ATC Swap (Artist Trading Card)

Studio Sprout participated in an official Artist Trading Card Swap! This was an amazing success and provided endless opportunities for learning.  Each child made a small series of art and mailed them off to peers across the country and world. We studied maps to learn where our swap mates lived and learned how to address and stamp snail mail. It’s rare to get fun mail as an adult and almost unheard of for children to send and receive their own mail. I can barely describe the fun and excitement for this project.

I heard about the swap from a Studio Sprout parent and pitched the idea to my Wednesday 2:30 class because the children all fell in the age range of the swap, 4-12. With the support of the parents I registered the entire class under my address so that I could collect the incoming art and present it to the class.
We spent several class times working on our Artist Trading Cards. I chose sharpie and watercolor as the medium for the cards because the process is fun and the results stunning. At our local art store I found pre-cut ATC paper in the exact size (2.5″ x 3.5″) — score!
On the first day of this project each student chose a  theme for their series and drew with sharpies.

Each card is sent to a different artist of the same age. Groups variy in size from seven to nine kids, which meant some of my students created six cards and some up to eight.
Some of my younger students were enthralled by the dark permanence of a black sharpie and experimented with figurative work as well as bold marks.

The following week we added Glitter Liquid Water Color. This really brought life to the drawings. Similar to oil pastel resist, the sharpie repels the watercolor.

I was impressed with how serious my students were about their art. They were very concerned with the product knowing this would be sent to several other artist peers and were incredibly thoughtful and careful with their work.

On the third day we adhered pre-printed labels to the back of the cards. The labels each stated: students name, age, city, state, and art medium. This was a requirement of the swap.

Because each card goes to a different individual it’s not necessary to make each original. One of my students enjoyed making her image in mass.

On the last day of class we opened all the cards that had arrived. It felt like a birthday with excitement in the air. We all  noted where each card came from, discovered a wide variety of stamps, and “ohhed and ahhed” over the art. Some of our swap mates were international. We received art from Canada, England, Scotland, Australia, and Malaysia.

A few swap artists included letters about themselves. These were truly special gifts and increased the students connection with the art and the swap as a whole. Next time I think we will do this too!

To learn more about the ATC Swap we participated in you can visit bright eyes + blue eyes

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