September-October ATC Round-up

Over the last few months I’ve been doing a lot of artist trading cards trades and suddenly it feels like my portrait drawings have definitely improved. These cards are the best I’ve done over the past few weeks. Pleased to have found them nice homes in Canada, Finland, and California.

Thanks to all the new followers and everyone who has given me a “like.” It’s fun to share my drawings on this blog and it’s even better when someone actually sees them!

Cheers and Happy Halloween!


2012 ATC Round UP

So much for my creative journey this year.   As I look back on 2012 I see a lot of ebb and not much flow.   I didn’t spend much time drawing, instead I spent too much time experimenting with art journaling, mixed-media, and collage.  Oh, my.  I am definitely not a mixed-media collage artist. That’s all I’m going to say on that subject.  I know what I love – and that’s drawing. So enough of this bandwagon jumping. I’m going back to doing what I do best and work to grow in that area.

I did do some drawing that I liked this year.  I participated in a few artist trading card swaps on which gave me some incentive to settle in and make something.

These three were for a 70’s Icon Swap. Here are the Icons I chose to draw:  Pam Grier, Kristy McNichol, and Diana Ross.

Pam Grier
Pam Grier
Kristy McNichol
Kristy McNichol
Diana Ross
Diana Ross

Later I made cards for an Einstein swap.  Albert Einstein is fun to draw.  There are so many beautiful lines, and his eyes are mesmerizing.  For this set I used ink with a brush over my pencil sketch.  I was in a rush to finish these on time, but I like the way Einstein 3 came out.  I can see myself filling an entire sketchbook with Einstein drawings.

Einstein 1
Einstein 1
Einstein 2
Einstein 2
drawing for einstein swap
Einstein 3

More recently, I gave whimsy another try. I signed up for a Long, Lovely Neck swap and drew these ladies.  Not really whimsical, but as close as I get. Here I used my trusty Micron pen and my Tombow markers.

Long Lovely Neck Swap
Long Lovely Neck Swap

My last swap of the year was an Edgar Allan Poe swap. We could draw the author or a scene from one of his books, or anything with a Poe flavor to it. I, of course, just drew little Poe portraits. Again, with pen and Tombow markers.

Trio of Poe Portraits
Trio of Poe Portraits

So there it is, a review of my best ATCs for the year. I resolve to do much better work in 2013.

ATCs: Cats, Cats, and More Cats

ATC: The StareATC: Fletcher's Profile

ATC: Fletcher in Color

More cats for you here.  I’ve been making a lot of these lately.  I think because I want to make sure that they aren’t flukes or just happy accidents.  I’m so amazed by how well these are turning out.   For a contrast, here are some cat drawings I drew in 2008:

Big improvement, I think.

My Own Mini-Portrait Party w/ Lindsay Long


ATC:  LinsdayWhimsy ATC (traded)

© 2011 Mellanie Collins

I’ve been trading artist trading cards (ATCs) for about three years now. It’s a great hobby and it’s really helped me with my drawing. The first trade I did was a portrait exchange with Ujwala from Draw the Line.   We each drew each other and it was a great experience.  I’ve managed to do it a few more times and gathering a nice collection of little portraits of myself.

I met Lindsay (she goies by Lindsaywhimsy)on ATCS for All and fell in love with her whimsical images so I invited her to do a portrait card trade with me.  She’s allowed me to feature the card she made for me here.

© 2011 Lindsay Long

Isn’t it wonderful?  She’s given me such an infectious smile.  Definitely check out Lindsay’s Flickr Photostream.  Her artist trading cards are vivid and cheerful.  You are in for a treat.

Before I wrap this up,  I want to do a quick shout out to Joan Yoshioka.  Thank you for mentioning me in the same sentence as the amazing France Belleville on your blog.  You made my day!

Goodbye 2009! Happy New Year Everyone!

Ian 5x7_web
5"x7" walnut ink and colored pencil

This year has really flown by for me.  I’ve been busy drawing and painting artist trading cards and I haven’t come up for air very often.  I counted up my scans for the year and found that I had made 204 ATCs  for swaps and personal trades–and that doesn’t include a few 5×7  and 4×6 pieces that I had done on request.  All finished art, not sketches.   I’ve never made so much art in my life.   I’m pretty pleased about that.

So what about 2010?  What goal do I have?   I want to relax and enjoy myself.   Instead of working on a list of things to improve, I’m going to work on a list of things it would be fun to explore.   I’ve learned that when  I’m having fun and getting enthused my work tends to improve on it’s own.  When I struggle and strive,  my work gets tight and strained.  I may learn some new techniques but the drawing seems flat and lacking.

Well, that’s my theory.

Thanks everyone for visiting during the year and leaving me such wonderful comments.   I love sharing my work with you.  I wish you all the best for 2010 and hope you have a safe and Happy New Year!

Another Parrot ATC: Meet Shadow

nanday conure drawing
2.5" x 3.5" colored pencil/wc pencil

After drawing a parrot portrait for an trade some months ago, I got a request from another parrot owner.  This  artist trading card features Shadow, a nanday conure  talented enough to maintain his own blog:  A Parrot’s Point of View.  Shadow is also the inspiration for the  children’s book  “If You Were a Parrot” by Katherine Rawson.   Katherine provided a number of charming photos for me to work from and I quickly fell in love with this bird.



Lazily Copying From a Master: Van Gogh ATC

ATC:  Van Gogh Swap II
2.5" x 3.5" acrylic on canvas paper

One of the ongoing swaps over at is the Art History 102. Each month the host chooses an artist and we can make cards adapted from one of the artists works or create a work in the artist’s style. I signed up for the Van Gogh month and this is the best card of the three I did.

I wanted to try some acrylic painting.  Since I have a tendancy toward muted tones I thought working from some Van Gogh paintings would be an excellent way to experiment and practice.  I had no real interest in copying the painting exactly.   I just wanted to focus on color and see if I could get through a painting without it turning out brownish and dull.

I’m pleased with how this turned out.  Now that I look at it again I wish that I had kept it.