Thursday 6 May 2010

ACEO – what is it, and what do you do with it.

Some of you might be very familiar with ACEOs and either painting or collecting them already. Some of you may have seen an ACEO subcategory on Etsy under art or might have noticed it somewhere else in the creative part of the internet. But my guess is for the majority it’s a new term and I thought it would be nice to share with you what ACEOs are, why would anybody create them and most importantly why would anybody buy them.

ACEO is an acronym for Art Cards, Editions and Originals. In other words it could be a miniature painting, drawing, collage, embroidery, sculpture, glasswork, sewing, metalwork, print – any media at all as long as its size is 2.5 x 3.5 inches (6.3 cm x 8.8 cm).

Miniature artworks have always been popular throughout history, but it’s only nowadays with the help of the internet that this one particular type of miniature has become popular. Thousands of artists and artisans all over the world are creating miniatures which are standard in size and are all labelled ACEO. This makes it easier for collectors to find miniatures in various online venues and can have the standard sized art from various artists displayed nicely in a coffee table book, art album or on the walls.

I learned about ACEOs when I first started selling my art online. I did a little research on Ebay to find out what subjects, media etc. are most popular and are selling best. And that’s when I noticed that some paintings had a strange acronym in title and nearly every single one of these had bids (please note that it’s no longer the case as there are lots more ACEOs available for sale right now than back in 2005, but nevertheless they are still very popular!). I have lost a track of how many ACEOs I have painted in the past and I guess it’s getting near a thousand at this stage, but I wanted to tell you why you would never stop creating ACEOs once you’ve started – it’s an addiction!

First of all, they are small and it’s easier to finish a piece in one day. I must say I have very little patience and a lot of my bigger works that take weeks to complete are still waiting for me to finish painting them. Secondly there is a selling advantage, you are likely to get more views on your artwork and potentially sales if it’s tagged ACEO. Another advantage is for artists and artisans who do not have a studio and are limited in storage space and maybe even in workspace. I paint a lot in the kitchen doing little chores in between and my working area for painting would not even fit an A4 page! And above all, ACEOs are so tiny and yet so beautiful – you would feel they are like little gems when you hold them in the palm of your hand!

ACEOs are also popular with art collectors. First of all because they are “collectable” given the standard size. And secondly because more people can afford smaller works of art rather than large gallery type works.


  1. Thanks Tanya. I did wonder what exactly they are. That was interesting. Love your work!

  2. Hey Tanya! I was thinking about selling some Aceo's - I used to make and collect atc's from artists around the globe. I love the size format as they are perfect for my doodle characters. Just wondering though, if your selling aceo prints does the original work have to be aceo sized to qualify as an Aceo?.... ;)

    My atc/mail art folder on flickr:

  3. Great post Tanya. I've been intrigued by ACEOs as I keep seeing them on Etsy and other places. Wondering now if it's time to jump into the 'miniature' world with some of my own stuff ...! Definitely like the idea of being able to complete something small quickly.

  4. Anne-Marie, thank you:)

    Tanya, I presume it's fine. I've even seen artists selling hand embelished ACEO print of their larger artwork as OOAK!

    Alex, give it a go! As people brought to you by ACEO search term might end up buying your card and vice versa...

  5. Ah, now it all makes sense! I had no clue what ACEO was all about. Great post Tanya, thanks! Your work is beautiful.

  6. I have considered making some ACEOs lately...for years I traded ATCs and wouldn't have DREAMED of selling them. But it's hard to find ATC trades these days. Maybe I will list some and put an offer to trade in the description? Food for thought, thanks Tanya!

  7. Thanks for enlightening me. Have been meaning to look up what ACEO meant for ages but didnt get around to it. Lovely way of making a little piece of Art.

  8. Magpie, thank you:)

    Jessamyn, absolutely try it - wishing you lots of luck in sales!!!

    Ger, thank you!

  9. Tanya, do you think it could be an idea to organize an exchange ACEO here between etsy ireland team members? For the craic and the love of art! :)

  10. Great post Tanya! Explains ACEOs perfectly. I have a stack of ACEA canvases just waiting for paint......oh where does the time go? Carol x

  11. Vivi, yes that could turn out really well. But I must say I never took part in exchanges as I have my art as my job and income source at the moment. But I know that there are a lot of ACEO exchange groups and that there are people who are interested in it. Maybe it's something to discuss in the next etsy chat?

    Carol, luckily ACEOs wouldn't take you much time at all:)!