Fishy Set of ATCs – 6 Art Techniques

I’ve had much time to think of ideas for ATCs since I’ve spent a fair amount of time sitting in hotel rooms. I haven’t done any of these yet, but I’ll throw some of these idea seeds out in the next few posts to percolate. Later to browse and consider. Maybe a fresh idea will turn into a favorite ATC and you’ll be inspired, too.

I recently visited the Shedd Aquarium in Chicago. What a marvelous experience! I came away with many ideas for art-making and scribbled them down while stuck in Dan Ryan traffic. Although I saw many species of lizards, mammals and fish at the aquarium, I was inspired by the regal angel fish and also the tiny neon tetras. Reminded me of the aquarium we had when my children were little. Such nice memories, perhaps I’ll immortalize them in artwork.

I plan to work on a new series focusing on angel fish adding a few neon tetras on the side for a bit of brighter color. So here’s a scatterings of ideas to consider.

1. First, an aquarium. Using dark cardstock, spritz with Clorox bleach. (Use gloves, protective eyewear, protect surface with newspaper and properly dispose.) Alternatively, use a gel dish washer product (dish washer, not dish detergent) and use a toothpick wrapped with a tiny bit of cotton to dip in gel and spot the background. This will turn the black paper one of a variety of shades depending on who manufactures the cardstock. I’ve seen brown, lavender and blue so far. Add bits of green and blue (try paper, string, fancy fibers) for plants and fashion a piece of sandpaper or a flat sheet of cork to make the bottom layer. Place a rendition of an angel fish as focal point — Photoshop-enhanced photo, sketch, cut-out, etc. With a toothbrush used only for art (obviously) spatter bits of red/blue paint for tiny neons.

2. Another aquarium. Collage a blue/green background using long, narrow strips of torn thin paper (magazines, gift wrap, specialty paper, whatever is available) laid horizontally and layered for the ‘water’. Cut angel fish shape from a geometric- patterned magazine picture or from black/silver paper and apply with acrylic matte medium. To add a little color if desired, use a standard hole punch on orange or yellow paper and distribute as ‘fish bubbles’. Coat with matte medium on both sides.

3. Do background by lightly sponging with blue, green, lavender acrylic that has been diluted by half with water. Using colored pencils, sketch and color an angel fish. Complete by adding several layers of matte acrylic medium.

4. Transform an angel fish into an angel. Transfer a copy of an image of fish onto paper using clear packing tape method. Cover image with tape, wet thoroughly, rub off paper backing until image is clear. Add wings and halo using found objects. Cutting wings from a metallic gold leaf skeleton (found in craft stores) makes a unusual set of wings with an ethereal effect.

5. Paint background in bright acrylic paint – any color. Add pix of angel fish. Adhere a piece of stretched and pulled cheesecloth (do not be neat about this; large random holes should be apparent) over fish to imitate netting. Dye the cheesecloth before gluing if wanted, though I stayed with a natural color. Use a spray adhesive for adhesion. VENTILATE. Use outdoors source when spraying if possible.

6. If you’re talented with rubber stamps and can make your own, try this. Make an angel fish, complete with stripes on body. Using cardstock and a Versamark stamp pad, ink the image and emboss using UTEE. Heat set. Tear blue or green paper into wavy strips and adhere to part of card for a ‘watery’ background. Do a light watercolor wash if desired.

More ideas to follow.  Give me a couple of days.


One response to this post.

  1. […] Blogger Bo has some neat ideas for some Artist Trading Cards involving fish scenes: “Fishy Set of ATCs.” […]

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