This month I want to write about something near and dear to my heart. I’m sure the title photo has already given it away – Artist Trading Cards or ATC’s for short. Before ScrapGirls, I had never heard of ATC’s, but since I’ve joined ScrapGirls, I’ve been hooked on them – both in digital and hybrid forms. What are ATC’s you ask? Artist Trading Cards are very similar to baseball cards but a lot more exciting (to me, at least!) I like to think of them as mini works of art!
The rules are few, but standard. One: the size is always 2.5 x 3.5 – either vertical or horizontal; two: they are traded for other ATC’s, never sold; three: they are limited editions that are signed, dated, and numbered by the artist.
ATC’s start with a sturdy base such as cardstock or mat board as its canvas. From there, anything goes as you use various mediums – paint, fabric, fibers, metal, ribbons, buttons, charms, glitter, and etcetera, to create your masterpiece of your mood. Often when you participate in a swap, there is a theme and it is your interpretation of that theme that ends up on your canvas to share with others.
Here at ScrapGirls we offer the opportunity to participate in both a digitally produced ATC and a hybrid ATC swap. Both challenges can be found in the Fun and Games>Swaps section of the ScrapGirls Forums. Each has their own gallery. If you want to spend an enjoyable moment, grab your favorite cup of coffee and browse through the ATC Challenge Swap Gallery and the Hybrid ATC Swap Gallery.
Create the Base-
To start a digital card, simply open a 2.5 x 3.5 inch (vertical) or 3.5 x 2.5 inch(horizontal) document at 300 dpi in you photo editing program. This will be your base to build upon. From here you will then use your ScrapGirls papers, embellishments, alpha’s, styles, actions and brushes to create your card much like you would a full-sized layout. It is that simple! With the digital version, you typically do not create a back to your card so you sign and date the card on the front.
Decorate the Base-
I create hybrid ATC’s much the same way. I open my base size and then begin dragging in papers and elements, trimming and sizing them to fit within the small canvas. Once I am happy with the design I will then create print sheets for the base and any of the digital embellishments I wish to print and cut out. Once cut, they are ready to assemble and you can then add just about anything you want to decorate your card. I have used silk flowers, ribbons, brads, metal charms, wire, gems, stones, feathers, and many other things – it just depends on the theme and where my imagination takes me! On the backside of the hybrid ATC’s I usually use a digital paper that coordinates with the front of the card. I will often include the theme or title of my card along with the date, edition number (1 of 9, 2 of 9, etc) and my signature.
!!WARNING!! Making ATC’s is addicting! Both digital and hybrid are so much fun and I would really encourage you to give it a try. I have been involved with digital ATC’s since I first joined ScrapGirls in 2007 and would not miss participating in the monthly challenge! I have been involved with the hybrid ATC’s since its inception at ScrapGirls and have collected over 261 cards from fellow artists including their individual “about me” ATC’s. I have them tucked into trading card sheets (baseball card sheets) and stored in a 3-ring binder. It gives me a smile each time I browse through them and remember each individual who has created them. To me they are such a treasure!
I do hope you will join me in this addiction and give one or both ATC methods a try!
And as always . . . Enjoy the Process!!
Digital scrapbooking supplies used:
Christmas Chronicles digital kit
ScrapSimple Alpha Templates: Collage ATC
*Note: Title I LOVE ATC’s and workspace photos used Durin Eberhart’s new collection “Sweet Grunge Collection Biggie” and ScrapSimple Alpha Templates: Collage ATC. Additional ATC sample credits can be found in the ATC Gallery, or linked from my personal gallery. If you cannot locate a product used, feel free to contact me!
Tutorial written by Lei Maier