Friday, June 7, 2013

Artist Trading Cards

Hi, y'all -- Carla here with today's post!

One of my favorite things about crafting is the sharing and camaraderie among like-minded crafters, both online and in real life (IRL). Getting to see how other artists and crafters create is always intriguing to me. I'm fortunate to be part of an IRL group (besides my talented Crafting Journals co-contributors!) that inspires me with the diversity of their crafting interests: scrapbooking, stamping, card-making, paper crafting, mixed media, stitching -- there's always something fun going on!

When we can't meet in person, we like to play with techniques and try new ideas through Artist Trading Card (ATC) swaps. ATCs, by definition, are the same size as baseball cards -- 2 1/2 x 3 1/2 inches. They're miniature works of art, and they're intended to be traded, never sold. Our group has periodic swaps where we make five or 10 cards based on a pre-determined theme. We send them in to our swap organizer, and then she sends us back five or 10 cards from the other participants in the swap.

Here are a few examples of cards I received and made for recent swaps. These look so much better IRL (isn't that always the way?!).  Notice how each person expresses her own interpretation of the theme!

Theme: Balloons and Bubbles

Artists, clockwise, from upper left: Karishma Israni, Cecilia Meehan, Carla Sylvester, Cheryl Lee, Sandi Miaskoff.

Theme: Going Postal

Artists, clockwise, from upper left: Karishma Israni, Cheryl Lee, Carla Sylvester, Deanne D'Aloia, Cecilia Meehan.

Theme: Circles

Artists, clockwise, from upper left: Cecilia Meehan, Michele Luxenberg, Christelle Vernier, Carla Sylvester, Deanne D'Aloia.

ATC Tips

Everyone has her or his own approach to making ATCs. When I sit down to create ATCs, I usually focus on "four T's:"
  • Theme: This is usually specified in the announcement of a swap. I begin by imagining how I'll play off the theme. 
  • Technique: I usually try to incorporate some kind of technique. It could be stamping, painting, chalking -- the possibilities are endless. Often I use more than one technique. 
  • Texture: A little texture can really make a project pop. I like to include a piece of ribbon, a button, or some other dimensional element on my ATC. 
  • Text: Many people incorporate a title or a phrase into the design of their ATCs. I enjoy doing this for the visual interest that typography adds. 
What about you -- do you enjoy swapping ATCs? What's your approach when creating them? Link us to one of your own ATCs -- we'd love to see!


  1. Never done ATC's, maybe I should start, using some of my many supplies!

    1. Tina, I agree, ATCs are a great way to use your stash! Let us know if you decide to try it!

  2. They are cute... and you can probably use them on a layout as an embellishment layer...

    1. Nancy -- Yes, some ATCs would make great embellishments on a layout or a card!