You have probably noticed if you have wandered through my personal, online galleries that there are quite a few pages of itty bitty artworks called "Artist Trading Cards" or ATCs. They are a phenomenon that came about when a few artists in Europe in 1996 decided that they were tired of not being able to afford to own full sized art from other artists. They began creating small pieces which they mailed to each other in trade.
See here for a little more info:
I was introduced to ATCs in early 2007 when our Chicago Chapter of the Colored Pencil Society of America had it’s own little demo on the topic. We eventually had a terrifically fun swap a month or two later with some marvelous artwork swapping hands amongst the members. That was it...I was hooked!
I joined an ATC online swap site called IllustratedATCs.com and soon I was off and trading. So far, I’ve traded all over the US and Canada, Mexico also, and as far away as New Zealand, Europe and Japan (with cards owed to a marvelous artist/trader in South Africa). If you get a chance to check out the site, I think you’d really enjoy seeing all the different styles as these are not only for drawings or painting but collage and other forms as well.
It’s probably very obvious from the subject matter that different swaps have different themes. But one doesn’t have to join large swaps...you can also trade one on one if you have a favorite artist or wish to swap for more than a regular swap (which is either 3 or 6 cards relating to the swap theme). I’ve had my cards featured in magazines and in books on the subject (one will be coming out soon - I’ll let y’all know when it’s available) and have won a few awards for them.
The best thing about these cards are that they don’t take as much time as trying to finish a larger scale piece. Not only do they allow you to loosen up artistically, but they allow you to change techniques and subject matter quickly from piece to piece. You just can’t get bored doing these!
If you get the chance, I would suggest creating a few ATCs yourself and see how much fun you’ll have. I bet you get hooked too! Pre-made ATC cards are available through most online art supply stores (I shop DickBlick.com for both blank cards and little envelopes to send them off in).
Any questions on ATCs or where to get materials? Just drop me a note!
Have a wonderful week!
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