Artist Trading Cards - ATCs for Artists Artist Trading Cards - ATCs for Artists FAQ

Here you can find answers to questions about how the board works. Use the links or search box below to find your way around.

One on One Trading

You are welcome to participate in individual trades at this website. You can organize trades with other members in the One on One Trading forum or through our private messaging system. To avoid disappointment, please ensure that both participants are clear on the private trade terms, especially subject matter and time frames.

Cards must be sent within 30 days of trade acceptance unless other arrangements have been made and agreed to by both trading parties.

Once you have received the card from your private trade, you must leave the trader iTrader Feedback. Please see the iTrader FAQ for futher details.

Organized Swaps

An organized swap is a group swap organized by a swap host. Participants send in their cards to the swap host who then sorts and sends the returns to each participant. Swaps are normally organized by theme and sometimes by genre.

Joining a Swap

Swaps are posted in the Open Swap Forum.

Swap information - including due date, theme, and all requirements - is contained in the first post of each swap thread. Please read all swap information carefully before making the commitment to join. If, after careful consideration, you would like to join the swap, simply post a response in the thread indicating your desire to participate. The swap host will then add you to the participant list.

You can subscribe to the thread of each swap that you join by clicking on the “thread tools” button. This will help you to keep informed on what is happening with your swap.

Submitting Your Art for Swaps - Quality & Originals swaps are original artwork only (unless otherwise noted by the host). This means you are not allowed to submit digital prints, copies, coloured lineart, or any other form of "copy" for swaps. Each card must be original and created specifically for the swap. If the swap is a 3 for 3, you must send in 3 unique cards, not multiple copies of a single card.

Please refer to "A Note on Digital Paintings" in regard to submitting this type of card for swaps. Digital paintings are perfectly acceptable at, but some swap hosts will want original, one of a kind cards for their swap. If you plan on printing more of the same card, then it is not an "original" so please clarify this with each swap host before joinging if you plan on submitting digital paintings. is an exclusive site where a higher quality of artwork is expected. Please do your best work for each card that you submit and do not send in sub-par artwork. Artists who continually send in sub-par work will no longer be able to participate in swaps.

Sending in Cards for a Swap - Due Dates

A trading culture thrives on trust and timeliness. For that reason, swap participants must honor their commitments by mailing cards PRIOR to the due date. If circumstances arise that will prevent you from mailing prior to the due date in a regular swap, please withdraw from the swap via a private message to the host or a post in the thread. (Note that some swaps do not permit withdrawals, including PATs, CATs, moleys, and gift swaps.)

Consequences of Late Mailing

If you mail cards ON or AFTER the due date in a regular swap, the host may choose to assign you a Neutral iTrader rating. Hosts of specialty swaps, including PATs, CATs, and gift swaps, MUST assign neutral ratings for late submissions. Even one Neutral rating within the last six months disqualifies artists from signing up for PATs, CATs, Travelling Trades, Moley swaps, gift swaps, and Monthly Match Game trades.

Any artist who receives 3 or more neutral ratings for late swapping within the same six-month period will be suspended from trading here for a period of 3 months.

Swap mailing guidelines
  • Domestic: Mail cards at least 4 business days prior to swap due date
  • Canada / USA: Mail cards at least 7 days prior to swap due date
  • International: Mail cards at least 14 days prior to swap due date

If you are in the same country as your ATC host, please make sure you enclose enough return stamps to cover your postage or a SASE.

Receiving Returns from Swaps

Your swap host has an obligation to mail out returns to all participants within 2 weeks of the swap closing date.

PAT Pick-A-Theme Swaps

Pick-a-Theme (PATs) swaps are swaps where participants join groups (usually limited to 5 or 6 per group). Each person in the group has chosen a theme. You will make one card for each person in your group in the theme that they have chosen. In return, each person in your group will make you a card in the theme that you have chosen. All cards for PATs are sent to the host who will swap them out just like a standard swap.

You must have an iTrader rating of +5 to participate in a PAT swap. Those with the required iTrader ratings at will be allowed to apply their positive iTrader ratings to an PAT swap.

You cannot withdraw from a PAT swap so please make sure you are able to honor your commitment before you sign up. Some members begin working on their cards right away and if you withdraw, they have made a card for nothing. Withdrawal from a PAT (or not sending in cards without notice) will result in a negative iTrader rating.

Artists who do not finish their PAT or CAT cards on time will receive a Neutral rating from the host. Players in that artist’s group may give a Neutral iTrader rating at their discretion. Late artists are expected to communicate with other members of their group and mail cards directly to those individuals at their own expense. The host will not mail the late artist’s returns until group members have confirmed receipt of their cards.

PAT participants should give iTrader ratings to the host as well as to each participant in the group as cards are made individually for others.

iTrader Requirements for Trades and Swaps

Some swaps require an iTrader rating to join:
  • Moleskine Collaborative Journals = +25 (plus 3 months active membership)
  • Chunky Pages Pick-A-Theme (PAT) = +15
  • Chunky Pages with limited participants = +15
  • Holiday Gift Exchange = +25
  • Pick-A-Theme (PAT) = +5
  • Chunky Pages OPEN (like a regular ATC swap, no limit on participants) = 0
  • Play it Forward (PIF) = 0
  • Open Swaps = 0
  • One on One Trades = 0
Hosts cannot assign arbitrary iTrader ratings to their own swaps. Please contact an Admin if you feel your swap needs an iTrader rating set.

Please note that we accept iTrader ratings from both affiliated websites - and You can combine all of your iTrader ratings into one rating in order to meet swap requirements.

Re-Trading of Cards

On iATCs, we trade with the understanding that our members will either house the art they receive or display it as part of their collections. If one member wishes to re-trade a card created by an artist on iATCs, it is that member's responsibility to seek the permission of the artist by sending a PM.

Artists wishing to prohibit re-trading of their work unilaterally are encouraged to write "Not for re-trade" on the back of their work.

Selling cards you receive in trade

The fundamental premise of a trading site like this one is that we are here to trade art we enjoy. We are not here to make money by trading for and then selling each other's work.

Under no circumstances can one member sell another member's work without their consent. Artists who do not mind having their work sold are free to say so on the back of a card or in a forum thread. Consent must be stated and cannot be presumed. The onus is on the would-be seller to obtain explicit permission.

Admins do not have time or resources to monitor this rule, but if someone happens to find a member listing or selling the work of an artist who has not consented, the selling or listing member will be suspended from trading for a period of six months.

Search FAQ

  • Select this option if you would like your search to look in the text of FAQ items as well as their titles.

Select an option here to specify how you would like your search query to be treated. 'Any words' will return the most numerous but possibly least relevant results, while 'Complete phrase' will return only results that contain exactly what you are searching for.