Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Issue 22 (Spring 2014) Now Available!

Here's what's inside:

  • Design 911: Paper Dolls - The gateway to creative problem solving! 
  •  Do It Five Ways: Stencils 
  • Look! Altering Your Glasses Case 
  • Musings of a Self-Trained Artist: A Laywoman’s Laycolumn 
  • Artist Inspiration Dolls
  • Anti-Art-Journaling: Chronicles Project Online 
  • Walk-Through with Markers: Whimsical Mermaid Reader’s
  • Gallery: Art Journal Pages 
  • BunnyMonster Art Doll 
  • Reader’s Gallery: Owls 
  • Whimsical Houses: Keeping things in perspective
  • Gallery: Whimsical Houses 
  • Altering a Doll Head with Epoxy Clay and Paint
Download Issue 22 (Spring 2014) here! 6.3 MB


Once you've finished with our latest issue, please visit our Past Issues page to download 21 issues from 2008 - 2014. There's tons of great reading there!

Monday, March 10, 2014

Self Portraits: Collage Style

Musings of a Self-Trained Artist: A Laywoman’s Laycolumn
By Ann D'Angelo
This article originally appeared in ArtTrader Magazine, Issue 17

Last year, I received an invitation to join a Self-Portrait swap, and in fine neurotic fashion, I freaked out, my internal monologue sounding roughly like this:  What if I make myself too young?  What if I turn out all hot and skinny, like the love child of a Victoria’s Secret model and a number 2 pencil?  What if people start sending me books like Self-Delusion & You: How to Get a Grip on Your Actual Height, Weight, and Bone Structure, You Ninnypants? Despite my misgivings, I wound up joining the swap because it had this caveat: I had to collage. 

Collage, as it turns out, liberates the artist from that entire dilemma. Since there is no way to create a realistic portrait of the self using images of others, the artist must look past the appearance to behaviors, personality traits, and internal conflicts.  This exploration of the self can be lighthearted or truly searching, but in either case, the exercise is so satisfying – both emotionally and artistically – that I am hereby recommending it as an excellent way to kick off the New Year.

The Example

In this card, which I made for the swap, I decided to try having a little fun at my own expense.  The central joke here is that I created myself out of an image of Napoleon, with whom I seem to share the overachieving desire to conquer the world, along with a certain smallness of stature and some seriously questionable hair.  The Speedball pen references not only my writing aspirations, but also my wish to succeed quickly on all fronts.    (Logging the hours?  Gaining experience?   Bah humbug!  I want to bowl a 289 right now, please.)

As for the artistic process, I found that the layering of accomplishments – the A, the row of stars, the pair of ones– served the piece both thematically and visually, creating dimension while expressing my ridiculous yearning for marks of approval.  On a literal level, the pink glasses signify that this woman is me, but the repeated use of the same pink color across various symbols of achievement suggests that this need colors my vision.    

Although my desire for approval is not something I particularly like about myself, I’ve been working on finding ways to laugh at my faults, instead of burying them deep in my underground shame tunnels. In that respect, this card proved wonderfully therapeutic. I don’t think anyone has ever said that collage is the best medicine, but maybe someone should.

The Suggestions

By way of conclusion, I have a few suggestions for anyone who wants to undertake this cool exercise in artistic introspection.

1. Choose the focal images first; figure out what they mean or express afterward. 

2. Be open-minded. An image of a man might convey something about a female artist even more handily than an image of a woman. The same holds true for images of two people. (Who doesn’t sometimes have a two-way argument going inside their brain?)

3. Make conscious decisions. Choose colors, snippets of text, and supporting images that express the theme.

4. Create a series. When it comes to self-awareness, who couldn’t stand a little more?

Monday, February 24, 2014

A Wonderstrange Workshop: Collage & Mixed Media

Two of the ArtTrader Team have put together a new online workshop for the Wonderstrange website. The program, by Ann D'Angelo and Sal Scheibe, focuses on creating mixed media and collage art with a themed focus. More about the program:

We all know there can be joy in a spontaneous, instinctive artistic process where we are guided from layer to layer by what feels right and what looks good.  Yet that same process can turn on us, especially when things start to feel wrong and we don’t know why, when we can’t understand what happened to the piece we were so in love with 20 minutes ago, when the joy is suddenly gone.
To avoid that spiral, this class helps you introduce more intention into your process, making conscious, well-informed decisions about colors, layers, shapes, and the “ripple effects” of every new addition to your work.  Through this workshop, you’ll be able to:
  • Create stronger focal points packed with visual interest
  • Develop rich, layered backgrounds that support your focal point – and your theme / prompt
  • Identify and resolve problems so you can get back to the joy of making art
You can download a fabulous PDF preview of the program here: http://www.wonderstrange.com/store/products/creating-with-intention/

Friday, February 14, 2014

So many faces!

