Did you ever hear about the term "aceo" or "atc"? Or perhaps, if you live in Germany, you may be more familiar with the term "Kakaokarten" (and no, what I mean has nothing to do with the warm beverage I like to drink in winter xD) - or is it that you don't know what I'm talking about? They're teeny-tiny artworks of the size of a common trading card (2,5''x 3.5'' / 6,4 cm x 8,9 cm), made by artist and can feature both, original art, as well as sometimes fanarts.Very much like the standard trading cards, artists also trade these, or sell them, too and there's a whole community dedicated to them.
About ten months ago I became part of it all - and yesterday I finished my 100th aceo! This is what this post will be about - and of course, I'll also include pictures of ALL aceos I drew
and painted - so please take a look! ;)
So...Where to start? Maybe I should begin with a little known fact: I received my first aceo many years ago. It was drawn by a friend and showed my main OC, altbeit back then I didn't really know what a "Kakaokarte" was. In the following years I stumbled upon the term ever so often, without ever understanding the concept behind it - and truth be told, I never made the effort to inform myself, either.
This changed in the end of January 2015 when another friend finally introduced me into this wonderful world of 'artist trading cards' - and I'm not kidding, it was the best thing that could have happened to me! I soon learned that it's a rather welcoming community and I quickly made many great acquaintances, as well as some friends - and not only that, drawing these cards taught me so much! But I'm going to tell you about this in a moment ;)
First I want to tell you why drawing them feels so utterly rewarding to me: see, I always had a weakness for details, so naturally whenever I drew, I tried to add as many details as I could. Oftentimes I got so distracted by doing this, that I didn't only lose sight of the whole picture, but I also lost a lot of time on unnecessary little things, so in the end, a single picture took days, weeks, sometimes even months to finish - that is, if I finished them at all! I was left with a heap of unfinished WIPs & sketches and a discontent feeling - honestly, I finished so few drawings, it frustrated me so much! But with these aceos it's different - they're so small, that I can easily finish one in a day if I really focus on it, which means that in the evening I have this nice feeling of "having done something great" which I've been missing for years. And as for my love for details? I still indulge in it, of course - maybe even more than before! *laughs*
If you take a look at my aceos, you will notice that I keep challenging myself and I can only begin to make a list of things I learned by drawing all these one hundred cards - there's too much to really mention it all, or else I'll never finish to write this post :D .
Take for example my experiments with special lighting effects: be it the glow of a magical flame or the atmospheric light of either a flowstone- or a lava cave, these were things I never tried before, until I made myself draw them on my cards. I generally try to become more and more bold when it comes to backgrounds, after all I always thought this was one of my rather more lacking aspects of art - and oddly enough, I sometimes catch myself thinking that I enjoy coloring the background more than the characters themselves.
And regarding the characters: my way of portraying people has drastically changed if you ask me o_o
It always bothered me that people thought the way I drew persons was rather... Well, "Manga-Style". I think I mentioned this before, here and there, but nowadays people usually describe my style
as 'fantasy art' or even 'realistic', which admittedly makes me smirk, considering that I used to get so defensive when I was told 'try to draw more realistic'. I always said I didn't want
reality to "invade" my art - but now I learned that only by embracing this more 'realistic' style, I can make my drawings come to life. If I draw my own characters in my new style for example,
they almost look the same way I always imagined them and this really makes me happy.
I will admit another thing though - it's not entirely due to the aceos that my drawing style made this unexpected turn, it's also thanks to something that holds a special place in my heart... And it's called Dragon Age.
Fans of the series will notice that many of the more recent aceos feature motifs of said series and I am beyond happy that I found my way into this fandom in late April/ early May. Ever since
then I've written so much again (some may know, I love writing fanfiction - and my Dragon Age Fanfic has around 160 pages - and counting *laughs*), which is something else I sorely missed and it
taught me to draw things I couldn't before, such as older people, beards, armors - oh, and so many other things, too! As I said, there's so much that I learned, I can't even name it all!
One last thing worth mentioning though is that due to painting some of my aceos with watercolor, I think I finally got the hang of using this fickle medium - or at least, to cooperate with it *laughs* (really, the way the color behaves on paper sometimes leads me to believe it has a mind of its own and 'lives' to mock poor artist like me who try to bend its will xD). Aside of this, I also taught myself to use alcohol-based markers, commonly known as "Copic Markers". Previously I shyed away from using them, they simply were way too expensive for me to even consider messing with them, but now I've come to enjoy working with them.
In any case...This year hasn't been easy for me so far and after the previous entry I wrote last month, you can probably imagine that I'm not exactly feeling happy either, but to see all these one hundred cards I drew - to remember all the kind people I traded with and thanks to whom I have a splendid collection of beautiful cards, many of them showing my OCs - it's just such a overwhelming and fantastic feeling.
And can you imagine? Two of these cards are commissioned pieces, at that! If you read this: I'd like to thank you both again. To know that you appreciated my art so much, that you were willing to
pay me to draw for you.... It means the world to me and encouraged me to trust more in myself and my skills >///< ♥ I know I'm still far from my dream of being an illustrator and making a
living solely through my art, but this is like a little first step for me.
With that being said, I hope you will now enjoy to take a look at my whole set of 100 aceos.I submitted the first one on the 27th of January and finished my most recent one on the 15th of November.
If you'd like to see any of them in detail, you'll find all of them in my galery on facebook: https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.695982313854197.1073741834.684663794986049&type=3 - and don't forget that I also publish my most recent sketches and WIPs on my art page there.
Well - that's all for today! >u< ♥ Do leave me a comment below and let me know what you think - or if you have any kind of question, feel free to message me! And to wrap things up, here are the cards: