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.

Applying for Membership

We are a juried trading group for artists who have been creating art for sometime and want to trade for ATCs and mail art that exhibits a more advanced stage of artistic development and skill. If you're still learning to draw or collage, then this probably isn't the place for you.

You must be at least 18 years of age to become a member of this website.

We have two divisions for trading mail art, although at the present time, we are not accepting MMA applications from non-members except in rare circumstances.

Illustrated ATCs: Pencil & Paint (P&P)
For hand-drawn and painted mail art
  1. Handdrawn
  2. Painted
  3. Digital painting
  4. Limited edition print making
  5. Mixed media with handdrawn elements (handdrawn is in the majority)

Illustrated ATCs: Mixed Mail Art (MMA)
For collage, altered and fibre mail art.
  1. Collage
  2. Mixed media (if with handdrawn elements, then handdrawn is in the minority)
  3. Fibre
  4. Metal
  5. Altered objects (dolls, boxes, houses, CDs, etc.)

Again, we are not accepting general MMA applications at this time. If you wish to apply for MMA membership and are not currently a member, please send us an email.

This is what we are seeking in the artwork of potential members:
  • Technical drawing skills (for P&P applicants)
  • Consistency in artwork
  • Skill in chosen medium
  • Originality
  • Good use of color
  • Craftsmanship

Steps for joining - Please read carefully
  1. This is a juried website. Membership is not automatic.
  2. It is important that you have 10 - 20 pieces in your gallery for our art panel to review. Ensure that these pieces are in the medium for which you are applying.
  3. You don't have to include ATCs but it would be nice if you have any. Not all artists can transition to such a small size successfully.
  4. Please upload images for review to a photo sharing or gallery site such as Flickr, PictureTrail, DeviantArt, Photobucket, etc;
  5. If you're applying with your AFA gallery (, include the FULL URL in your application, don't just link to the AFA domain and expect us to search for you.
  6. Please do NOT link to artwork in blogs or MySpace pages. It's too difficult to find the artwork in many cases.
  7. Please allow a week or more to review your application and images.
  8. If you have already applied for membership and were turned down, please wait 6 months before applying again.

For additional information on, we recommend that you visit our About Us page.


Mediums Accepted at

We have TWO divisions at Each accepts different mediums.

Members must submit the medium for which they were accepted. No exceptions. Members of both divisions may submit any medium where appropriate (ie Open Swaps forum).

Illustrated ATCs: Pencil & Paint (P&P)
For hand-drawn and painted mail art
  1. Handdrawn
  2. Painted
  3. Digital painting
  4. Limited edition print making
  5. Mixed media with handdrawn elements (handdrawn is in the majority)

Illustrated ATCs: Mixed Mail Art (MMA)
For collage, altered and fibre mail art.
  1. Collage
  2. Mixed media (minor handdrawn elements are acceptable but handdrawn elements must not be the focal point[s])
  3. Fibre
  4. Metal
  5. Altered objects (dolls, boxes, houses, CDs, etc.)


Open Swap Forums: Mediums Accepted

Open Swap forums allow members of both divisions (P&P and MMA) to participate in swaps together. However, you must submit artwork for the swap in the medium for which you were accepted. If you are a member of both divisions, then you can submit any medium you'd like.

Please note that is is a juried site. If you were not accepted on the MMA side, then you cannot submit MMA mediums in an open swap. If you were not accepted on the P&P side, then do not submit those mediums in an open swap. We guarantee to our members that everyone has been juried in to this trading site which is why we insist that people submit work only in the mediums for which they were accepted.

MMA members must submit artwork in the medium for which they were accepted. For instance, if your portfolio was mainly filled with fabric cards, then you should only submit fabric cards for swaps. If your portfolio was comprised mainly of collage, then you need to stick to collage art for swaps and trades. However, we do understand that most people want to experiment and move beyond the mediums that got them in here. So please do experiment but don't do it for swaps unless you've cleared it with the MMA Art Panel. If you'd like to try a new mediums for a swap (ie a collage artist wants to submit fabric cards), then we ask that you send an image link to the MMA Art Panel first. This is a juried site and all submissions must be of the highest quality. If you want to make collage or hand-draw something and are not a member of the right division, then we recommend that you join AFA ( where any member can submit any medium. is not that place.


Swap Submissions: Card Requirements

Unless otherwise specified by the swap host, all cards for swaps must be OOAK (one of a kind) originals. Colored line art, prints or other forms of digital duplicates are not acceptable.

Definitions: Prints & Copies, Originals, Series

Original: When we refer to "original" cards at, we are referring to a unique, single card. This card can be hand drawn/painted or digitally painted. It is edition 1 of 1.

Print or Copy: When we refer to copy or print, we mean the same thing. Copies or prints can be copies of larger artwork, made to fit an ATC card or they can be prints of an original ATC. If your prints are limited editions, please note this on the back of each card AND in your gallery.

Series: A card series can be a set of unique cards created in the same theme. OR, a card series can be a set of cards that are somewhat original. This could mean that you have drawn your lineart and printed or copied it onto a numer of cards but each card is colored by hand (if you create a card using colored line art, you MUST state this in your gallery.) Each can be considered a "series."


Trading Prints and Copies

You are welcome to trade your prints/copies here through private trades with individual members or through hosted “Print Swaps.”

Please make sure that you label each card in your gallery as a "print or copy" if it is not an original. Not everyone is willing to trade for prints.

Prints must be printed with a high quality resolution on photo paper or thick paper. If you do not have a good printer or the proper paper, please get your prints made at a local photo or print shop. It is not expensive to have prints made. The same guidelines apply to lineart. Please print your lineart on a good quality paper.


Tracing and Copies is a website for experienced artists. Except in the case of a master study, we expect all artists to come up with their own ideas for artwork, and all artwork should be original. We do not permit tracing or exact replicas of another's artwork, including clip art, fan art, and other copyrighted artwork. Using reference photos is, of course, perfectly acceptable.

A Note on Digital Paintings

If you are trading more than one copy of a single digital painting, you MUST identify your card as a “Print” so people can make a choice about trading. If you are trading only one copy of your digital painting, then please identify it as an “Original.” Some people prefer to trade original for original only and others are happy to trade original for print.

It is up to swap hosts as to whether or not Original digital painting "prints" are acceptable for their swap. You are welcome to start your own Digital Painting Print Swap if you disagree with a swap host’s decision, or simply wish to create a swap with your own guidelines.


A Note on Rubber Stamps

Commercial rubber stamps are acceptable as long as they are not the focus of the design. A good rule of thumb would be: If you eliminate the stamp, can the work still maintain its integrity as an image?

Hand-carved stamps, screen prints, or etchings are always acceptable, provided each work created from these processes is unique and original.

Works created as a "series" are permitted in swaps which specifically allow reproduced imagery, but not elsewhere.


Card Guidelines

ATCs must be 2.5" x 3.5" (6.35 cm x 8.9 cm).

If your card backings are glued on, please make sure all glue is dried before mailing or before putting in a plastic sleeve.

Please put each ATC in a plastic sleeve. Plastic sleeves (also called penny sleeves) can be purchased at sports card or hobby stores. They cost approximately $1 US for 100 sleeves.

Please include your user name, real name and email on each card. If you are sending in cards for a PAT (Pick-A-Theme), also include your group number and the name of the person you made the card for.

Please submit your best work for each swap. If you're rushed and out of time and just want to quickly doodle some cards, it's better to withdraw instead. No one will mind if you withdraw before the cards are due! (See PAT - Pick-a-Theme - FAQ for exception). The other participants will be submitting their best work so it only fair that you do the same.


Sub-par Artwork

This is a juried site, and an artist's work should always reflect that. When artwork submitted to a swap or for a personal trade is deemed "sub-par," it may be returned to the artist.

What do we mean by "sub-par"? Sub-par artwork is artwork that is significantly worse than the artwork shown in your submission portfolio, artwork that is far below your capabilities. The work of other artists on the site is never used as the standard; artists are only assessed in relation to their own portfolios. Traders or hosts can report continual sub-par artwork to a moderator, who will refer the art to our submission panel.

We are not trying to be difficult or mean by having this policy! We understand that sometimes you might rush to meet a deadline or just don't have any great ideas for a swap. If you're rushed or stumped, however, the best option is to remove yourself from the swap (see note on PAT / Pick-A-Theme Swaps). No one will mind or give you a bad rating for it. Life sometimes gets in the way.

We operate on a 3 strikes and you're out policy. If the Art Panel has to contact you 3 times for sub-par artwork, then your membership will be revoked.

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