Thursday, October 29, 2009

ATCs: S-l-o-w-l-y Getting Brushes Wet Again

The world of ATCs (or Artist Trading Cards has fascinated me for some time. When I was at Cheap Joe's I found this little packets of pre-cut cards in many different papers for about $2.00. They sat in my art drawer over the summer. This fall, as I unpacked from the summer slowly and put aside my journals temporarily for some studio work....I found myself running my hands gently over this little package again. I read a little about the cards history...In 1997, M. Vanci Stirnemann, a Swiss artist, created 1200 cards by hand as part of an exhibit. On the last day, he invited others to create their own cards and trade with him during the closing reception. The movement took off, and today, there are ATC swaps in almost every major city around the world. There are also many online swaps. and smiled to myself at how these things sometimes start!

The size of 2.5" x 3.5" seems to be the only requirement. And I think that the whole thing brings back nostalgia of when I used to have trading cards as a child. Did you? I remember many a happy hour sitting on the front "stoop" of our house in Des Plaines, IL trading "horses" for " gardens" or "flowers" or much-prized "dog" cards. These were dutifully kept in old cigar boxes and sorted by the photo on the front. "I'll give you 3 flowers for that golden retriever" or something like that. Sometimes we brought them to school and traded or just admired them at recess or lunch hour. This may have been a regional tradition as some people give me an odd look. This would have been in about 1949.
So now I am reading a little about the how-to's which of course are totally open ended. I went to the Strathmore site...and found some how to's there. And I went to a WikiHow site for some info as well. The latter even had a short video of someone making one with collage materials. Anything goes. These little doodling ones to start with were done with the idea that they might be fun for a "starter" project for our Fine Arts open house this Friday. I used watercolor pencils (Derwent), watercolors, permanent ink pens. We could start our own trade here in my park in FL or we could find other artists to trade with. If anyone has a good spot to go for trading let me know.


  1. Ginny, I like your first ATCs! Colorful and bright seems to be the thing that really catches your attention when the painting is so small. Any time you want to trade, let me know - as you already know, there are tons of artist sites that do a lot of the ATCs for trading or showing. There is even one site where you have to be juried in (I think you'll find it on Margaret Storer-Roche's blog).

  2. Hi Ginny!

    HEre are two places to try...
    ATCs for All...and Illustrated ATCs...The later is the juried site Rhonda spoke of...There are also numerous trading groups on Flickr...:)

    Like Rhonda said...Whenever you would like to trade...let me know too :)

    HAve fun! :)