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I decided to participate in Craftster's January ATC swap. Artist Trading Cards (ATCs) are small crafts that are freely exchanged between individuals, around the world, usually via snail mail, as an exercise to interact with other artists and experience/collect samples of their work. Basically, you "claim" the most recent participant before you, select one of their listed themes as the subject matter for the card that you'll subsequently make for them, and then post your own preferences for an ATC so that the next person who comes along can do the same for you. I selected "spikefan", a woman from North Carolina, and picked her moths/butterflies theme. In particular, she wanted a card based on one of the species pictured on her Pinterest page.

After mulling my options, I elected to do a black and red specimen (Crimson Swallowtail) as I liked that color combination.

I made the butterfly out of paper, white glue, and sewing thread and embellished it with acrylic paint, graphite pencil, colored pencil, and ink. I then sandwiched the insect (along with a little slip of paper with my name, the date, and edition number on it) between two sheets of transparent plastic, from a toy package, and sealed it with super glue. I considered sticking some dried flowers or leaves in there too, but was concerned that might make it too "busy", so, I opted for simplicity--that and I was kind of going for the microscope slide look to begin with.

After waiting a little over a week, and being informed that the card had not yet reached its destination, I grew concerned that my first paper insect had gotten lost, or stolen, in the mail, so, as outlined in the swap's rules, I decided to proceed with constructing the required replacement card. My impatience and paranoia proved groundless though, as spikefan did finally receive my original butterfly ATC in the mail, shortly after I had given up hope. She let me know in the nick of time, as such, I didn't send out the second ATC needlessly, however, after she saw my photographs of the new card, spikefan contacted me again and indicated that she'd like to have that one too, if I was willing to part with it. Seeing as how I made it specifically for her to begin with, and I already had it set to go in the addressed envelope anyway, I granted her request and shipped butterfly #2 off to join her, and its' predecessor, in North Carolina.

For said second butterfly ATC attempt, I opted to make a white, black, and scarlet one (Red Pierrot), rather than doing the same species again.

It was made in a very similar manner to the first one, although I did try some different things (folding the wings to create the veins rather than drawing them on, using a black permanent marker to color it, etc.) The rectangular base structure is cardboard (from a potato chip box) with a photograph of blue sky and clouds (from an advertisement in the June/July 2013 issue of Lucky magazine) glued onto it.

I didn't bother taking progress photos with my first butterfly, but I did this time, so, here are some images of the paper insect while it was still under construction:

And this is what the finished card looks like. I also drew another butterfly, in ink and colored pencil, on the back for the heck of it:


  • (Black and red butterfly card): White paper, white glue, sewing thread, newsprint, acrylic paint, ink, graphite pencil, colored pencil, transparent plastic from a toy package, and super glue.

  • (White, black, and red butterfly card): White paper, white glue, cardboard from a potato chip box, tissue paper, a colored advertisement page from a magazine, sewing thread, permanent marker, acrylic paint, ink, and colored pencil.
  • Dimensions:
    Both cards are 8.9 cm (3.5") wide x 6.4 cm (2.5") tall (which is the standard ATC size).

    Two days each in January 2015. I made the black and red one on the 13th - 14th, while the white, black, and red insect was done on the 24th - 25th.

    Okay, so, now that you've seen what I made, you're probably wondering what I got in return, right? Craftster member "rockmygypsysoul" picked me, and my "toy characters/things from the 1980s-to-the-present" theme. Her letter arrived in the mail on 2/12/15, and, upon opening it, I was greeted with this smaller green-and-white-striped envelope, sealed with a metallic star sticker (which I'm going to save).

    As soon as I carefully freed the flap, I could see a lock of hair and a portion of a face peeking out, but who could it be? Why, it's our berry good friend, Strawberry Shortcake! To me, the card appears to have been drawn in graphite and colored pencil (which are two mediums that I also favor when I make an illustration) and her attire/look is based upon Hasbro's (2009-2013) promotional artwork of the character (a variety of toy companies have held the licensing rights to manufacture toys of Ms. Shortcake, and her friends, from the original copyright holder, American Greetings, over the years).

    My Angel Cake, Lemon Meringue, and Crepes Suzette figures are ecstatic with rockmygypsysoul's portrait of their fearless leader!

    This is a lovely card of the little redheaded charmer, in an adorable pose, and it will always be extra special to me because it's the first ATC that I ever received! Thank you much, rockmygypsysoul!

    Please check out rockmygypsysoul's Etsy shop or blog if you're interested in seeing, or purchasing, more of her work!

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