Recently, I picked up a book at Borders that grabbed my attention in the art section. I ended up looking through it cover to cover, and decided to get it for my dad for his birthday. The book was about Artist Trading Cards, or ATC's. ATC's are small works of art (2.5 x 3.5 inches) that are traded between artists and others, much like traditional sports or character trading cards. The cards are not to be sold, only traded. This art form was started in Switzerland in 1997, and you can read more about ATC history here.
My dad has been making tiny drawings for many years, and as I browsed this book, I thought this would be right up his alley - so I gave it to him, along with some collage scraps of paper and other supplies to get him started. As it turns out, it IS his cup of tea, and he has made TONS of ATC's since he was here in early April! I will take some photos of his ATC's to upload soon, I'm expecting a package from him this week, actually, with more ATC's.
I also began to notice that folks in the paper crafting community are getting hooked on ATC's, and I have participated in a couple of ATC Swaps in the last few months. One swap was on Mitchell Kraft's blog, and another was on TallyScrapper. I'm finding the small format fun, and the rules are that there aren't many rules! Just keep the artwork to 2.5 x 3.5 inches and never sell the cards, and you're good to go! People paint them, embroider them, draw, stitch, cover with paper, collage, sew, watercolor, the sky is the limit, and they're fun!
After we saw my dad's first batch, even Kirk got into the action. Here are some of the ATC's Kirk and I made, along with some that I've done for swaps so far: