Creating ACEO Cards, A Great Market and A Way to Enhance Your Skills as an Artist

Helen Stuart By Helen Stuart, 16th Dec 2013 | Follow this author | RSS Feed | Short URL
Posted in Wikinut>Guides>Art>Painting

ACEO cards, or "Art Cards, Editions and Originals" are small works of art the same size as a sports trading card, 3.5" by 2.5". Surprisingly, these miniature works of art can sell on the internet more easily than a full size painting. Here are a few tips for even the most modestly artistically inclined to take advantage of a great market.

You CAN Create and Sell ACEO cards, No matter your artistic Background

At first glance, the idea of creating a tiny painting may seem overly simple to some, as it did to me. I thought, "I can whip out a ton of these in one day and get rich." The fact was, the cards I saw for sale on Ebay did not seem to be that great , and some of them even hit a price of almost $200 at times! Even 5 or 10 dollars for a work of art that is the size of a playing card is a fair amount of money if you can learn the basics and produce them in a way that does not take too long, does not tax your brain too much, and still gives the seller what they want. Cards selling for fifty dollars is not unusual, and twenty five dollars is even common. But you will need the right frame of mind, a few inexpensive tools, and a camera that can zoom in enough on the card that it won't look too grainy when the photo of the small card is edited by your computer to be listed on which ever site you choose to list it on. There are hundreds of sites to list art on for free, and some are better for some things than others. For instance, Etsy is great for listing hand made polymer "clay" charms, jewelry, etc, while ebay is not so good for this, and ebay has an excellent site for listing ACEO cards. featuring a variety of styles and talents, and you can view the ones people are more interested in by the number of bids and views on each card. It is actually very encouraging to see on ebay that you certainly don't need to be a Davinci in order to make some spending cash selling ACEO cards, but there is a trick to making these little cards look clear and "readable" no matter what your level of skill as an artist. Even the best artist will need a set of detail brushes, very small ones, if they are painting their aceo cards in watercolor , oil , acrylic, or any other medium. I purchased a great set of detail brushes for only 9.00 with the 40 percent off coupon that is available with every purchase at hobby lobby, for a total of about 5.00. There are eight or nine quality Master's Choice brushes in the set, everything you could need for painting these cards. Cheap dollar store brushes probably will not work very well as they do not have the correct texture in the bristles.

You may, although, choose a different medium, such as art markers, watercolor pencils, pastels, (chalks or oils) or any other ideas you may have. You could even use decoupage, or make a 3D art card with intricately folded papers or other materials. If you use markers, unless you have mastered them, I would recommend art markers, available at art and craft stores. these can be rather expensive, but once again, use a big coupon, treat them well, collect colors as you go, and you will have a gorgeous medium for these art cards, along with a precise line. Watercolor pencils also can produce a magnificent effect.

Determining The Style of Your Art

You may or may not be happy to hear, that in my several years of observing the art card market on ebay, realism does not usually have the upper hand in marketablity. Some of the most preferred ACEO cards are semi-cartoonish or having the appearance of characters in childrens books. Definitely favored among all subjects are animals, often anthropomorphized, but not always. For almost two years, any painting of a black and white or "tuxedo" cat with angel wings was guaranteed a high price! After that, almost any winged cat. If you don't mind following a trend and jumping on a bandwagon, there you go! This trend is beginning finally to get a tiny bit passe, but if you can create a decent looking cat on a miniature art card, and put wings on it, It will probably sell, and my advice to you is, definitely make it a tuxedo cat! It will tip the scale all the way in your favor. The more recent trend is appaloosa horses romping with dalmation dogs or carrying winged tuxedo cats on their backs. If you can paint a decent one of these, I suggest you start the bidding no lower than 25 dollars.

You can purchase Art Card paper already cut to size, but if you are penny wise and creative, you can buy very heavy art paper for watercolor, acrylic or oil painting, and cut it, or get it cut to the specified size. You will have more for trial and error. You will want to use, especially if you are a novice, a smoother grit to your paper so the camera will pick up the details better, and the brush or pastel, or marker will make a truer line. It is important, working on such a small scale, that the important details of your ACEO card are very clear, bright and visible, and this is one time you may want to use the illustrators trick of outlining in black and not using too many colors, and using bright ones, keeping the background simple, etc. Think of your art like a doodle that you do when you are on the phone, and practice it in a separate notebook before you commit it to the card. Have fun with it and don't get discouraged Be prepared to waste a several blank cards as you get used to scaling down your art. The payoff will be quite good if you are patient, monitarily as well as stylistically.

The very best time to try to sell your ACEO cards for top dollar is before any holiday, and tailor the cards for that holiday. Think of them as illustrations for tiny Christmas Cards. Peruse the ACEO market on various art selling sites, especially ebay, to get an idea of what others are doing and selling, and what is not selling. And most of all, remember , have fun. If your first batch doesn't sell, or your second, you will have learned even more for the experience. But I bet you have some pretty quick success if you are honest with yourself , give it a try and follow this advice, your paypal account will soon be filling up.


Aceo, Collectable, Ebay, Ebay For Beginners, Miniature Art, Mixed Media, Painting

Meet the author

author avatar Helen Stuart
I've spent most of my life in the Deep South, and I love animals, nature, and what makes my fellow humans tick. I have an obsession with self-expression, I write, sculpt and paint, anything I can do.

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author avatar Jerry Walch
16th Dec 2013 (#)

An ineresting and informative read.

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author avatar Legend
16th Dec 2013 (#)

Interestng and informative Of course i have my own art techniques but I have never seriously tried selling any...

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author avatar Graceful
17th Feb 2014 (#)

Interesting post! Never heard of ACEO cards...

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