Artist Trading Cards

Monday, May 7, 2007

What is an ATC?
An ATC is an Artist Trading Card. Ok you're saying, but WHAT the heck is that? Well, its like baseball cards but for artists.
There are only a few rules when making ATCs, firstly the size, the size should be 2.5" x 3.5", and they shouldn't be sold, only exchanged. The front should contain the artwork of the artist. The back should contain the artist information: artist name, contact info (email or website), title of the ATC and number (if made as part of an edition 1/8, 2/8, 3/8 etc).
  • Unique, one of a kind ATCs are called "originals"
  • Sets of identical cards are called "editions" and are numbered.
  • Sets of cards based on one theme, but in which each card is different are called a "series"
How do you store ATCs?
I store mine rather unimaginatively in baseball trading card sleeves. I actually got mine from dollartree! Mostly I use these because I they are transparant and I can see both sides without taking them out of the sleeves. You can store them however you wish though. Alter a box for them, alter a tin, make a pouch or come up with your own storage solution.

How do I make an ATC

Anything goes! Use whatever medium you wish, any techniques, just go with it. Remember that these cards are small, so think about that if you're using images like photographs, some detail is going to get lost when you reduce the size. ATCs like greeting cards are ideal for trying out new techniques. The cards are art, so I don't worry about being 'acid free" or anything. These little pieces of art can include recyled materials, scraps, ephemera and much more! Really think outside the box for these!

Ways to make an ATC
You can either precut cardstock to size, then assemble the card; you can also buy precut cards ready to use; do a collage on a big sheet then cut the sheet into individual ATCs;
or my favorite method, do it digital! Yep you read that right DIGITAL ATCs! I did my first digital one a couple of months ago and I've been hooked since.

I filled in the information on the back digitally, but a good idea is to leave a space for the card # so you can fill it in by hand. I also liked the idea of leaving a strip to sign my name "Di Hickman", I realised after that I didn't label it as an original so I handwrote it on above the card #. I did the whole thing digital but you could just as easy add some traditional supplies after printing for a hyrbid card. One thing I LOVE about digital cards is that I can print 4 out on a 5x7" sheet, flip the sheet over, pop it back in the printer to print the artist info etc on the back, cut, and trade! Simple! Or send the jpg via email and let them print their own!

What theme do I use?
Again anything goes! My first series was on "travel", I chose the theme because I'd gotten some travel theme stamps and supples recently and well thats where my logic ended. Looking back they were very primative, but I made them, released them, and moved on. My favorite to date is still the self portrait one above. I plan on doing a whole series of self portrait ATCs. Themes can be sparked by just a word, a color, a quote or just about anything.

I've made them! now what?
Now they have to fly the nest! You have to send them out into the world! I sent mine to family, and friends. You can join swaps on message boards. Or you can leave them as found art in places like public libraries, museums, galleries, book stores etc.

Do you have sketches for ATCs?
Well yes we do! I have some of my own which I'll be sharing later in the month, but this set is the first part of a collaboration between myself and Tammy Gray! When Tammy approached me about the ATC sketches (a few months back I might add!) I said yep I have ATC sketches, I'm working on getting them done and uploaded. She sent me some of hers and we came together to bring you these! The first 5 in a series of 10 based on Tammys sketches

Other uses for ATCs and the sketches!
What if you're not into trading? How about putting them on cards? Gift tags? A mini album? What if after all this you just don't "GET" ATCs? That's ok! Remember art isn't for everyone choose the medium that suits you! But you can still use the sketches! How? Well think about it, ATCs are rectangular, so are cards, tags, mini books, the list is endless! Find inspiration and go with it! Create a tag book, a 4x6 mini book, don't be intimidated by their small size, think bigger!

So what are you waiting for? You have the sketches! Go forth and create!

ATCs by Wendy McGlinchey
Wendy made a series called "Bloom"
[Card 1] K & Co Papers, Blooms To Go, Satin Ribbon, Flower Brad from Creative
Impressions; [Card 2] Dovecraft Amethyst Paper, Silver Organza Ribbon, Purple gems, Ellison Photo Corners; [Card 3] Dovecraft Amethyst Paper, Stamps by Stampin Up, Purple gem, small prima flower; [Card 4] Dovecraft Amethyst Paper, Stamps - Crafty Secrets, Blooms To Go, gold brad, Black Dymo Tape; [Card 5] Dovecraft Paper, Blloms To Go, Creative Impressions Flower Brad, Black Dymo Tape;

