Over the past couple of days I've been sketching birds on tiny sheets of paper sized 2.5" x 3.5". The sheets are called Artist Trading Cards (ATCs), and I'm having a lot of fun with them. My two friends, Amy and Chelle (waving to them), gave me a couple of packs of "assorted" Artist Trading Cards five or six months ago. I've moved them from here to there, always intending on getting started with them, but never really knowing what to do with them. A couple of days ago, I opened a pack and read about the ATC movement. I'm so out of the loop I really didn't know what there were about. Here is blurb from the introduction of an assorted pack of Strathmore ATCs:
"Artist trading cards (ATCs) are miniature pieces of art that are traded around the world. Artists create, trade and collect art at organized "swap" events, either in person or online. It is a great way to meet other artists and share your work. The only official rule for ATCs is the size: 2.5" x 3.5"."Seems in 1997 a Mr. M. Vanci Stirnemann from Switzerland created 1200 of these small cards by hand for an exhibit. On the last day, he asked the other participants to create their own ATCs and trade with him at a closing party. That was all it took. The movement took off as other artists started creating and trading miniature pieces of artwork. I've started using them to sketch whenever I have a few extra minutes. I have the cards by my computer and all I have to do is bring up old photos to get started. I just did 12 cards and can already see a style emerging.
...first three ATCs are of a Red-headed Woodpecker. I took these photos on 12-05-09. I was in Cleveland and went birding with Loopy and the Doodles (from Birds from Behind). Bringing up old photos and drawing them brings back all the memories from that day. The images on the first three ATCs are very small and light with nary a hint at detail or accuracy--the paper was slick, and I think they are destined for pen and ink and watercolor. Click here for the original post of photos.
...the second set of three are of a Northern Flicker. I found this little lady at Fort Ancient. I can see more detail emerging and the images are larger (less bird fits on a card). Click here for the photos that inspired these drawings.
...set three...a White-breasted Nuthatch from the Little Miami River Bike Trail. He was so sweet. These photos never made it on to the blog because they were a bit blurry, but for sketching I don't need high quality. I can see the style getting darker and and larger. Less and less of the bird fits on the card, but it's cool, because the bird's personality is starting to show through. This series might end up as colored pencil renderings.
...finally, in the last set I've switched to just head shots. The eyes always bring art to life, so it doesn't surprise me that I'd focus on the head. I found this Red-bellied Woodpecker on the Little Miami Bike Trail as well. I remember watching him eating the berries. I could hardly breathe trying to capture that moment when he had a berry in his bill! You can find the post of these photos here.
Rick snapped this photo of me late last night as I sketched out the last Red-bellied Woodpecker in the series. You can see the other ATCs on the desk. It's a great way to get art into your life when you don't have a lot of time. I leave the cards on the desk and whenever I have a few extra minutes I sit down, pull up a photo on the screen, and sketch it.
...now...let's see how quickly I can get color onto them to get the 100 Paintings in a Year Challenge back in swing! I've completed 37 paintings. That only leaves me 63 paintings to complete by December 31. Oh boy...