall1in.jpg
    Back: http://i541.photobucket.com/albums/gg384/podunkville_fx/PodunkvilleFXPostcardBkpsd.jpg

    Business Card:
    http://i541.photobucket.com/albums/gg384/podunkville_fx/PodunkvilleBusinessCardFront2.png

    Holiday Card:
    http://i541.photobucket.com/albums/gg384/podunkville_fx/CooterThanksgiving.jpg

  • I wonder if you could do something similar with bookmarks. I guess that’s trite, but I was thinking that a long thin card with a ribbon would be a great trading card or keepsake for a book lover to see every time she opened a book.

  • You all might be interested in this post over on John Scalzi’s Whatever.

    And here’s a link to Scalzi’s personal card.

  • heteromeles said I wonder if you could do something similar with bookmarks.

    I don’t think that’s trite at all. Original handmade things make people happy. When I was getting ready for the release of Mad Kestrel, I spent a couple of weekends creating handbraided bookmarks. Each one had a black plastic scimitar on the end, with my website written in silver on the blade. The idea was to give those to anyone who showed up to a signing dressed in pirate clothes. I still have a few, and people ask for them sometimes, but they were so labor-intensive I haven’t made any more. 😀

    Faith, that was my plan, actually. Maybe sometime all the Magical Words bloggers can make one each, and we can have a big contest this summer to give them away.

  • Misty, what a cool idea. I don’t consider myself artistic AT ALL, but I think this could be a lot of fun. Particularly if you do it with several other writers, and if there are pitchers of margaritas involved.

  • Oh, and I BTW, I still have my Misty Massey braided scimitar bookmark…..

  • Holy coolness, Batman! Those cards are fantastic, and I love the bookmarks. If I ever plan to meet you at a con, Captain Davy J it is. Unless my pirate cycling shirt counts, which has cool printing on the front and back, “The beatings will continue until morale improves.”

    I unfortunately have minimal artistic ability, except for maybe drawing Conan-like muscle guys wielding axes and giant swords. I do make European 4-in-1 chain hauberks in my spare time (while watching NFL and NHL games actually), but I can’t see giving chain shirts away to anybody.

    Still thinking about that scimitar bookmark… What’s your con schedule?

  • I’ll make you all earrings. Maybe with pirate crossbones and skulls…

  • NewGuyDave said, Still thinking about that scimitar bookmark… What’s your con schedule?

    *grins* At the moment, Balticon (May 28-31) and ConCarolinas (June 4-6).

  • David said, I think this could be a lot of fun. Particularly if you do it with several other writers, and if there are pitchers of margaritas involved.

    Margaritas make everything more fun! 😀

  • Beatriz

    David says. . . I don’t consider myself artistic AT ALL

    I beg to differ with you. I have one of your photos hanging in my bedroom as proof of my argument.

    Faith says. . . But … considering my artistic ability … Well, let’s just say there is a reason I work with stone beads.

    You’re around a lot of rivers, aren’t you, Faith? Couldn’t you spot a few stones and sketch/paint/write/something on them? Or a bead threaded with a ribbon and/or charm that symbolized something in your books, or…. I’ll stop here before I get carried away.

    David added . . .if there are pitchers of margaritas involved

    ConCarolinas looms on the horizon. Just sayin’.

    (And I still have my scimitar bookmark, too!)