Some Winter Sparkle Artist Trading Cards

Our 10th Artist Trading Card swap is drawing to a close and the ATCs are all finding their new homes, or on their travels. Fingers crossed they all find their destination safely and quickly. Here’s some of the lovely cards that have been made this time round.

susan-deere-winter-sparkle-atc

By Sue D

paula-winter-sparkle-atc

By Paula

sherrys-winter-sparkle-atc

 By Sherry

ellies-card-photographed-by-larisa

ATC by Ellie, photographed by Larisa

larisa-winter-sparkle-atc

By Larisa

louise-atc

By Louise

julia-b-winter-sparkle-atc

By Julia B

lisa-ingram-winter-sparkle-atc

By Lisa

I’m sure you’ll all agree they are all just wonderfully sparkly. And if you are feeling inspired there will be another Very Berry ATC swap along in the spring, and in the mean time, a mini-embroidery swap is planned for early 2017. The easiest way to find out about the swaps is to subscribe to the blog, or follow me on Instagram.

Artist Trading Card Top Tips!

Hi there! My name is Bekki, and Ali has been really kind and let me take over her blog today so that I can tell you a bit about my design process. I’m going to share my three top tips on designing an ATC.

I’m always blown away by the awesome ATC’s Ali’s swappers share on Flickr. I love to see how people interpret a theme in such different ways. But coming up with an idea or design that you’re happy with can be quite a daunting task when you sign up for a swap like this. Wondering ‘will my ATC look the way I see it in my head?’, or ‘will my swap partner like it?’ can bring the self-doubt gremlins in with their anxiety glue that sticks the creative muscles so they can’t move. I hope it’s not just me that feels that way. Anyway, I watched the ATC swaps from the side-lines for a long time before I plucked up the courage to join in because of those pesky gremlins.

Being prepared and having a design you love will fill you with confidence and send those gremlins away. So, here are my top tips:

Tip 1

pic-1

If you’re anything like me, the first thing you do upon learning the theme for the swap is to look up from your computer and … stare into space for a while. I found the best cure for this is to brainstorm ideas very quickly so you can see where your creativity is leading. There are lots of methods of doing this, but the one that works best for me is to take a piece of A4 paper and draw lots of 2.5” x 3.5” rectangles in both portrait and landscape orientations. This gives you ATC sized thumbnails to sketch out your ideas as they come to you. These don’t need to be perfect drawings, just a rough sketch of the things that come into your mind when you think of the theme.

In the photo you can see my sketches for the ‘say something’ ATC swap.  My mind went in all kinds of directions with that theme so I was glad to get my ideas down on paper where I could see them all. Just very quick and simple line drawings are enough to convey your idea. No masterpieces here.

Using this method means you can see how the scale of the design will work and how it will fit into an ATC. You’ll find that your eyes and thoughts keep going back to the same one or two designs so finding your favourite is easy.

This method can be really helpful if you are a visual thinker.

Tip 2

pic-2

My next tip can be a scary prospect for some, but it really works so bear with me.

Drawing or painting your design in a small sketchbook can help you to simplify any complicated shapes in your design so it’s easier to make your ATC later.

Here’s an example

For the ‘winter comfort’ ATC, I wanted to express the idea of being with friends and family. I decided that birds huddled together in the snow would be a fun way to do that, but when I searched for images for inspiration I soon learnt that when birds huddle they really squeeze tightly together and tuck their heads in to keep warm. It’s very cute to see but it’s also really hard to tell one bird from another. I didn’t want to embroider a mash of birds so I used my sketchbook to figure out how I could draw a group of birds together without losing the definition of the individuals. I then simplified it for the ATC.

This doesn’t have to be a masterpiece either, just a way of drawing simple shapes and imagining how to reproduce it in a tiny ATC. Remember, sketchbooks needn’t be intimidating. Nobody else needs to see inside yours, so don’t worry about perfection, it’s just a sketch.

Tip 3

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My third and final tip is to cut out an ATC-sized window in a piece of card or paper that you can use to visualise how the ATC will look when it’s cut down to size. Holding it over your work will frame it, helping you to make sure you stay on track. It will also help you to decide on the placement of your design elements, so they all stay within the piece and don’t have to be trimmed out later.

