Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Tutorial Tuesday: Artist Trading Cards Help Get Creativity Flowing

Inspiration. Tapping hidden creativity. Getting over an artistic block. Try creating some Artist Trading Cards (ATCs). I became interested in this idea and I wanted to find out more. I decided to learn about them for this week's tutorial and to gather links to further information, photos and galleries. Come along for the artistic fun of it!

I recently bought a book that caught my eye in a thrift store. I picked it purely for inspirational purposes because I liked it and - ok, it was cheap.. The book (also sold by some of Amzaon's used book sellers), Kaleidoscope: Ideas and Projects to Stimulate Creatvity by Suzanne Simanatis mentions mailing art to friends and even to yourself. It reminded of Artist Trading Cards that I had seen in other articles and so I decided to go to the web to find out a little more.

I visited a site called Artist Trading Cards where I learned that Artist Trading Cards are essentially a version of the traditional trading cards that many of us first remember as sport cards. I certainly remember my brother's collecting baseball cards when we were kids, and my own kids collected basketball cards. I noticed school kids in recent years collecting Pokemon and such.

Artist trading cards, however, are not mass produced, but each is an original work of art. Some artists created with one media, and other use mixed media. The basic concept behind cards for many people is to trade the cards. Trades can be made in person by finding an event or by mail. And this being the 21st century, some trading is done electronically. You can find groups on Yahoo by doing a search. I did a search and came up with 335 choices, including a group called Artist Trading Card World.

So, on to creating theATC.

Step 1: The SIZE of the card is what makes it a trading card. It must - and according to many sources, this is the ONLY rule, conform to the size of 2.5 inches by 3.5 inches ( on 64 by 89 mm.) Any other decisions are to be made by the artist. The card can be made of any material, but the artist wants to consider the effect of the choice, as well as the eventual thickness of the card.

Step 2: Gather and set out any materials you may want to use. If you are using one media, that's easy. Or, go on search mission after you get your card cut and ready. Round up some magazines, papers, glues, scissors, stickers, photographs, and whatever else comes into mind or view while gathering. Then sit down and have a go. You do need to think about where to leave room for the address.

Step 3: The good news is next: there are no steps to follow, because that's the whole purpose ... let go and let your mind wander. Create. Try something new. Experiment.

Step 4: Decide what to do with your card. You may decide to post it somewhere you can see it. Or tape it into your design notebook or journal. Put it on your mirror so you see your card each time you see yourself. Maybe you want to mail it to yourself. Or perhaps you'll decide to get involved in an ATC group and trade cards with another artist. The rule (so I guess this makes two rules!) is that they are never to be sold.

I challenged myself to try this for this entry. My first attempt at a card is shown at left. The other two colorful cards shown, the elephant and the butterfly, were created by one of our Wist-Etsy Moo'ers Jamie Gamache, owner of Etsy Store JLW Products.

Give it a try yourself! For more information and inspiration visit the following web sites:

http://www.cedarseed.com/air/atc.html Cedar Seed
http://www.moderngypsy.com/atc/ Artist site of Artist Trading Cards
http://www.mailartist.com/kiyotei/ATC.html Mailart
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/ATC_World/ Email discussion group
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/alteredbooks/ Email discussion group
http://www.nitaleland.com Nita Leland Website

This article was written by Tutorial Tuesday feature editor, Mimi Frawley, of A Thousand Dreams Designs. Thanks to Jamie Gamache, of JLW Products, for contributing cards. Ideas for future tutorials would be greatly welcomed.


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