Amy S. Turner - AckLfee Artworks - Art Licensing, Graphic Design, Illustration, Colored Pencil Art, Childrens Book Illustration, Art Blog

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Ode to Itty Bitty Art....

You have probably noticed if you have wandered through my personal, online galleries that there are quite a few pages of itty bitty artworks called "Artist Trading Cards" or ATCs. They are a phenomenon that came about when a few artists in Europe in 1996 decided that they were tired of not being able to afford to own full sized art from other artists. They began creating small pieces which they mailed to each other in trade.

See here for a little more info:

I was introduced to ATCs in early 2007 when our Chicago Chapter of the Colored Pencil Society of America had it’s own little demo on the topic. We eventually had a terrifically fun swap a month or two later with some marvelous artwork swapping hands amongst the members. That was it...I was hooked!

I joined an ATC online swap site called and soon I was off and trading. So far, I’ve traded all over the US and Canada, Mexico also, and as far away as New Zealand, Europe and Japan (with cards owed to a marvelous artist/trader in South Africa). If you get a chance to check out the site, I think you’d really enjoy seeing all the different styles as these are not only for drawings or painting but collage and other forms as well.

It’s probably very obvious from the subject matter that different swaps have different themes. But one doesn’t have to join large can also trade one on one if you have a favorite artist or wish to swap for more than a regular swap (which is either 3 or 6 cards relating to the swap theme). I’ve had my cards featured in magazines and in books on the subject (one will be coming out soon - I’ll let y’all know when it’s available) and have won a few awards for them.

The best thing about these cards are that they don’t take as much time as trying to finish a larger scale piece. Not only do they allow you to loosen up artistically, but they allow you to change techniques and subject matter quickly from piece to piece. You just can’t get bored doing these!

If you get the chance, I would suggest creating a few ATCs yourself and see how much fun you’ll have. I bet you get hooked too! Pre-made ATC cards are available through most online art supply stores (I shop for both blank cards and little envelopes to send them off in).

Any questions on ATCs or where to get materials? Just drop me a note!
Have a wonderful week!
~ Amy


Patience, Patience, Patience!!!

It seems that the one thing that I am constantly reminded to have is patience. Patience with people, patience with myself, patience with circumstances, patience with creating art. Obviously, my chosen creative medium, colored pencils, demands much patience; layer upon layer, inch upon inch to cover, detail upon detail. Beyond the technicalities which I can control, patience, like a mosquito buzzing in your ear, is always just out of reach but you know it’s there somewhere!
The hard part for me is to finish a project, probably one that has taken me quite a bit of time and effort, only to have progress stall once it leaves my hands. This instant gratification world probably has more than a bit to do with that, but more often it’s the enthusiasm I have for the project which gets the better of my patience.
Take in point the children’s book I have been working on. It has been quite a learning experience for me in that I have read all of the guidelines needed, mastered certain techniques and took the project from an idea straight through to production in one fell swoop...with no errors so far. I’m very proud of myself and hope to do this many more times with my own picture books. That said however, now I must wait for the large company I am dealing with to grind through it’s process and here’s where the patience must be applied.

As of today, I am still waiting for a proof which was supposedly mailed a week ago (my mail gets to Japan faster - I know, quit crabbing). Then I gauge to proof, see if everything is to my liking. If all is well, another proof goes out to the story’s creator (another week, two). Finally, when everyone agrees, the book goes live on Amazon. We’re actually in the home stretch but it feels like forever.

I actually began the project back in February 2010 with an email from the author, Lindie Racz. She gave me a rough outline and I was off to the races. Roughs to lay out the action, illustrations made, then text written to match the illustrations...when I finished all this, then the fun of scanning, design, layout and pre-press. Last week, all was uploaded and voila, okayed for print.

So like I said, the waiting is the hardest part (isn’t that a song?), but makes the whole thing worth it in the end. So patience it is! Ah, elusive patience!

Thanks for reading! Have a terrific week!
~ Amy


About Me

I am a self-employed graphic artist of 18+ years, working mainly in the print and specialty events areas of design.