So there you have my three top design tips. I hope they help. Do you have any tips for designing an ATC? Maybe you have a design method you go back to time and again. Please share it in the comments!

Thank you Ali for letting me be a guest writer on your blog today. Thank you too for organising these ATC swaps for us. They are a lot of fun!

Winter Artist Trading Card Swap: Sign-ups!

I’m happy to announce that sign-ups for the winter 2016 round of the Very Berry Artist Trading Card swap are now OPEN!

Winter Sparkle 2016 Textile ATC Swap with Very Berry Handmade.jpg

Old-timers might remember that we’ve had the ‘Winter Sparkle’ theme before.. I hope you don’t mind the repeat – it produced such great work last time round, and I absolutely loved it. Meanwhile, newbies will be thinking, what the heck is an ATC… happily I have the answer!

ATC guide

Making an ATC is a way to be creative on a small scale, try out new techniques and skills in a non-threatening way.  All you need to remember for this particular ATC swap is that it is a TEXTILE ATC swap:

  • the card needs to be mostly fabric
  • there must be a little bit of stitching involved. 
  • the card must not be too thick – no more than 1/8″ (3-4mm) please
  • you must put your name and date on the back of the card (plus title and email address if you like)

If you’re still a bit unsure of what all that means – why not check out the the Very Berry ATC swap group on Flickr, where you can see photos of cards made for previous swaps?

Serious bit: Before signing up, please think for a minute whether you can put aside enough time to make something lovely and thoughtful for your swap partner, and whether you will be able to meet the deadlines.

Now the good stuff..

  • You will make 1 ATC and receive 1 ATC in return.
  • It will be a secret swap (you will not be sending to the person you receive your card from) so please don’t let your partner know who you are!
  • Your card must be the right size and fit the theme, and MUST have your name and date on the reverse.
  • You can sign up for the swap by commenting on this post AND completing this Google form by 7pm on Monday 17th October, and swap partners will be assigned by Wednesday 19 October.
  • Participation is open to anyone anywhere in the world (the ATCs won’t be too pricey to send), so please be prepared to send overseas if you join in (but I will *try* to make exceptions… just let me know on the form).
  • Cards must be posted during the week  5-10 December 2016. (or a little earlier if you are posting overseas and you can manage it).
  • Please do not include anything else in your parcel, except a note if you like! Don’t forget to include your email address so your partner can thank you.
  • Obviously we are approaching Christmas, but not everyone wants to receive a Christmas themed ATC. There will be questions about this on the signing up form, so do please remember to be respectful of your partner’s feelings on this.
  • Please avoid religious themes.
  • Once you have received your ATC, you must get in touch with your partner to say thanks.
  • This swap is open to all, so there’s no social media requirement, but it is MANDATORY to reply to a couple of check-in emails which I will send during the swap. Please keep in touch with me by email and you must also let me know when you have posted and received your ATC, again by email (or a tag on Instagram will probably find me!).
  • Keep in mind that it’s really nice to  share progress and pics and generally be part of the swapping community. If you blog, use FB, Twitter or Instagram, please feel free to share your ATC swap progress, and definitely share pictures of the ATC you receive from your swap partner, if at all possible. Please use #veryberryatcswap to tag your posts, where applicable.

I wanted to inspire you all, so I’ve already made an sparkly ATC:

sparkly-liberty-stars-atc
Can’t tell you how much I enjoyed working on this! It’s Liberty appliqué using Bondaweb, with machine stitched embroidering using Madeira Metallics Heavy Metal thread in silver. 

Scattered throughout the Very Berry blog there are some brilliant posts about making an ATC… they are all tagged so should appear if you click on this link, but here are some super-practical posts that will reassure you if you haven’t made an ATC before:

Being brave and signing up for the swap

A way of making the back of a textile ATC

Printing the back of your ATC

Some more methods of constructing your ATC

Using transfer paper to label your ATC

Finding your ATC inspiration

Looking forward to swapping along with you all!