A Few Links About Artist Trading Cards

Good evening, Artist Way Creative Cluster,

I do want to go through each of the three Artist Way tools in more detail and depth but since we were a bit pressed for time on the first session due to the meet and greet introductions I thought I’d start with a posting about ATCs as they are commonly called. In a nutshell, ATCs are miniature original works of art in ANY medium at all. The only standard is that they be the size of a North American playing card (Mexican playing cards are a slightly different size) and that they are always traded and never sold.

At the first session I passed out a starter collection of ephemera that I basically had left over from my group in Mexico. In Ajijic I did offer a selection of mini mixed media workshops after the weekly theme because I had the session right at my apartment/arte salon which was a dedicated studio space and then later the Luna Azul open studio space for six artists during the annual Ajijic Society of the Arts Open Studio tour.

Since our Nanaimo group is in a church which I only found out last Tuesday is followed by a tai chi group naturally I’ve had to modify and adapt the program to fit the space and time allotment. I also realize that a few participants have to leave either slightly before noon or right at noon. I will certainly be more conscious of this factor in subsequent sessions so don’t worry that you will be missing anything. I wil also continue to update this blog to expand and enrich the material that we will be using. I will also be making reference to the book and listing page numbers so you can look things up along the way.

I also gave everyone in attendance a baggie filled with 12 repurposed cards to use in the making of ATCs. The idea is that to get going on just a baby step toward creating something/anything with any medium I am providing a starter collection of ephemera to cut/tear/paint over/glue on top you name it. Naturally you can add your own materials and ephemera and use some/all/none of the starter collection I gave you. Same goes for the cards. You can make 1/6/12 or zero. It’s completely up to you. This is entirely my idea based on what was well received in my recent Mexican group. My group really got into these little works of art and had lots of fun making them on their own or collectively. Next Tuesday at the end of Session 2 I will make sure to give you at least 20 to 30 minutes to just do some random cutting and pasting for say a collage or some sort.

In any case, here are some links to inspire you that you can look at now OR after you’ve made a unique creation of your own! There is no right OR wrong way to make a card. In my Mexican group some participants initially were too intent on making a mini masterpiece and they may have not liked their early efforts but when they relaxed and leaned into the/their muse the whole experience was easier and much more fun so go ahead and try it out before the next class if you want.

On purpose I filled the starter kits with more or less similar materials as an experiement. I’m very interested to see what people come up with using more or less similar materials. I would dare say with the Mexicana ephemera you will find things not available locally. And personally I just love including some type of text even if it is unintelligible or foreign in a work of art.

Now for the references to check out:

YouTube video:


How to Guides


1000 Images Of Artist Trading Cards


This is a fabuloso book which I may order myself but if you google Artist Trading Card Images and scroll down a bit to 1000 Artist Trading Cards you can look inside the book and see some great ATCs.

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