Tuesday, October 18, 2011


I have decided to venture out of my comfort zone which is stamping cards and get adventurous and experiment in the area of ATCs. I bought a really nice book from the store and will be doing numerous projects for the blog from it. The book is Artist Trading Card Workshop -create collect swap by Bernie Berlin.

First, a little history on how ATCs started. Although miniature works of art created on cards have been around for centuries, the modern-day concept of ATCs was conceptualized by artist m.vanci stirnemann in 1996. In May 1997, stirnemann held a gallery showing of 1,200 cards at the INK. art and text bookstore in Zurich, Switzerland, for which he collaborated with artists Cat Schick and Gido Dietrich. Those attending the show were told that if they wanted to acquire a card that was on display they should bring in one of their own creations to trade for it. A movement was then born that denounced the tradition of critiquing and appraising art, and embraced the process of one artist connecting with another.

One attendee of the first trading session in Zurich was Canadian Don Mablie (Chuck Stake).Mablie was so impressed by the concept of artists sharing with one another in this way that he brought the idea home with him to Calgary and held the first North American trading session (in collaboration with m. vanci stirnemann) at The Gallery in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. The First International Biennial of Artist Trading Cards included eighty artists from ten different countries and took place in September 2000.

In-person trading sessions quickly spread from The New Gallery, across Canada and the United States.Interest continues to spread across the globe. While it is always most conducive to the trading culture to exchange cards in person, there are also multiple opportunities for trading over the Internet through various groups.

ATCs are always traded and never sold. The act of creating and swapping artist trading cards is an exciting way to share your art, connect with other artists and collect art! It is for all ages and all levels of artistic know how. Adults, teenagers and small children, experienced or aspiring artists, can all benefit from this engaging art form.

The first project I will be doing is called Intuitive Watercolor.

This is a fun, childlike way to create art. By just allowing the watercolor to randomly saturate the paper and flow into abstract shapes, we can then use our imagination to outline the image we see. Opening your mind is a creative exercise in art, allowing yourself to see images: training your eye is part of the process and can help you develop your intuitive talents. If you don't see any definitive shapes or images don't worry - just start doodling. Think about how you feel, about the world around you....the shapes and images will come. Use this technique alone for a card or as a background.

At first I found it a little difficult to do as the book suggested but then I thought "Why not use the divisions in color like a string in Zentangle?" That is what I did and I really liked the results. One tip, though, is that the rough watercolor paper is really hard on the 01 Micron pen tip, so maybe using a 03 or 05 would be better.

What you will need: 
Palette paper-I've never used palette paper before but it is now my best friend.

Watercolor brush

Watercolor paper (Heavy paper is better. I used 140lb.)

Liquid watercolor (or dye ink.You can dilute the ink with water so it is not so dark, unless you want it dark).

Heat Gun

Fine-point black pen

1. Saturate Paper: Working on a piece of palette paper, randomly lay some color down on the palette paper around the edges of the watercolor paper, and with a wet brush spread out the color over the palette paper and the watercolor paper. Make sure there is a good amount of water on the papers.

2. Add drops of Color: Next, drop liquid watercolor onto the wet palette paper and blow it around with a heat gun.

3. Envision forms: Add more watercolor if you wish, and repeat with the heat gun. When the watercolor paper is dry, look at it and try to envision an image made by the unusual shapes of color, and outline them with a fine-point pen.

Have fun!

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