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Artist Trading Cards - why participate?

Artists Trading Cards

There is a huge community of artist who share their work through “artist trading cards”. This fun and unique way of sharing your creativity can be more than just an exercise in art. ATC’s are intended to be traded rather than sold. Usually you will not be paid for your work, so why should you participate?

Exploring other mediums ~
Did you know that ATC’s can be created from paper, wood, fabric, glass and other mediums? The only limitation to your creations are the size. The only hard and fast rule when it comes to ATC’s is that they must be 2 ½ X 3 ½ inches (63 mm X 89 mm).

Stretching your creativity ~
While it seems that a small work of art would be easier, creating in miniature can actually be more challenging. Being able to share the entire message you’d like to express within a small amount of space can help you become really clear on what you’re trying to share. It requires that you don’t add anything extra.

They’re inexpensive to create ~
Since you are working on such a small scale, the amount of materials needed for each card is minimal. This also allows you to choose to toss anything you’re not completely happy with without a lot of guilt over wasted materials.

Sharing you work around the world ~
All ATC’s are trading amongst many artists. Like other collectable cards, people like to trade around the cards they’ve collected which means your work could end up all around the world. There are online groups who host trades as well as local groups.

Making new friends ~
ATC collectors are also artists, so they are a wonderful community to get to know better. You may find friends and kindred spirits that you wouldn’t have come into contact with any other way.

Marketing your work ~
Each ATC should have the artist’s contact information on the back of the card. While you are not being paid for the individual cards, your work is being sharing with a lot of people. If someone sees one of your cards and really likes your style, they are likely to check out your website or contact you for more information on your work.

For all these reasons and more, ATCs’ remain a growing form of artwork. As more people participate in the exchanges the sharing of artwork will spread. Try your hand at this type of artwork and see where it takes you!

For inspirations and ideas, an excellent book is, "Artist Trading Card Workshop: Create, Collect, Swap" by Bernie Berlin.

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