Thursday, April 18, 2013

Creating Art Cards and Using Them For Comic Promotion

Art cards are like little jewels. Despite their tiny size, they can make an impact. On top of that, they give art lovers the chance to own a piece of limited or original art from their favorite artist--or their favorite graphic novelist--at a reasonable price. 
Collection of ATCs or art cards
A little bit of my own art card collection. They're all one-of-a-kind.

Art Cards Definition

Art cards are usually called ATCs or ACEOs. ATC stands for Artist Trading Card, which is what an art card becomes when it's put up to be traded with other art cards. ACEO is an acronym for Artist Card Edition or Original.  This term only applies to art cards that are being sold.

Regardless of if an art card is an ATC or an ACEO,  it is expected to be the standard size, which is 2.5" x 3.5". 

Creating an Art Card

The only rule for making an art card is that it is the standard size.  Other than that, there are no limits. In the past,  I've sold ACEOs of characters from my manga. They were original pieces of art -- I drew directly on the card and there were no other copies.  Doing them was so awesome because it created a new level of interaction with readers.  Receiving hand drawn art is always something very personal, and people that enjoy your comic really appreciate receiving original art. 
Manga style art card by Arcadia
One of the art cards I created for Mascara. They
sold so fast, I couldn't keep any of the cards
 for longer than a month.

Paper that's already the right size can be purchased in many different textures. I've even seen art card sized canvas paper.

Art cards aren't limited to traditional art. Digital artists can create art card sized prints of their work. And if they want the rarity of an original, they can make only one print of the piece of art they want to share. If you're a digital artist, is a good place to start.

When you're done creating an art card, place it in a plastic sleeve for protection. Trading card sleeves are perfect for this.

Also remember to sign and date the back!

Selling Art Cards

Etsy is a very popular place to sell art cards. Prices can range from $2 to over $40. It all comes down to how much effort you've put into creating the card, and how much you value that effort.  A card that took hours to make should be more expensive than one that only took half an hour. An original is more valuable than a print. Also find others who are doing art similar to yours and see how much they are selling their cards for.

The thing that I find the most impressive about art cards is that they prove that artwork doesn't have have to be huge to be memorable.  Something small and simple can say just as much. Maybe even more.

So what do you think about art cards? Feel free to comment and share your thoughts!