Artist Trading Cards (ATCs): Dolls of the World

Sometimes, artist trading cards (ATCs) do not take the shape of the usual 3 ½ x 2 ½ rectangular measurements… and you accept a challenge to follow a specific template. I’ve done egg shapes, doghouse shapes, and used a hole punch to create a stamp-like fringe on cards before. This time around, I joined the Dolls of the World swap, where I made ATCs to trade with artists from around the world in the shape of little dolls.

The Cards that I Made…

Sri Lanka

Saris and half-saris are popular clothing options for women in Sri Lanka, a South Asian island country located near south-east India. Short-cropped tops and jackets are often worn, paired with a skirt. Women may wear a scarf or piece of cloth over the shoulder that is often tucked into their skirts, as shown in my doll’s attire. As I researched Sri Lankan traditional clothing, I noticed that women tend to pull their hair completely back and adorn it with gold hair bling and barrettes. Gold embroidery is also a common accent on clothing.

Materials: Watercolor pencils, black fine-point Sharpie pen, white Gelly Roll pen, gold gel pen

Fun Fact: Sri Lanka is often referred to as the ‘pearl of the Indian Ocean’ because of its wide-ranging biodiversity, exquisite beauty, and because one of its primary exports is precious gemstones.


Kenya is a country situated in the eastern part of Africa with many ethnic communities. I noticed that red, deep pinks and blue are prominent colors in traditional Kenyan fashion, which includes long robe-like clothing and long, brightly colored dresses. Women also wear large hoop earrings and colorful necklaces (often made from beads) that are eye-catchingly expansive around the neck.

Materials: Watercolor pencils, black fine-point Sharpie pen, white Gelly Roll pen

Cool Fact: In 2004, Kenyan environmentalist Professor Wangari Maathai was not only the first woman in East and Central Africa to earn a doctorate degree, but she was also awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for her “contribution to sustainable development, democracy and peace,” making her the first African woman to achieve such a honor.


Polynesia is a collection of more than 1,000 islands that dot the central and southern Pacific Ocean region called Oceania, where the indigenous people of these islands are referred to as Polynesians. Floral prints are a primary feature in traditional Polynesian clothing, which often decorate traditional sarongs (a long cloth wrapped around the body), like the one my doll wears. Grass wreaths are a common headpiece worn by both women and men.

Materials: Watercolor pencils, black fine-point Sharpie pen, white Gelly Roll pen

Interesting Fact: Easter Island (Rapa Nui) is a UNESCO World Heritage Site located in Polynesia, and is home to approximately 800 statues (called moai).


Found in the Atlantic Ocean area, Barbados is a sovereign island country situated in the Lesser Antilles, which is part of the Americas. As I researched women’s clothing in Barbados, I saw that bright oranges, yellows and greens are typically paired with white in the off-the-shoulder, ruffled dresses, flowy shirts and skirts worn – oftentimes in plaid and striped designs. Large hoop earrings are common accessories.

Materials: Watercolor pencils, black fine-point Sharpie pen, white Gelly Roll pen, gold gel pen

Fun Fact: Barbados is a turtle lover’s paradise, and is home to four species of nesting turtles, including leatherbacks, loggerheads and green turtles. The country is home to the Caribbean’s second-largest hawksbill turtle breeding population.

The Cards That I Received…

I am extremely pleased with the art cards I got in return. In all the years that I’ve been trading art cards, I haven’t received that many creations where the primary subjects represent a broader range of ethnicities…so, the lovely ladies that came in the mail this week received a very warm welcome. And they are from:

Egypt, Kenya & Belize

The Egypt card is stunning in person. The amount of detail it has is mesmerizing. In the light, the headband, neck embellishment and central medallion sparkle…literally looks bejeweled. There are a lot of fine details with this card, and it has become one of my all-time favorites.

I love the clothing design and hairstyle of the Kenya card. I think she possesses a spunky, regal aura. Her gold earrings shimmer in the light. I thought it was pretty cool that I made a card for this country, and got one back in return.

The Belize card is done by one of my favorite artists in the swap group I belong to (ATCs for All). I love the delicate, colorful floral print on the dress. Her gold cross is drawn using a metallic pen, so it shimmers in the light.