Most of the ArtTrader team has been participating in the 29 Faces challenge for the month of February. We're halfway through and maybe slightly behind but we're getting there! It's been a lot of fun so far. We've all been using a variety of different mediums and techniques. It's a good experience with these challenges, even though they're time consuming. You end up with a lot of great art and good practice.

Here are a few of the faces we've been making.

At left are Sarah Trumpp's incredibly awesome wooden heart faces. She used colored pencil on wooden shapes and they turned out fantastic. These would make great ornaments to hang on a tree or hang a bunch of them on a wall in a group.





Below are a couple of Ann D'Angelo's faces from her blog. At left is one in markers and ink and at right, (Ann herself in a lovely self-portrait!) in acrylic paint.



Below are a couple of my faces from my blog. The one on the left is pencil and watercolor and at right is a digital painting in Photoshop.We'll update at the end of the challenge with lots more faces!


Wednesday, February 5, 2014

The MONSTER LIST of swap and journal themes!

Stuck for inspiration? At a standstill because you just can't . draw . another . butterfly. Ugh. Or something else with the word "dream" in your art journal? Need a new theme for your next ATC swap? We came up with a huge list of themes a few years ago and most of them are pretty standard, some a bit weird, all good things to draw.

Pick a number between 1 and 437. Have fun!  Happy art prompting!

