Friday, January 20, 2012

An ATC Tutorial

I developed this ATC tutorial for the Polar Bear Pajama Party going on this weekend at the Flying Unicorn.  Participants are asked to make an ATC and post it in my challenge thread for a chance to win some sandable Fancy Pants paper from the Flying Unicorn.  

ATC stands for Artist Trading Card. The operative word is trading. These cards are traded among artists, but never sold. When you trade, you write your information on the back of the card. There even are stamps (rubber/acrylic) made with all the needed information to put on the back of your ATC. 
A strict rule is that the trading card must measure 3-1/2 inches by 2-1/2 inches. It does not matter if your card design is horizontal or vertical.
Once you get into trading ATCs, you will learn there are more design rules such as when you make sets and series. But during this crop, we only are going to make one ATC so you don’t have to worry about all of that at this point. 
There are 3 basic steps to creating an ATC: background, image and embellishment.
You may overload your ATC with embellishments but something to remember is that collectors keep them in sleeves to protect them (think tiny plastic bag like the kind you get embellishments in). These sleeves can be individual, which is how I send my out. Or they can be in binders, each page holding 9 cards. If you or someone you know collects baseball cards, then you have an idea of how this looks. My ATCs are in a long narrow box so that I can look through them, much like you would recipes in a recipe box. Therefore, when you are decorating your ATC, please remember overhanging embellishments and chunky embellishments may keep them from fitting in their sleeves.

If you are an old hand at making ATCs, then you have some cards on hand. If not, then you need to make one. You can use anything for your base—card stock, a piece of designed scrapbooking paper, cardboard, grunge board, burlap, cork, etc. Here is a photo with some examples.
Huber FUL Polar Bear Crop ATC tutorial p.1 foundations 2012-01-19.jpg
You can buy precut cards that measure 2-1/2 inches by 3-1/2 inches at art and hobby stores. I found canvas and wood ones at Hobby Lobby. Some paper manufacturers have designed paper with rectangles the size needed for ATCs. The paper in the photo is Pink Paislee Butterfly Garden which is available in the Flying Unicorn Store. You would have 7 to 9 ATCs to cut out of this page. Tim Holtz also has 12x12 paper with some of the pattern designed to be cut for ATCs. 

  1. Decide what you want for your base and get it ready: 2-1/2 inches x 3-1/2 inches.
  2. Create a background on your base: paint, stamping, premade as the Butterfly Garden designs, something run through an embossing folder, just a pretty scrap of paper, etc. Check out the prize for this challenge--sandable paper--perfect for an ATC background!
  3. Choose an image to place on top of the background. This can be a clip art image, a larger printed image from scrapbook paper (such as Graphic 45), something 3-D such as a snowman ornament, a stamped image, etc.
  4. Embellish to your heart’s content.
Here are a couple samples of ATCs I’ve made in the past. Even though this is a Polar Bear party, I couldn't resist posting a couple of "spring themed" ATCs.

This first one has patterned paper as a background, a fussy cut image and then misc. embellies.
Huber ATC sample Summer Beauty.jpg
This second one has for a background distressed ink and a couple of rubber stamped images. Another stamped flower cut out and layered on top. The image is fussy cut.
Huber Think Spring ATC .jpg
And here’s the one I made for our Polar Bear Pajama Party:
Base is a black card stock ATC. Image is from Gecko Galz, printed on my ink jet printer at home, cut a tad smaller than ATC size so that the black shows as a border. Embellishment is all Stickles and a little bit of cotton from a cotton ball for the wispy snow clouds. 

The ATC part of the tutorial is over, but I thought I’d add a few comments about using wet products with ink jet images. I know you can get a “setting” product to keep the images from bleeding. However, I did want to mention that Stickles is a wet glue and therefore does react with the ink printed from an ink jet printer. Sometimes you can use this to your advantage. I love the effect of Clear Rock Candy Stickles and often use it on water images such as the ocean, or in this case, the ice. I used some Faded Jeans Stickles on the robe (all dressed for the pajama party) and then added Diamond Stickles on both the robe and the clouds. The Flying Unicorn store has a wide variety of Stickles—just look under the category Tim Holtz. I used a glue pen to highlight the snowflakes and then sprinkled glitter on top of the wet glue. I would have brushed on liquid glue and then given it a good dose of glitter, but I know from past experience that the ink runs as you’re painting on the glue. Just a few thoughts if you haven’t worked with these products and ink jet images before. 

If you have time to make an ATC this weekend, I hope you bring it over to the Flying Unicorn so we can admire it. The challenge ends at 6pm est on Sunday.  And you may just be the one to win the prize (winner chosen by random draw).


Shona said...

LOVE this and thanks for the tut tooo

Georgie Horn said...

you're atc are inspirational!

Emily said...

These are gorgeous! Thanks for the tutorial and info on ATCs .... ive never made one before so this was helpful!

PetraB said...

Your ATCs are fabulous, your polar bear one absolutely gorgeous.

Yvonne said...

Fabulous ATCs!

Shelly Schmidt said...

Fabulous ATC's- love the polar bear so much!

1CardCreator said...

Love your ATC's and your tutorial is awesome. So much information, I really appreciate all the details you added. I had no idea that the size had to be exact even! The polar bear one is awesome, I love the ice and snow effects you added! Thanks for sharing all the valuable information with all of is.

Alexa said...

Your ATC's are gorgeous. hope your tutorial will help me will help me with the Gingernaps twin hie challenge!

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