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Another month, another 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. For this March swap, I chose "Oath Keeper", a woman from Virginia, and picked her "Sexy Supernaturals" theme.

My knee jerk reaction was to make either a succubus or incubus, but, after some further brainstorming, I decided to do Yuki Onna (Japanese for "Snow Woman") instead. Said attractive young lady is an infamous mythological entity that is often encountered during snow storms. She typically kills travelers that she happens upon with her icy cold breath, freezing them to death, although she had been known to spare handsome young men if she takes a romantic interest in them. I drew everything, except for the snow flakes, which are white acrylic paint, in blue colored pencil and ink, to emphasize the cold feeling. I messed up the placement/shape of her breasts a bit, and got a stray ink mark on her chin, but, otherwise, I feel that Yuki Onna came out pretty well.

I also made a "bonus" second card, for one of Oath Keeper's other themes, Pokémon. She indicated that she was particularly enamored with Klefki, so that's the critter I did. Klefki is a steel/fairy type Pokémon and a kleptomaniac. It's certainly an interesting monster design, that's for sure. I've been wanting to try making a card with a bunch of cut-out areas and this was the perfect opportunity. All four keys are separate elements that can freely move around Klefki's "body" ring.

The cards were made with white paper, white glue, brown paper from a grocery bag, colored pencil, ink, marker, and acrylic paint.

Each measures 8.9 cm (3.5") x 6.4 cm (2.5"), which is the standard ATC size.
Additionally, depending on how they're hanging, Klefki's keys can add slightly to that card's measurements.

I made both cards on March 6th, 2015.

All right, so, now that you've seen what I made, you're probably wondering what I got in return, right? Craftster member "blupaisan", (the same woman that I previously made the wildcat ATC for), picked me, and my "Paper dolls (whatever you want, but I prefer women and animals)" theme. Her letter arrived in the mail on 3/20/15.

On the cover of the card that contained the ATC, blupaisan drew me a lovely picture of the Malibu Skipper doll that was her constant companion, and tree-climbing friend, in her youth. I appreciate that she shared said childhood recollection with me (it's fun to imagine a girl, and her treasured doll, happily sitting up in the branches together, watching the world unfold below, or the sky lazily pass by overhead). Funnily enough, "your favorite doll" was one of the ATC themes that I considered listing this month but ultimately didn't--in addition to being artistically talented, blupaisan must also have latent psychic powers! Alas, while I have a small army of Barbies, several Chelseas (formerly Kelly), and one Stacie (formerly Tutti), I don't currently have any Skippers in my doll collection, as such, while I would have liked to have done so, I wasn't able to shoot a photo of that particular Roberts sister holding this illustration in her arms.

For my theme, blupaisan opted to go with an animal as her focus, and crafted me a wonderful penguin paper doll, illustrated in what I believe is watercolor and ink. The Antarctic bird can lay flat, for storage, on the thick ATC backing, or be bent forward, into a standing position, when it's dress-up time. The background also has a slightly-raised dot pattern texture, which does a beautiful job of representing snowfall.

We all know that a paper doll needs clothes, and blupaisan provided me with a trio of excellent two-piece outfits to attire the bird with: pirate, hippie, and fairy themed ones!

Arr, Jack Sparrow best beware, as this 'ere feisty fowl be looking to plunder some treasure (at least a mackerel or two)!

Next, the flightless bird reminisced fondly about its' 1960s counter-culture adventures. The long hair and colorful "lived-in" attire look fabulous and all of the era-appropriate stickers and slogans on its guitar are great!

While snow and ice can be fun, the penguin expressed to me that, just once, it'd like nothing better than to flit amongst a garden in bloom on a hot summer day. I love the cute little thread antennae on its leafy hat!

And here's the penguin making some new friends with a couple of other, commercially-produced, paper dolls from my toy collection:

Blupaisan obviously put in an enormous amount of time, inspired effort, and love into this project, and I humbly thank you for your beautiful gift. This fashion-swapping penguin, and the tree-exploring Skipper card that it came in, will always have an honored place in my assortment of treasures.

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