  1. Ancient tree
  2. Mystical tree
  3. Healing tree
  4. Forest
  5. God Trees
  6. Greenmen
  7. My favorite tree
  8. Realistic tree
  9. Whimsical tree
  10. Tree hugging
  11. Eyeball trees
  12. Christmas trees
  13. Creepy & dark Trees
  14. Cherry blossoms
  15. Fruit Trees
  16. Scientific Tree Illustrations
  17. Alien trees
  18. Tree houses
  19. Baobab tree homes
  20. Tree swings
  21. Lady of the Forest
  22. Tree Nymph
  23. Autumn leaves
  24. Winter trees
  25. Any type of flower
  26. Daisy field
  27. Daisy chains
  28. Rose queens
  29. Flower fairies
  30. Eyeball flowers
  31. Flower bouquets
  32. Flowers on hats
  33. Bees & Flowers
  34. William Morris Flowers
  35.  Fashion diva
  36. Fashion disasters
  37. Victorian ladies
  38. Ladies of the (era ie 70s)
  39. Chubby ladies with round bellies
  40. Size acceptance
  41. Feminism
  42. Feminists
  43. Weird hairstyles
  44. Lives of medieval women
  45. Geishas
  46. Harajuku Girls
  47. Natural landscape
  48. Landscape by medium: watercolors, pastes, etc.
  49. Colorful landscape / landscape by color schemes
  50. Landscape in a pop / graphic style
  51. Whimsical landscape
  52. Candyland
  53. Creepy & offbeat landscape
  54. Barren fantasy landscape
  55. Alien landscape
  56. Moonlit landscapes
  57. Sunrises
  58. Rainy Days
  59. Family pets
  60. Animals with hats and scarfs
  61. Chimeras
  62. Horse
  63. Unicorns
  64. Cute.... but eViL!! (animals)
  65. Koi fish
  66. Koi pond
  67. Deer
  68. Weird animals with antlers
  69.  Pregnant ladies
  70. Fertility
  71. Fertility Goddess
  72. The Blue-Do: Grandmother hair styles
  73. Vintage housewife
  74. Hip dads
  75. My happy family
  76. Fishing with grandpa
  77. Babies & moms
  78. Hipster parents 
  79. Cooking with grandma
  80.  Disaster kitchen
  81. Cats with hats
  82. Funky cats
  83. Lazy house cats
  84. Who let the dogs out?
  85. Dogs in detective clothes
  86. Pet portraits
  87. Cats dressed in medieval clothing
  88. Dogs in Shakespearean costumes
  89. Obese pets
  90. Pet fight
  91. Pet love
  92. Accountants with calculators
  93. The office gossip
  94. Diner waitresses
  95. Bartenders I have known
  96. Inappropriate office attire
  97. Cubicle life
  98. Librarians
  99. I love to read
  100. Pile of my favorite books
  101.  Birds with funky hats
  102. Gothic Crows
  103. Roosters with Glasses
  104. Zetti Bird Collage
  105. Birds on branches
  106. Birds of (location)
  107. Whimsical birds
  108. Collaged or mixed media birds
  109. Mutated Birds
  110.  Men in hats
  111. Flying men with umbrellas
  112. Winged men
  113. Hot construction men
  114. Men of the (era ie 70s)
  115. Men with long hair
  116. Nature Kings
  117. Mustache fun!
  118.  Brothers and sisters
  119. Me and my Brother/Sister
  120. Little goth girls
  121. Kids with freckles
  122. Schoolyard bullies
  123. Creepy kids
  124. Mushrooms
  125. Groovy mushrooms in party hats
  126. Fruit
  127. Mixed media pears
  128. Fruit hats
  129. Vegetables
  130. Still life fruit display
  131. Cute Princesses
  132. Mad Kings
  133. Dark & Evil Queens
  134. The Tudors
  135. Marie Antoinette
  136. Playing Card Royalty
  137. Knave of Hearts
  138. Tree Nymphs & Dryads
  139. Wizards
  140. Warlocks & Witches
  141. Elves / Dark elves / Drow
  142. Faeries
  143. Floating castles
  144. Creepy castles
  145. Dragons
  146. Dwarven beards
  147. Dwarven love songs
  148. Harry Potter universe
  149. Tolkein universe
  150. Forgotten Realms universe
  151. Demons
  152. Elementals: Fire, Water, Earth, etc
  153.  Brothers Grimm Tales
  154. Aesop's Fables
  155. Hans Christian Andersen stories
  156. Alice in Wonderland
  157. Gothic Alice
  158. Mad Hatters (any style hat)
  159. Vintage Wind-up Robots
  160. Sexy Robots
  161. Alien plants / landscapes
  162. Martian Barkeepers
  163. Star Trek
  164. Doctor Who
  165. Vintage Sci-fi movies
  166. Cyborgs
  167. Wind Spirit
  168. Lady of the Forest
  169. Witch of the Wilds
  170. Atlantean Witch Doctor
  171. Ice Queen / Snow Queen
  172. The Raven King
  173. Goblin Kings
  174. King of Cruelty
  175. Harvest Goddess
  176. High Priestess
  177. Bee Priestess
  178. Goddess of Despair
  179. Goddess of Insects / Spiders
  180. Goddess of Chaos
  181. Goddess of The Undead
  182. God of Fire
  183. The Four Horsemen: Plague, Death, War, Famine
  184. Angel of death
  185. Sandman: The Endless
  186. Superheroes
  187. Favorite comic book characters
  188. Favorite TV shows
  189. Favorite TV character
  190. TV from the (era, ie 70s)
  191. Hospital heroes
  192. Chuck Bartowski & Captain Awesome
  193. Old style TVs
  194.  Favorite movie scenes
  195. Design a movie poster
  196. Movie title mash-up
  197. Favorite movie character
  198. Movies from the (era, ie 70s)
  199. Film Noir
  200. Hitchcock
  201. Movie stars from the 40s & 50s
  202.  Silent film stars
  203. Interpret the lyrics of ____ song
  204. Scene from a music video
  205. CD covers
  206. Skeleton bands
  207. Musician portraits
  208. Music from the (era, ie 70s)
  209.  Pointy Hats
  210. Pet rocks
  211. Streaking
  212. Lava lamp designs
  213. Care bears
  214.  Art Spirit
  215. Queen of Art
  216. Craft Junkie
  217. Art Supply Hoarders
  218. Artistic anatomy
  219. Figure drawing
  220. Reclining nudes
  221. Favorite Artist PAT
  222. Self portraits
