What are ATCs and ACEOs?

ATC stands for Artist Trading Card, and ACEO stands for Art Cards Editions and Originals. Both are examples of Pocket Art – artworks with dimensions of 2.5″ by 3.5″ (approximately the same size as standard playing cards and trading cards).

What are ATCs?

Artist Trading Cards are tiny works of art made to be traded between artists. The modern trend for exchanging ATCs is said to have been started in 1997 in Zurich, Switzerland by M. Vänçi Stirnemann when he hosted an ATC swap event. However, artists have been producing the equivalent of ATCs long before 1997, either as small-scale artworks in their own right, or to act as a taster of their style and techniques.

Today there is a vibrant community of Artist Trading Card creators, traders, and collectors.

ATCs can be traded in person or through the mail, and many ATC traders have cards from all over the world in their collections.

Some of the most popular ACEO artists include Susan Fisher, Manuela Mishkova, Gavin Hunt, Bridget Voth, Ty Livingston, and Deborah S. Dellinger.

What are ACEOs?

ACEOs (or Art Card Editions and Originals) are the same as ATCs except for the intent behind their creation. ATCs are designed to be traded for free, whereas ACEOs are made to be sold.

ACEOs can be original works of art or editions (prints of an existing artwork). Prints must be clearly stated as such and they shouldn’t be passed off as originals. ACEOs are usually signed by the artist on the card’s front or back, and, if the ACEO is a print, an edition number should also be added to the card’s reverse.

ACEO’s are often sold directly by artists, and there is also an eBay category dedicated to the sale of this miniature form of artwork.

The prices of ACEOs varies massively. Some can sell on eBay for as little as £1 or $1, whereas others can sell for thousands of dollars or pounds. As with all art, the price is dictated by the reputation of the artist, and the popularity of the subject manner.

Popular subject matters on eBay for ACEOs include drawings of famous people, animals, birds, and landscapes. Abstract ACEOs are also popular, as are those featuring flowers and trees.

What is Card Art?

Card Art or Custom Card Art refers to unique artwork made from an existing trading card or sports card. Commonly, some elements of the original cards are retained and embellished with collage techniques or paint to produce a brand new, one-of-a-kind card. Sometimes elements from a number of cards are combined and sometimes the existing printed artwork is expanded to produce a full art card.

Card Artists tend to establish their own distinctive signature styles, and card art pieces are often signed by the artist on the back of the card.

Sometimes the work of card artists is referred to as Sport Card ACEOs.

Making ACEOs or ATCs

ACEOs or ATCs must measure 2.5″ x 3.5″. If the artwork isn’t this size, it can’t be called an ATC or advertised as an ACEO.

The cards should also not be made from thin paper because they are meant to resemble trading cards.

People use a range of mediums and techniques when they produce their ACTs and ACEOs, including watercolour, mixed media, collage, photography, pencil, and inks.

Many art supply stores and websites now stock packs of blank cards for ATC and ACEO creators and artists to purchase.