Artist Trading Cards

Artist Trading Cards are the perfect way to end the year and focus on Unity and Variety.

Supplies:

  • 2.5″ x 3.5″ cards: watercolor, black, printmaking, scratch art paper and white card stock
  • Drawing materials (markers, black pens, metallic colored pencils, oil pastels)
  • Paint materials (acrylic paint, watercolors, watercolor pencils)
  • Collage materials (glue sticks, scissors, magazines, colorful paper)
  • Printmaking materials (carving tools, brayers, ink)
  • Scratch art sticks

Artist Trading Cards were the perfect final project, for so many reasons. It gave my students the freedom to choose which of the materials they wanted to use. It was a lot of fun for them to trade with each other and another art class. And the project made the idea of Unity and Variety easy to understand.

Artist Trading Cards are the perfect way to end the year and focus on Unity and Variety.

I started by explaining the definition of unity and variety. Then I showed my students examples of different sets of artist trading cards and asked them to explain how the set had unity and how it had variety. When they started sketching, I had them pick some kind of theme that would tie all of their cards together.

Artist Trading Cards are the perfect way to end the year and focus on Unity and Variety.

The most exciting part of this projects was setting out all of the different materials that we had worked with over the year and letting my students choose which medium they wanted to use for each card. I put a list of the supplies they could choose from on the board and also posted maps of which tables had which supplies. When they started a new card, they would take their work to the table that had the materials they needed. It was great that they got a chance to move around the room and sit with new people. (It also helped with that end of the year antsy-ness.)

Artist Trading Cards are the perfect way to end the year and focus on Unity and Variety.

The materials they could choose from were colored pencil, black pens, oil pastels, metallic colored pencils, watercolors, watercolor pencils, acrylic paint, collage, printmaking, scratch art, and markers. I let them decide if they wanted each card to be a different medium or if they wanted to use the same materials more than once.

Artist Trading Cards are the perfect way to end the year and focus on Unity and Variety.

I had a paper station set up, that had three different kind of paper (black, watercolor, and white card stock). Each stack was labeled with the materials that would work well on that paper. There was also a sign that told them to ask me for scratch art and printmaking paper. I cut way more paper than I knew they would need, so I didn’t have to worry about them running out. Being able to help themselves to whatever supplies they needed helped the project to run smoothly. I did have to keep an eye out for students who would just sit when they finished a card. Usually a nudge from me would get them started on the next one.

Artist Trading Cards are the perfect way to end the year and focus on Unity and Variety.

They had room to sketch seven cards, and I encouraged them to create all seven. I gave the project an end date, and students were able to trade with whatever amount of cards they had at the time. We traded with another art teacher’s class, which made the project much more interesting. We went to her room, the students set out all of their cards, and walked around to see everyone’s work. When it got to the trading part, we left it very open-ended. Students could decide how many cards they wanted to trade and how they wanted to trade. I did tell them they had to trade at least one card because the critique had a question about a card they traded for.

Artist Trading Cards are the perfect way to end the year and focus on Unity and Variety.

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