Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Artist Trading Cards

I had never heard of Artist Trading Cards (ATCs) until Elizabeth (of the weekly Altered Book Lover T is for Tuesday blog party) organized a swap of ATCs to celebrate the 2nd anniversary of of the T Tuesday gatherings. I researched ATCs, surprised at how much I found. There's a Wikipedia article, Youtube tutorials, and plenty of web sites.

I signed up for the event, and was able to send my first-ever ATC (pictured at the top of the page) off on an adventure to Brazil! Cool!

It wasn't long before I received a card in the mail from heARTfully inspired by Linda, only it wasn't just a card but a big packet full of treats:

Wow! Look at all that! And the cards (yes, she sent several) are wonderful! If I'm ever involved in a swap again, I'll send more than just a single lonely card.

I've kept making cards and am trying to learn more about how to improve my work. My next 3 cards were Memphis-themed like my first one:

I seem to gravitate to a Memphis concept with these, but I've also made some that fold:

And a few with Bible verses that I can send to our family's surviving elder member, now in a nursing home:

This one folds out so it'll sit on a tray table:

I enjoy putting these together. I've picked up a few embellishments at Michael's where they were having a sale. I've checked out the fabric store and am shocked at how expensive things are there. The cheapest button I liked for ATC purposes, for example, was $4.50! I did find some ribbon that's 2.5 inches wide and marked down because it was out of season. I need to find a cheaper source and wider variety of embellishments. I did find some at The Dollar Tree, of all places, and I'll be keeping an eye on what they have as seasons change.

I trust I'll improve as I make more. I've been playing with a little crayola watercolor set, and I found watercolors in little tubes to replenish that when I use up colors. I found an intro-to-acrylics set at Michael's marked down on clearance, and I'll enjoy trying that out, but I'm so in love with the watercolors. It reminds me of wet-on-wet watercoloring with the kids when they were little.

I've signed up with Tumblr and will post new ones there as I make them. I'm putting them in the post queue to appear once a day.

Thank you, Elizabeth, for introducing me to this activity, and thanks to the T Tuesday community for the encouragement. There's no drink here or I'd have linked yesterday, but I'm sure I'll be making tea- and coffee-related ATCs any day now, so I hope to share those soon.


  1. How exciting and fun that you've been bitten by the ATC bug.
    One would never know that you hadn't been making them already looking at your cool cards :-)
    It is a fun little 'canvas' to play with that's for sure and with endless possibilities.
    Thank you for visiting me yesterday.
    I was gone most of the day and am just now playing catchup.

    1. Thank you :) It is such a tiny space that I don't find it at all intimidating. If I do one I don't like I just number it and move on. No stress :)

  2. This looks incredibly fun! I am thinking how I could make little sketches at parties and pass around... That is, when I worked up enough confidence.

    1. It is great fun :) I'm having fun just exploring different ways to do the backgrounds lol

  3. I was SO intimidated the first time I made an ATC. But I realized the formula is simple: background, main image, wording.

    I also found JoAnns, Michaels, and Hobby Lobby have HORRIBLE prices on fabric, buttons, trims, and lace. I go to the thrift store, and they often have specials. I haven't been in awhile, because I don't need or WANT anything, but if you are just starting out, you can buy an entire blouse, especially girl's blouses, for less than $4.50 on sale at the thrift store. You get at least three, and often up to seven buttons on that blouse! And you have fabric you can use in your ATCs, too.

    Looking for backgrounds? I have loads of tutorials on my blog and a good place to start would be Lesson 9: backgrounds on my right sidebar under altered book lessons. There will be many there, and IF I remember correctly, they have links to the original posts. It will save you wading through my tutorials page. And, please don't be afraid to ask if you have any questions.

    1. I hadn't thought of thrift store clothes for buttons. Great idea! I'll definitely check out your tutorials. Thx :) I'm not sure why I hadn't already thought of that.

  4. Just catching up! Your ATC's are great. They are addicting once you get started. I used to make quite a few but haven't made any in ages. You have inspired me to get out the paper and glue. Once you get into making them you will find all sorts of things you can use.


    1. Thanks :) I'm making at least one a day, trying to use water colors as backgrounds the last few days. I've got tons of magazine picture backgrounds made and ready for when I see something that strikes me. lol It's so much fun!