Sketch Cards!

Summer Drawing Challenge Day 14

Some years ago I was swept into the Artist Trading Card phenomenon — these are the same size as the familiar sports trading cards, 2.5 x 3.5 inches, but instead of being mass produced by a company to make money, they are made by artist, by hand, to trade with other artists. I haven’t been to a trading session in quite a while now, but I still have a big binder full of handmade cards that I have made, and another huge binder full of cards other people have made. They are all kinds of mediums, from simple pen and ink drawings to thick, tactile collages, to elaborate constructions that unfold, origami-like, to reveal a handmade print. Looking through my past posts, i realize that I haven’t written about them — I’ll have to amend that!

I recently discovered that a similar movement exists in the comic-art world, called sketch cards. But instead of being primarily made to exchange with other artists, they are made so that fans can buy a piece of original art from an artist they admire, at an affordable price. If you can’t afford to buy an original full page from a favourite comic, or a commissioned painting, sketch cards allow you collect original art for the price of, say, a couple of lattes. People sell them at conventions, on E-Bay, on Etsy, and from their own sites. Sometimes the big comic companies commission artists to make them in series.

Tonight I was wondering what to do for my drawing of the day, not feeling especially motivated or creative (Iris the Art Muse took the day off), when I remembered about sketch cards. I’ve been thinking about doing some for upcoming conventions, so this seemed a good time to start. I didn’t have to construct a whole story, or work out a character design; I could just do things I was familiar with and had drawn a lot of. Perfect! So here are the results: my first official Sketch Cards! Remember that these are only 2.5 x 3.5 inches, and will probably look much bigger on your screen.

The first one I tried was a dragon. I can draw dragons in my sleep, I've done so many of them. I started all of these with some pre-toned cards I had sitting around — I cut up watercolour paintings that didn't work out, or wash demos from my classes, into various small sizes so I'll have some handy to draw on. It just so happened I had some in trading card size already, perfect! This one is Pigma Micron for the outlines, and Pitt brush markers for the colour. If you try this, know that the markers will dissolve some of the watercolour; my yellow got a bit muddier than I like here. But it's still a cute little dragon.

The first one I tried was a dragon. I can draw dragons in my sleep, I’ve done so many of them. I started all of these with some pre-toned cards I had sitting around — I cut up watercolour paintings that didn’t work out, or wash demos from my classes, into various small sizes so I’ll have some handy to draw on. It just so happened I had some in trading card size already, perfect! This one is Pigma Micron for the outlines, and Pitt brush markers for the colour. If you try this, know that the markers will dissolve some of the watercolour; my yellow got a bit muddier than I like here. But it’s still a cute little dragon.

I wanted to try something a little more delicate here, so I just used the pen and a bit of white Prismacolor pencil. Unicorns are the same as dragons, maybe even more so — when I was young I was unicorn crazy (an offshoot of being horse-crazy), so I can draw these even when the muse is AWOL.

I wanted to try something a little more delicate here, so I just used the pen and a bit of white Prismacolor pencil. Unicorns are the same as dragons, maybe even more so — when I was young I was unicorn crazy (an offshoot of being horse-crazy), so I can draw these even when the muse is AWOL.

Since mermaids are fresh in my mind, I immediately saw the opportunity to draw one over the patterns that were already formed from the watercolour. I suppose I'm going to be doing enough mermaids that they will also be a staple somnambulant subject!

Since mermaids are fresh in my mind, I immediately saw the opportunity to draw one over the patterns that were already formed from the watercolour. I suppose I’m going to be doing enough mermaids that they will also be a staple somnambulant subject!

If you’re interested in reading more about sketch cards, here’s the article that alerted me to this idea, and here’s another one. Google them yourself if you’d like a look at lots of different artists’ work!

5 responses to “Sketch Cards!

    • Hi Lisamaree! Thanks! Hey, I notice you just reviewed “How to Train your Dragon 2” — I just saw that with some of my comics jam pals and really enjoyed it, even though I hadn’t seen the first one. We all really liked the art!

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  1. Pingback: Inspired by Inktober! | Karen Gillmore Art·

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