What are ATC’s?

In the comments, Rita asked:

Question for you… what makes something an ATC? Can you give us non-collager/paper artists a little lesson? I’m curious.

Rita is one of my oldest online friends, and an amazing knitter. (I need to take out the sweaters she knit for Ellie & Ollie a couple of years ago and photograph them for you to see how amazing she is, and I promise to do that later.) The answer to the question is pretty simple: ATCs are tiny 2 1/2" by 3 1/2" pieces of art, created by artists to trade (never sell) amongst each other. They can be portrait (vertical) or horizontal (landscape) in orientation, although vertical is more traditional. The can be painted, drawn, collaged, graphic, or any combination of these media and can be done on paper, fabric, metal — there are no limits. Think Pokeman or baseball cards for artists, and you have the idea.

ATCs are meant to be fun and are a great way to experiment with art.  One of my all time favorites is a very simple card with a small iris painted in watercolor.  Some cards are like miniature jewels.  I’m especially partial to Linda Koch’s beautiful work.  Belinda Schneider‘s work is really wonderful too.  And you could get absolutely lost in Karen Owen’s soft, delicate artwork.  The joy of these little cards is to have fun, enjoy yourself, make art, and make friends.  They are meant to trade, and if you are interested in starting out, I know you will find lots of artists in our swap who would be happy to trade with you and help you on your way!

One of my favorite artists, Bernie Berlin, has a brand new book out on ATCs.  It’s a fantastic book full of inspiration and techniques.  Bernie also runs a wonderful shelter for lost & abused animals, so if you purchase the book, you help her with a wonderful cause!

A final note, Claudine Hellmuth did a collage portrait of my children.  I adore it and I have to share it with you.  Claudine posted it on her blog and I encourage you to go take a look!  She even included some of our pets.

Posted in Art

4 thoughts on “What are ATC’s?

  1. Thanks so much Joyce for your kind words about my art!!! you are such a dear friend!! and I have to say that I love yours and have the one I rec’d from you here on my computer so I can see it every day!! and wow the piece Claudine did of the children and the cats and dog(love the cat in the tree!!!)!!! is fabulous!!!! she did a wonderful job and I know you love it!!! I too have rec’d wonderful ATC’s in the swap and PROMISE as soon as I get home before dark and we actually have a bit of light(lots of grey now for DAYS!!!) will post a picture of all my treasures!!! I love these wonderful pieces of art!! thanks for starting this!!! Hugs Linda

  2. Thanks Joyce, for the lovely comment about my knitting. I truly enjoy it. I’m actually using the same pattern that I made for Ellie to make some sweaters for my girls, only it’ll have a lace pattern instead of embroidery (girls choice). Thanks for the ATC description. I am in awe of the visual dexterity needed to layer the colors and textures that one sees in the finished objects. It’s a form of art that I’ve never felt comfortable in, maybe because I’ve never explored it, nor would I know where to begin. I will continue to enjoy it vicariously thru you!

  3. Joyce, thanks for the link to Claudine Hellmuth’s blog and portrait of kids and pets — it’s wonderful! I love the kitty in the tree, and Ollie’s sweet little mischevious glance.
    Cheers, Jennifer

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