If you have not heard of ATCs before, the letters stand for ‘Artist Trading Cards’ and refer to a form of paper crafting that involves making a miniature work of art. There are only a associate of rules that need to be followed when you are making ATCs:
All ATCs need to be the size of a baseball trading card, or 2 1/2″ x 3 1/2″ (64 X 89 mm) in size. Other than the size requirement, the technique you use to express your artistic side on an ATC can be completely open.
You must never sell your ATCs. The idea is to make them for trading or swap purposes with other artists only.
Another handy thing to do, though it is not a rule, is to place your name and perhaps contact details on the back of your ATCs. This strategy can work to your advantage. If you provide your craft blog address, for example, then the person receiving the card has a functional way to find more of your art work. The ATC becomes a portable flyer for you!
See how ATCs make it very functional to carry your art around with you? If you have ever been out and happily met up with another paper crafter, what a lovely thing to be able to do – to give them a piece of your own art work in exchange for some of theirs, on the identify! With ATCs you can always have a little stash of cards ready to trade on hand, just for such occasions. They are much more personal and noticable than most standard business cards, too.
How Are ATC Swaps Run?
There are lots of paper crafters who enjoy making ATCs so much, they have regular swaps and challenges. The challenges often throw out a theme for the crafter to think about while making their cards. The suggestion may centre around a particular emotion – such as love, sorrow, joy – or about a particular topic or subject. Themes as different as music or childhood or Paris or recipes and so on may be suggested for an ATC swap round.
Most participants make a set number of cards based around the swap theme. This is called a ‘series’ of cards. Each card is then numbered to show they are part of a set. If you made 5 cards, you would number them to show this by calling the first one 1 of 5, the second 2 of 5 and so on.
Who knows? Your card series could one day become a much sought after collectible if your art work becomes famous! Numbering the series lets people know if they have found the complete set or allows people to see how scarce a card they may have in their possession.
The size of these little cards makes posting them around the world much more affordable and do-able. consequently your art may be more portable and meaningful as ATCs are much more functional to pop in the post than many other paper craft forms. The swapping of ATCs can become a truly international past time!
How else Do ATCs Make Your Art Portable and More functional?
Which would you rather pack to take on a plane to a convention? A 12′ x 12′ pizza box complete of scrapbook layouts or a small, zip lock bag complete of ATCs? Which would fit in your handbag more easily? I know which one would fit in mine more easily, and weigh less to boot! The size of ATCs as opposed to scrapbook page layouts is obvious.
ATCs can be fit into a standard letter sized envelope more easily than, say, a 3-d paper craft item like a small gift box. They are consequently more conveniently sent as gifts.
ATCs can be used as card fronts or scrapbook page elements so easily! They are portable embellishments you can carry in your craft bag to crops to speed up and lighten the load of your crafting, with a little planning.
It can take much less time to make a set of ATCs than it does to make cards or scrapbook layouts or already hand-made embellishments.
The fact that they are smaller method it is more affordable to make a set of them than it is to fragment complete-sized pages or already than making standard sized greeting cards. This can be very functional in uncertain economic times.
If you have never tried making ATCs, I hope I have outlined some of the advantages of making them. Why not make some today and prove to yourself how portable and functional they can be? They can become very addictive though, I must warn you!