Monday, February 18, 2008

What is an ATC (Artist Trading Card)?

We figured since we were hosting an ATC swap at the Store, we should give people the run down of all the pertinent information regarding those lovable little things known as ATC- Artist Trading Cards. So, welcome to our little primer of all things ATC.

Thankfully there are few rules about ATC's- the really important one, and the one that makes an ATC an ATC has to do with size.

ATC's are ALWAYS 2 1/2" by 3 1/2". They're supposed to be swapped/traded. Never sold (if an ATC is offered for sale it is known as an ACEO (Art Card Editions and Originals). They can be made of ANYTHING! I've seen some really amazing fabric ATC's, some made of glass, metal, etc. A note about thickness-- many people like to store their ATCs in Baseball Card Sleeves, either the individual ones or the pages, so most people take that into consideration when they add embellishments.

The other rule is that ATCs should be signed and numbered. Like for our Spring Swap, I will write the following information on the back of my cards:

Brandy Boyd
Spring Swap 08
1 of 10 (etc for each of my cards)

Many companies make stamps specially sized and all that for ATCs that has lines for your name, date, etc. I have one from The Cat's Pajamas, one from Hampton Arts, and one from Invoke that are very lovely. (All can be special ordered through the store if we're out of them!)

This swap's theme is very loose- Spring - and can be interpreted in so many ways. Which is one of the wonderful things about ATCs- they are little portable works of art that can also inspire in so many ways. Put them in a book and look through them when you're needing a jump start. Use them on cards and pages for special embellishments. Take an ATC design and blow it up to card or even layout size. They're excellent starting points and they're easy to make, as quick as you want them to be and their small size keeps them from being overwhelming.

The Wikipedia entry for ATC's gives a considerable amount of info regarding the history of the art form and is a nice read if you're thinking this might be something that you could get addicted to. :) -