Artist trading cards (atc) Background: a trading card

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A trading card is a 2.5 x 3.5 card, usually made out of tag-board or thick paper,

which usually contains an image of a certain person, place or thing (fictional or real) and a short description of the picture, along with other text (attacks, statistics, or trivia).

Trading cards are traditionally associated with sports; baseball cards are especially well-known. Cards dealing with other subjects are often considered a separate category from sports cards, known as non-sports trading cards. These often feature cartoons, comic book characters, television series and film stills. In the 1990s, cards designed specifically for playing games became popular enough to develop into a distinct category, collectible card games. These tend to use either fantasy subjects or sports as the basis for game play.


You will design and create nine 2.5 x 3.5 personal Artist Trading Cards. Your cards

must have a theme, and you must then make nine variations of that theme.

A theme is a unifying or main idea, motif, etc., in a work of art. On the back of each card you must write your name and a different statement about art.

A statement can include a quote, an expression, or a definition to each card.

Sketch out nine cards and write your statements before creating your final project. Once your ideas have been planned you may begin the final project. Upon completion of your cards there will be a class critique of the cards and finally you will get to trade your cards.

Theme Examples:

Altered faces




Where I live

Family Events

Favorite time period

Favorite things

Heroes & Heroines

Historical Events





Mythological creatures


Ode to famous artists




Playing Cards


Seven Wonders


Special Places

Solar Systems

Steam Punk

Story books


Tim Burton


Impress Yourself!
Use 3 of the following techniques/processes to begin your first 3 trading cards.
1. Use magazine pictures to collage and paint with acrylic.

2. Use paint or colored pencils to create a monochromatic scene.

3. Glue textured or patterns items on the card.

4. Try a Round Robin ATC where one artist starts working on a car and then passes it on to the next artist.

5. Try to use the elements of art in your creations.

6. Create an image using radial symmetry.

7. Layer items or drawing to give the illusion of space.

8. Create a card using images and words that give a sense of a time or place in history.

9. Repeat shapes or items.

10. Create a drawing of an animal that goes with your theme.

Remember: Write your name & statement legibly on the back.

Materials will be laid out on the side counter next to the light box. Start off by getting your first 3 cards. You may get more as needed.

You may need:

9 Trading cards

Magazine paper

Scrap paper


Colored pencils

Oil pastels



Acrylic paint

Watercolor paint

Paint brushes

Silly Scissors



If you need any other supplies, let me know.

Mistakes to Avoid:
1. Avoid boring plain designs.

2. Avoid using only words-use texture, symbols or images.

3. Avoid too many tiny details on the card- its only 2.5 x 3.5 inches

4. Avoid sloppy construction- be proud of what you create, we will be displaying these.

5. Be sure to carefully glue all items down to the background.


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