Artist Trading Card Process – Meego

meego sc final

Artist trading cards are fun to do.  Not only are they small, easy, and relatively quick, they’re also nice and portable.  They fit into any trading card case or protective sleeve and many people like to keep binders full of ones they’ve collected.  I started doing ATCs about a year ago for my table at Heroes Con in Charlotte with colored pencils and really like how they came out.  Several people have asked me to make some process shots to show how I made them, so here we are.

Meego is a character I created for a 6 page comic called Grob the Great in the 100 Days of Comics first anthology.  A Kickstarter launch for it is in the works and I’ll be posting more artwork related to it in the future.  In the meantime if you’d like to follow along or see some sketches and works in progress, check out the THEE 100’s Comics Anthology Facebook page.

The first thing to start with is the trading cards themselves.  You can make your own by cutting up Bristol board, but the pre-made ones are pretty cheap.  You can find them in most craft stores and on Amazon for a reasonable price.  They come in different paper types depending on what you’re using to make them, but I use Strathmore Smooth Surface Bristol trading cards because it takes inks and pencils well.  The only caveat to this is that you really need to let your inks dry before cleaning up pencils and coloring them or it will smear.  If you don’t have one already, now would also be a good time to invest in a kneaded rubber eraser.  I use mine for everything from erasing pencils under inks to lightning up areas on a pencil drawing and always have 2 or 3 hanging around in my art supplies.

meego sc blank

I started my card with a light pencil sketch using a mechanical #2 pencil.  Unless you’re planning to make the graphite part of the final piece, it’s good to keep them light so they’re easy to erase later on.

meego sc pencil

Next I inked it using superfine and extra-superfine PITT pens from Faber Castell which I like because they use India ink.  Again, let your inks dry completely before moving on to the next step which is erasing the underlying pencils.

meego sc erase

Now it’s time to add color.  With this piece I used Sargent colored pencils which work well for all-purpose coloring.  Some people swear by Crayola, but those tend to break when using extra pressure for a deeper color so it pays to spend a little more for better quality.  The trick with any colored pencils is to start light and gradually layer the color on.  As you get near the end, add more pressure for a richer, deeper color.  Keep a pencil sharpener and kneaded eraser handing for details and cleaning up any oops.

meego sc layering.jpg

meego sc no starz

After I finished with the colors, I still needed to add some background stars.  For this I used a Faber Castell PITT pen in white #101.  Whiteout is an acceptable and cheaper alternative, but I already had this pen in my supplies to use for signing art prints so that’s what I used.

In any case, that’s it!  Go forth and experiment with your own artist trading card masterpieces and be sure to have some fun with it.  And remember… a little glitter goes a long way! (speaking from personal experience)


Rock Painting – Acrylics and Inks

Rock painting seems to be the latest craze, and why not?  It’s something anyone can do, it’s fun, and you can get really creative with it.  The best part is that it doesn’t need to be an expensive project.  You can use materials as cheap or fancy as you like.  There are even groups dedicated to sharing these little masterpieces treasure-hunt style if you enjoy that sort of thing.  Martin County Rocks is a great example of this and I encourage anyone to check them out for ideas.

I decided to make my first painted rocks with acrylics, but there are many other options which I plan to experiment with later.  The first step is gathering up your materials, like your canvas.  Which happens to be a rock.  I got mine at Home Depot, but you can get them pretty much anywhere including your back yard.  The rocks I’m using in this project are Mexican beach pebbles which I chose for their smooth surface.

Once you get your rocks, you’re going to want to prepare them for painting.  Here comes gesso to the rescue!  I found some great gesso on Amazon that was relatively inexpensive and it seems to do the job well.  The one I chose has a white finish, but there are clear ones too which I’m planning to try later.  I also got me a brush set with two paint tray palettes so my younger one could join in without us having to fight over supplies.  The links are below if you want to check them out.

Once you’ve got your rocks gesso’d up, it’s time to get to work.  And by work, I mean creating awesome little masterpieces.  Because I wanted to be able to blend a variety of colors, I got a set of Daler Rowney acrylic tube paints which I was pretty pleased with.  And because I’m also a cartoonist, I got some Ultra Fine Sharpies to add some lines at the end.  This last part had an unexpected consequence which I will get to in a moment.  But in the meantime, here’s what I came up with for my first painted rocks… a rose, a burger, and two fish.

Not bad for a first try right?  Well let’s get back to the Sharpie debacle, shall we?  When you create a rocky masterpiece that would potentially go outside and be exposed to the elements, you’ll want to protect it with a sealant.  I chose a glossy clear acrylic spray sealer from Plaid which I’ve used before to seal crafts and it’s worked really well for me.  That’s when I discovered that acrylic sealers make “permanent” Sharpie ink run.  So note to self.

In any case… what ever rocky masterpiece you decide to create, the important thing is to have fun with it.  Even if your inks run like a murky river on a hot tropical day.

Rock on!

About Carrie Likes Coffee

This my personal weekly blog dedicated to art, crafts, comics, and related entertainment.  It will be filled with how-to’s, reviews, and project ideas with a generous dash of my odd sense of humor so be prepared.  Or not.  It’s all good.

I made the decision to create this blog as an outlet for my creative side and to appease that part of me that loves to teach, tell stories, and entertain.  Art and crafting have been a huge part of my life since I was a small child and I grew up surrounded by strong women that love to create things.  There was my great-aunt Elsie who wrote poetry and my great-aunt Della who had a special passion for flower arrangements.  My grandmother loved painting, baking, and knitting.   My mom had a talent for drawing and music.  As a mom myself, I have two wonderfully creative and talented children who love to draw, paint, and generally make a mess.  This blog is dedicated to all of them with love.