Artist’s trading cards, also known as ATC’s, are original pieces of art created on 3 1/2″ x 2 1/2″ pieces of paper, cardboard, or thick fabric. The only rules for these cards are that they be handmade, and are the proper ATC size. I have received countless ATCs since first picking up the hobby in 2009; I have received hand drawn portraits, abstract images made from watercolor, fabric cards adhered to cardstock, and a few collaged cards as well. I genuinely enjoy the practice of making art, and am rarely tempted to keep my own cards because the joy is in the experience. However, I do makes scans of my ATCs, and have a small collection of prints made from my own favorite cards.
I have a special binder for keeping track of my ATCs, sectioned into three parts: 1. received ATCs, 2. my untraded ATCs, and 3. copies of my original ATCs. I have plans to display all of my received ATCs, especially the owl themed cards I’ve been collecting over the years, but my studio space is still coming together. I’ve recieved cards from truly talented artists, including ones from Australia, New Zealand, Germany, and the UK. Some of my most treasured cards come from other countries. I find it utterly amazing that art has been created for me in mind and traveled all the way from overseas!
I’ve been a member at the website ATCs For All for many years, and is where I meet most of the people with whom I trade. Recently, I’ve also discovered that there are tons of Facebook groups to join that feature the swapping of artist’s trading cards. Some people are eager to host swaps, which are held with a specific theme. These lovely swap hosts will ask you to create a certain amount of ATCs based on that theme, and then send you back the same amount of cards after receiving ATCs from all the participants of that swap. Participating in swaps is a great way to build a collection, but comes with both a time constraint and the assumption that you can make multiple cards for a single theme.
Featured below is a video I have created for someone who is completely new to idea of making ATCs. If you’re not new to making artist’s trading cards, it probably won’t tell you anything that you don’t already know, but I won’t stop you from clicking play!