June 1, 2014

All About Artist Trading Cards!


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An Artist Trading Card or ATC is a small, baseball card sized
(2 1/2 x 3 1/2) original self-produced miniature work of art!  ATC’s can be made using any medium of your choosing, from stamping, collage, hand drawn, watercolor, fabric, digital and more. 
There really are “No Rules” when it comes to making ATC’s besides the size requirement!  But…to this rule are appended a couple of conventions.

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First, an ATC mustn't be sold, only exchanged, as the whole essence of these tiny works of art is about artists meeting (by correspondence or online if need be) and exchanging their works, thus meeting many artists and getting exposed to many personal styles.

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Second, on the back of each ATC the artist writes part or all of the following information: name, contact information, title of the ATC and number (1/8, 2/8...) if it's part of an edition OR if it is an original OR part of a series.

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By definition ATCs are made in limited numbers, often no more than one of a kind. Unique ATCs are called originals; sets of identical ATCs are called editions and are numbered; sets of ATCs that are based on one theme but that are different are called series. Don't be intimidated by the concept of small editions or originals: very few people are too picky about this. What most collectors really want are cards that were made with care. Based on that, numbers are meaningless.

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On the front of an ATC an artist creates an original work to showcase their art. Artist trading cards can be made in any medium and using any technique, whether it's painting, drawing, digital, stamping, mixed media or collage. You are really limited only by your imagination and materials.

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Regular trading sessions can be organized by groups or clubs – like the Paper Pals ATC Club that has been around for several years.  Our local club meets once a month and alternates our meeting location between Thomas Hammer Coffee House in Pullman, WA and Mikey’s Gyros in Moscow, ID.  


Face-to-face trading fits the original intention of artist trading cards because you're meeting new people, learning about new mediums and sharing your art in a very personal way!  Trading by post also happens and is a fun way to build a collection of Art from creators all over the world.

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You can find other ATC creators through groups such as the Flick Artist Trading Cards, ATCs For All and  Swap-Bot.  I have participated in all three of these online trading communities and have ended up with hundreds of ATC’s that fill two very large binders!

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If you would like to join our local Paper Pals ATC Group – you can join our group here on Facebook, email Karen at karen@paper-pals.com or stop by the next meeting to check it out!

Paper Pals ATC June Trade Night
Date:  June 25th
Time:  6pm
Place – Mikey’s Gryos – Downtown Moscow, Idaho

Maya Angelou
Technique - Salt
Make at least 15 ATC's and bring any other older ones or xtras for open trading after the meeting. Please RSVP and car pool if needed.

Want to trade By Mail?
Mail your ATC's to:
Karen Lien
221 N Polk Street
Moscow, ID 83843

Make sure to include a self addressed - stamped envelope with enough postage to get your ATC's back to you!


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1 comment:

Tricia said...

I've been browsing through your blog today and have really enjoyed it. I came by because I was trying to learn about ATCs and found your blog through a google search. It is my first time to make these for a swap and your post was extremely helpful. Such great information. Our theme is houses. I am across the country from you in Michigan, but I have a close friend who is from Idaho.