You may be asking, “What is an ATC SWAP?” First, ATCs (Artist Trading Cards) are miniature works of art about the same size of a baseball card, 2 ½ X 3 ½ inches. They are traded and not sold!
Think of a SWAP like trading baseball cards only you are trading your art. In an online SWAP there is a host. The host will invite others to join the SWAP they are hosting. The invite will include (but not limited to): a theme, deadline for joining the swap, number of cards to make, any special details (like must have one stamped image or must include a dimensional embellishment) and the date to mail by to the host.
Once you have finished your ATCs you mail them to the host. The host then SWAPS them out. You mail eight and you will get eight back from eight different artists. That is the SWAP!
Back to designing. To design an ATC, my goal is to design an ATC that is pleasing to me. As in all art, ATCs are a personal expression. I get an idea and go from there. The last SWAP I joined was a STEAMPUNK ATC SWAP. So I pulled out my Steampunk stamps from Viva Las VegaStamps (VLVS).
To start my design I have a stack of per-cut ATC cards that I use just for this step of my creative process. When I have left over paper from projects I cut it to ATC size. I don’t want to use my final paper choice to design, as I may not have enough for designing and the actual cards I will SWAP.
I will tell you a secret, sometimes what I envision works the first time. Others, it takes several tries to get a combination that is pleasing to me. Remember, there isn’t a right or wrong way to create your ATC.
My first idea for my Steampunk ATC was to use the Ferris Wheel in the back ground stamped with a lighter ink, then the Flying Man at the top of the ATC and the Vintage Man with Umbrella below. Both with darker inks. I tried the first card without masking and others with a mask. I switched out stamps. As you can see it took several tries before I came up with the final card. I used several different stamped combinations. I love having a collection of stamps to work with when designing.
FINALLY, the Victorian Hot Air Balloon I used on the card above gave me an idea... Here you have it, below my final ATC!
The Victorian Balloon and Acrobat on Rope with a sentiment. I used Copics to give the hot air balloon a little color, Stickles and embellished with three locking washers.
VLVS I used in my developing process:
VLVS on the final card:
*Stamps with asterisk are on PLATE 1336