So, did you learn something new about another culture?

 If you like, share a fun fact about your heritage.



21 thoughts on “Artist Trading Cards (ATCs): Dolls of the World”

  1. Victoria says:

    Really it is a great way to learn about world’s cultures, actually what they love to wear. I would love to learn more about any other cultures, specially Sri Lanka, Kenya and Egypt too.
    Victoria recently posted…All You Should Know Concerning 2019 the Major League Baseball SeasonMy Profile

  2. Julie Waldron says:

    These are a good way to learn about different cultures. They’re pretty too.

  3. Sarah says:

    This is a really cool way to learn about other cultures. I would love to learn more about Polynesians, and any other culture, really.

  4. I used to collect paper dolls when I was a kid. For some reason the paper doll i Sweden and Spain are my favorites. Your post brings me to memory lane on my childhood days. I love how creative made they are perfect for display.

  5. Oh wow this is amazing! It’s my first time actually to hear of artist trading cards and it’s quite a cool concept! It surely gives a bit of the destination you based it from. I especially loved the one on Egypt 😀
    Aileen Adalid recently posted…My Next BIG Adventure: A Trip to Antarctica!My Profile

  6. Fiona Kay says:

    Beautiful cards! You look like you spent ages creating them but I think they would make a great Christmas gift for this year

  7. Gemille Sleweon says:

    These are absolute beautiful! A friend of mine was thinking about doing something similar. This is definitely something I’d buy.

  8. Vicky says:

    I did not even know that artist trading cards existed. I love the idea and I think it is a great way to learn about art, history and other cultures.

  9. this is great. it is nice to see art work from all over and to be given the appreciation that it deserves. thanks for sharing.

  10. Wow this sounds like so much fun! I have never heard of saw these before but I love the idea! These are super cute and I love the ones you got in return. What a fun thing to do and I bet the kids would enjoy doing this as well. So cool!

  11. Wow this is so unique! First of all – you are very talented. Second of all – what an incredible way to learn about other cultures and have a beautiful piece of art to hold on to. Very cool!

  12. How fun to do! I love trading cards, but am not artist enough to participate in a group. Someone would surely be disappointed!

  13. Nadalie says:

    This is such a beautifully creative idea! I love how each trading card portrays the culture of each nation. What a fun, yet elegant way to learn about different cultures. Simply beautiful, I so want one! Or rather them all.
    Nadalie recently posted…The Best Essential Tech for Starting Your BusinessMy Profile

  14. Oh my gosh! I love this idea and I Love all of the cards that you created and also the ones you got. So colorful and shares a little bit about the cultures of the trading cards. I am going to share this with my artist friends!
    Censie Sawyer recently posted…Visiting Sandos Playacar ResortMy Profile

  15. Orana says:

    I had never heard of Artist Trading Cards before. What a cool idea! I also love the Egypt one you got, very elaborate

  16. Ali Rost says:

    What a wonderful (and unique) way to learn about different places and cultures. Also, how fun to connect with artists around the world. I’m so impressed with the level of detail each card was given. I think my favorite has to be Barbados because she seems like a cool person to know when her sassy smile and big hoop earrings. I’m also a sucker for anything in orange or yellow. x

  17. Sue Reddel says:

    Wow!! You are a very talented artist. I’ve never heard of these artist trading cards. What an interesting idea. I hope you keep up the drawing and have more opportunities to share them with us.

  18. brianne says:

    Wow these are so cool and I bet my girls would absolutely love these. I am looking into them now to get for them for the holidays!

  19. Karolina says:

    They are stunning! Such a WOMAN power in them – I’m amazed! I have never heard of the trading cards. Do you know if can I read something more about it somewhere? Really amazing!

  20. Joely Smith says:

    These cares are absolutely beautiful! Such artistry! You did an amazing job on yours! I have a moai statue in my home, along with other interesting art and status from around the world. I would love to try my hand at the cards but I am not very artistic.
    Joely Smith recently posted…Fashion Focus: Misook Never Sacrifice Sophistication For ComfortMy Profile

  21. robin rue says:

    I am blown away – those are GORGEOUS!!! What talent you have! I am super impressed by your art work and these dolls you chose.

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