First post in the series of three :)
“Hello there”, says me with a cuppa close by and a big smile on my face. For actually no reason apart from liking the fact that I will write about the cards I’ve been creating for so long and enjoying receiving them. And I’ll try to be brief because I know you can do your own google search if you feel very drawn to this topic ;)
So. What on Earth is an ATC card?
ATC stands for Artist Trading Card and has a fixed size of 2.5 x 3.5 inches or 64 x 89 mm (6,4 x 8,9 cm ;) ). It obviously needs to be made on a thicker paper so that it also feels like a card. I find 300 gr watercolor paper works best for what I do.
ATC card has to be an original piece of work and can be made in whatever technique/medium appeals to the maker. Prints of digital art are allowed as well but they have to be kept as a small collection of 5 and clearly noted as such on their backs with 1/5, 2/5, 3/5, 4/5 and 5/5 written out.
The most important aspect of these cards is that they are for free and you get them by either making them too and swapping them or receiving them as gifts.
On the back of the card write down info like title, date of creation, which medium was used, name and contact of the author, and indication of the number if the card was made as one of the series.
There are stamps out there that give you these categories so you can stamp it on the back of the card and then write in the data. You can also make a sticker and use that for your cards which is what I do :)
edit: Fresh from The Press :D
Answers directly from Mr. Vänçi himself as I contacted him about digital media but I am posting his whole reply right here:
“the ATC concept is open to all media :
all types of art are accepted, all techniques (paintings, drawings, collages, photographs, computer generated works, rubberstamp works, mixed media, found images, assemblages, etc.). only rule is the size: 64 x 89 mm or 2 ½ x 3 ½ inches.
in your case the question myight also be: how many ATC are printed fom one computer generated image?
- can i print editions of digitally created ATC? (woodblock prints, photo, copy-art, computer generated ATC)?
you can do so in small numbers if you number them on the back (1 of 5; 1/5). i do it once in a while but not on a regular basis. i prefer 'originals'.”
Any other details?
Apart from the card’s size and what is written above, there are no other restrictions or rules. I guess we all have our own preferences too, and mine is that I like to send out cards that have no bulky items glued to them so that they slip nicely in small clear plastic sleeves made especially for them. These sleeves keep the cards protected while they travel and also, if they are stored in a box.
What is the best way to get ATCs?
Being part of an on-line ATC swapping group gives you the chance to trade as often as you like or as the group admins have set it up. Being in more groups gives you the chance to trade more :)
Some groups allow participants to post all the cards they have available for trade so when others see a card they like, they initiate the swapping process among themselves.
I really like making my cards on a given theme because it is so much fun seeing what others come up with.
How to store ATCs?
I like to store my received cards in an album that has see-through pages with 4 pockets for the cards. I believe there are bigger albums with more pockets per page too. Storing them in a (pretty) tin box is effective as well :)
Also! I’ve had a DIY album project in my mind for ages so I’ll definitely be posting it soon-ish. Subscribe if you don’t want to miss it. Just sayin’ :D
This was originally a creative project developed by M. Vänçi Stirnemann back in 1997 and his idea was, and that’s what resonates so much with me too, that these cards are made to be swapped only or given away for free. No money should be exchanged for these cards.
He also started this project as a get together of creatives where the cards were swapped in person. Apparently, such live events are still happening around the world and maybe there is one happening close to you. Check out this link as it puts you directly on author’s page with current events happening.
I really like the idea behind these cards and since I like meeting new people and making art it’s a no-brainer that I was drawn to them. I also like surprises, so this is why in my group we swap “secretly”. Made cards get published for all to see only when receiver posts the photos.
I also encourage everyone to have a go with ATC cards. You don’t have to be “an artist” to be able to make them. Everyone can make them. They are small and perfect to test your art supplies on, and you only get better in your art by making loads of it.
And isn’t it cool that you also brighten someone’s day when they receive a letter with your card inside? I think it is. Even very much so :)
I hope you found my post useful and if you have any questions regarding ATCs leave a comment and I’ll get back to you asap.
With much love till next time,