Digital ATCs by Brigette v.Tienhoven
Credits: [ATCsketch 1]: AlteredFragments_ElementsOne Karen Aicken; AlteredFragments ElementsTwo Karen Aicken; ATC_Brushes1 Karen Aicken; LAW ArtsyFartsyVol2 at Scrapartist; Brushes 500ml1930s7 at; [ATCsketch 2]:Silverkit Necessities at Atomic Cupcake; LAW ArtsyFartsyVol1_2 at Scrapartist; [ATCsketch 3]:
Jessica Sprague Echoes of Asia Kit

Digital ATC by Brandy Hunt
Credits: (sketch #2) Kit: My Guy by the digi hub; Font: Zippy do; (sketch#3) Kit: You and me Just Dreamy-Lauren Grier-Sweet Shoppe designs; Me Alpha- Say it aint so Kit-Lauren Grier-Sweet Shoppe designs; Flower: Funktastic Florals Lauren Grier-sweet shoppe designs; Butterfly Doodle- Just Need To Write My Thoughts-Lauren Grier-Sweet Shoppe Designs; Font: BluePrint; (sketch #5) Kit: The sun is finally shinning by Pamela Gibson; Font: Veranda/Bambino/Satisfaction

Digital ATC by Egle Noel
Egle made a card to print and fit into her husbands wallet!
Credits: Artist Trading Card Starter Pack by Amy Teets (A Cherry On Top); New Beginnings by A Cherry On Top (Collaboration Kit - solid white paper UNDER picture....picture reduced opacity); A Manly Kind of Love by A Cherry On Top (Collaboration Kit - word art by Kristin Cronin-Barrows)

ATC by Donna Arps
Supplies: Chatterbox Black Gallery Blossoms Paper; Cloud 9 Design Dream Rub Ons; Unknown Spiral Clip; Unknown Ribbon


Gail May 7, 2007 at 11:52 AM  

Best explanation I've read - thank you for clearing up a lot of questions I had about ATC's! Love the templates!

Jamie May 7, 2007 at 12:51 PM  

these are great, I may have to try....great sketches

Julie May 7, 2007 at 3:57 PM  

WOW you and Tammy rock!! These are awesome! I am going to have ym first go at an ATC card now!

Anonymous,  May 7, 2007 at 4:00 PM  

I am so thrilled! You all ROCKED these sketches!


Maisymary's Findings May 7, 2007 at 4:33 PM  

Wow great ATC samples ! love the digital ones ! I must have a go the next round ! lol seeing now how it can be done again !

thanks for the tut ! too

Anonymous,  May 7, 2007 at 4:33 PM  

Thank you so much for sharing the template for the ATC's and a great write up. It is appreciated!

donwilmom,  May 7, 2007 at 5:19 PM  

I guess I missed them. I get a bad download. Too bad I would have liked to use these templates to experiment with ATCs. Your explination is the best I have seen so far. I will be watching for more.

Anonymous,  May 7, 2007 at 6:56 PM  


Paula May 7, 2007 at 10:30 PM  

Great sketches, Thank you. Gorgeous cards.
I am doing the Deck of Me challenge (altering playing cards) by Emily Falconbridge & have problems designing them so these will come in very useful.
I plan to display mine all on a jumbo book ring when the full 52 are complete. Until then, I have them in pockets.

BrigittevT May 8, 2007 at 2:29 AM  

Great explanation ! Very usefull for those who haven't discovered ATC yet. I keep mine in collecters albums, think I traded abt. 200 by now and I so love these little works of art. Glad I managed to use 3 of the sketches and I think all the ATC's made are wonderful !

grambie May 8, 2007 at 1:30 PM  

What an exciting nl to receive explaining the ATC template, etc. Had to visit your blog to view all the wonderful designs & multiple points of view regarding their final layout. I have never made or used an ATC before & your article definitely assists the novice, such as I. Thanks for the dynamic template & tutorial. I love it. TFS. Leavin A Little LUV!!! XOXOXOXO

BrigittevT May 8, 2007 at 2:13 PM  

Forgot to say Di, I'll trade with you right away, your ATC's are so gorgeous !

xashee's corner May 9, 2007 at 9:17 AM  

these are WONDERFUL thank you for sharing :)

Diana,  May 11, 2007 at 8:23 AM  

I love the idea of ATCs! THANKS!

VintageScrapper May 14, 2007 at 4:48 PM  

Thanks for sharing.... these are wonderful!

Chris May 16, 2007 at 10:38 AM  

I forgot to leave a comment when I did mine (well I only did one so far) but it's a totally cool idea to do digital... thank you so much. I can see this becoming an addiction lol

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