  223. Me, by my favorite artist
  224. Caricatures
  225. Stained Glass / Tiffany Glass
  226. Ultimate Sculpture: David
  227. Cave Paintings
  228. Black & White
  229. Color Schemes / Theory
  230. Shades of (color)
  231. Warm & Cool (colors) portraits
  232. By medium: Watercolor
  233. By medium: Acrylics
  234. By medium: Markers
  235. By medium: Colored Pencils
  236. By medium: Graphite
  237. By medium: Oil Pastels
  238. By medium: Fabrics & quilt art
  239. By medium: Thread art
  240. Collage part people
  241. Postage stamp people
  242.  Abstracts
  243. Impressionism
  244. Expressionism
  245. Cubism
  246. Surrealism
  247. Fauvism
  248. Realism
  249. Pop art
  250. Art Deco
  251. Graphic Design
  252. Art Nouveau
  253. Mucha ladies
  254. In the style of (artist)
  255. Zetti
  256. Eyeball suckers
  257. Mad hatters
  258. Hats you would never wear
  259. Zombies
  260. Whimsical zombies
  261. Zetti Zombie
  262. Voodoo dolls
  263. Lord Midnight & Queen Darkness
  264. Scary kids
  265. Idiot wizards
  266. Creepy little girls
  267. People with antlers
  268. Creepy masks
  269. Blind contours with your wrong hand
  270. Graveyards
  271. Bubblegum monsters
  272. Cookie monsters
  273. Fallen / Gothic Angels
  274. Monster in the closet
  275. Things I have trapped in a bottle
  276. The Big Lebowski
  277. Grandma with demon eyes
  278. Eyeball trees
  279. Eyeball flowers
  280. Carnival Freaks
  281. Evil Clowns
  282. What's on my laundry line
  283. Careless Bears
  284. The skull collector
  285. Fail
  286. Chimps in office suits
  287. Evil corporate CEOs
  288. Best Beehive Hairdo
  289. Sock Puppets
  290. Tupperware parties gone wrong
  291. Unfriendly teddy bears
  292. Desperate Housewives
  293. Santa in the Summer
  294.  Funny propaganda posters
  295. Cabinet of curiosities
  296. Zingers from Grandma
  297. Carnival Freaks
  298. Scaredy cat Monsters
  299. Distorted human anatomy
  300. Ship of fools
  301. Things under my bed
  302. Weird Sidekicks
  303. Seven deadly sins
  304. Offbeat wedding toppers
  305. Mustache madness!
  306. The Prom Date
  307. Voodoo children
  308. Toilet monsters
  309. Men with bad teeth
  310. Evil toys
  311. Oddly shaped balloons
  312. Me in 20 years
  313. Favorite books
  314. Favorite characters
  315. Design a book cover
  316. Book PAT
  317. Short Story PAT
  318. Shakespeare: Bad Kings
  319. Shakespeare: Ghosts
  320. Shakespeare: Comedies
  321. Shakespeare: Sonnets
  322. Portraits of William Shakespeare
  323. Shakespeare: Character portraits
  324. Shakespeare: Expressions & idioms
  325. The poetry of (name)
  326. Naughty limericks
  327. Found Poetry
  328. Favorite Quotes
  329. Idioms
  330. Coffee mug sayings
  331. ABC swaps
  332. Illuminated Manuscript
  333. Gods & Goddesses Greek
  334. Gods & Goddesses Roman
  335. Gods & Goddesses Hindu
  336. Gods & Goddesses Norse
  337. Gods & Goddesses Aztec
  338. Gods & Goddesses Japanese
  339. Gods & Goddesses Native American
  340. Gods & Goddesses Mayan
  341. Gods & Goddesses Egyptian
  342. Gods & Goddesses Chinese
  343. Goddess of Love
  344. Goddess of Fertility
  345. Goddess of War
  346. Goddess of Peace
  347. Goddess of Nature
  348. Goddess of Beauty
  349. Goddess of the Moon
  350. Goddess of the Sun
  351. Meditations
  352. Affirmations
  353. Madonnas
  354. Icons
  355. Sacred Books
  356. Sacred Writings
  357. Sacred Hearts
  358. Tarot Imagery
  359. Religious Symbols
  360. People in love
  361. Holding hands
  362. Friendship
  363. Marriage
  364. Funky bridal design
  365. My imaginary friends
  366. Goddess of Joy
  367. My book shelf
  368. Kites in the sky
  369. Tea Cups
  370. My favorite coffee mug
  371. You make me so angry!
  372. Depression
  373. Loneliness
  374. My worst quality
  375. Fruit and Flowers still life
  376. Beer! How I love it
  377. Sweets, Cakes & Candy
  378. Inside my refrigerator
  379. Recipes on ATCs
  380. Female Shoes
  381. I carry too many bags
  382. Weird eye glasses
  383. Design-a-dress
  384.  The morning after
  385. Beautiful decay
  386. Things my psychiatrist told me
  387. Asymmetrical Me
  388. Blind
  389. My salvation
  390. The apocalypse
  391. Vanity
  392. Matriarchy
  393. Strongly Vaginal
  394. My mental blocks
  395. Art Therapy
  396. Imagination: What's in my head?
  397. Enlightenment
  398. Yin & Yang
  399. Fountain of Youth
  400.  Lab experiments gone wrong
  401. Scientific illustrations
  402. Medical anatomy
  403.  Peace Signs
  404. Hearts – Valentine type
  405. Hearts – anatomical
  406. Hearts – sacred
  407. Hearts - Gothic & Black
  408.  Love letters & hate mail
  409.  Disco Dancers
  410. Mermaids
  411. Underwater worlds
  412. Shopaholics
  413. The Waif Look
  414. Masquerade masks
  415. Venetian Ball
  416. Pirates & Ninjas
  417. Mad Scientists
  418. Scientists Named Steve
  419. Rocky Horror Picture Show
  420. Summer of Love
  421. The Wild West
  422. Steampunk vehicles
  423. Steampunk ladies
  424. Steampunk cowboys
  425.  Day of the Dead
  426. Calavera Girls
  427. Sugar skulls
  428. Halloween
  429. Black Cats & Pumpkins
  430. Sun & Moon people
  431. Star spirits
  432. Magicians
  433. Clowns
  434. Circus People
  435. Carnival King
  436. Flappers & Gangsters
  437. Naughty women in history


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