Hi Everyone, today we are going to be doing a quick little blog post on AFA, or I have personally have participated in 1 completed swap and am currently participating in 2 more beyond that.

How AFA works is you create an account, then there is a forum with swaps hosted by members. Which you do art for and after the swap date you will receive cards back. Other than swapping on the forums you can also do 1 on 1 swaps with other members.

In case you are wondering ATC’s are what you trade. ATC stands for Artist’s Trading Card.

It is almost like collecting Pokemon cards, except they are by a large variety of artists you get to swap with. The themes witch I have participated in the Surreal lighthouse swap, and now I have sent out my cards for the No birds/No Flowers/No Butterfly’s swap. As for the other 2 I mentioned above I am participating in a Dream Catcher themed swap and also(Which I am very excited for!) a Peter Pan themed swap. Some swaps operate in Mixed Media, while some operate in Hand Drawn/Painted, really there is infinite number of genres but those are the two main ones. For example, the Surreal Lighthouse swap I took part in only allowed hand painted or drawn cards vs the No birds/No Flowers/No Butterfly’s allowed both Mixed Media and Hand Painted or Drawn cards. For the No birds/No Flowers/No Butterfly’s swap one of my cards ended up with a flower on it, but because it was not the main focal point that was A Okay with the swap owner. If you have a question there are a ton of Veterans willing to help you out! And if you are worried about your cards not fitting the theme just post them and ask the host.

Now I will lightly touch on APC’s – APC stands for altered playing cards. I do not have a lot of experience with these, having never swapped any. If you are unsure, playing cards are the cards you use in cribbage. From the name you can probably tell you use generally mixed media to alter them.

Now for materials and how to send your cards properly.

Rule of thumb is use at least a nice card stock, no Printer paper please. If your cards bend when you hold them out you need to back them. The second topic before putting these into the mail is protecting them from wear and each other. The AFA community uses clear gaming sleeves, such as ones used in cards games like Magic of the Gathering. I personally use the Ultra pro ones, but ones from the dollar store work just as well. I just do not have access to the cheaper ones.

As for packaging and sending the cards, you will want to support them. Whether you tape your cards together or tape them to a piece of chipboard, please secure your cards to keep them from getting damaged. Secondly, follow your hosts guide for postage, and also whether you send a self addressed envelope or a self addressed label.

Final topic of the day is decoration of the envelope. For me personally this could be quite elaborate or simple, depending on my mood. If I am in a creative mood I might draw on the envelopes or stamp on them. Where as if I am not feeling so creative it might be some washi or stickers. Lately because I have run out of envelopes I have taken to making them which has been so much fun!

Woops, just a quick note on postage- Please leave adequate time for your atcs to get there. You wouldn’t want to make great atc’s then they arrive late so you cannot participate in the swap.

Well that is about all I have to say on this topic!