Sunday, August 22, 2010

Artist Trading Cards (ATC's)

Red Bird

ATC's or Artist Trading Cards are small works (3.5 x 2.5 inches) that are traded among artists. They can be sold, but then they are called ACEO's (Artist  Trading Card Editions and Originals)  The cards have been around since the late 90's and seem really popular with the altered art and stamper communities. I can understand why, collage is a much faster/easier way to make a lot of cards then what I have been doing. You can read some history about the cards here, and find instructions on how to make them here. Art Quilters have also taken to the small format and trading concept. The cards are the size of traditional baseball cards and as far as I can tell can be made with any materials the artist prefers, as long as the cards remain thin enough to slip into standard card sleeves they can be embellished with beads, fiber or other materials.  How much embellishment is permissible is sometimes predetermined in swaps that are set up along with a theme. Trades of cars were originally supposed to be done in person, artist to artist. Swap meets in some major cities were arraigned and held. But it is now several years on, and while swapping is still done face to face, I bet more cards are swapped through the mail. I know there are Yahoo groups set up for swapping and I have found at least one web site,

I don't remember when I first heard about the cards, a few years ago anyway, I know they were swapped one year at the Chicago Quilt Festival. I have a friend who was making and sending fiber post cards, but I didn't find the post card size all that tempting though I did think about it off and on. A member of the Quilt Art list mentioned in a message that she had been making some ATC's for a Charity auction/fund raiser and was willing to trade with other list members who had made some. The message was the push I had been lacking to do some more investigating into how to make the cards and to finally get off my duff and make some.

First I did some on-line research (see links above) then I needed to decide what media I wanted to use for my first attempts. I decided that for my first cards I would use Bristol board, ink and colored pencils, the media that I have been playing with most for the past year or so. 

The Bristol board part was easy, I have several pads of it in various sizes. I used the cutter I purchased for making my Resume books to slice the paper into the required 3.5 x 2.5 inches. Next I had to decide what to draw on the card. I went browsing among my photo collection and found an image of a cardinal sitting on a bare branch that I thought looked doable. The result is the image at the top of the blog. Next photo is of my cut card stock and of the 3 cards I have so far finished. One card is flipped over showing the back where the artist writes  their name, contact information, and ATC number (can be either consecutive for all cards made or if a series the number in the series). I have added the work title, date, month/year and media I used to make the card. But I gather that the last 3 aren't required. 

So far I have finished 3, and I am not sure how many more I will finish before I am lured off to another project. I really should be working on my challenge quilt. But I fear I have gotten a bit bored with the handwork I need to do. Oh well. Here are photos of my other 2 finished cards, one is a mythical city that I just had fun drawing first with pen and then coloring in with colored pencils, the other is from a photo I made of pansy's that were offered for sale.

That is it for this post. Tomorrow evening I will dash out between expected rain drops to another drawing session, hopefully the results will be as good as last weeks.  Until the next post comments are welcome.