Books Advises

A very good one !

1000 Artist Trading Cards
Patricia Bolton

Making artist trading cards (ATCs) is a hugely popular activity for artists. Originally a paper/collage-based art form, ATCs have caught on with crafters working in a range of mediums and are now just as popular among fabric and mixed-media artists...

ATC : how to use alcohol inks ! Step by step with THEALIE.

The author: THEALIE


> How long have you been practicing ATC?

There is approximately 5 years that I practice ATC, on a very small scale at the beginning and then more and more intensely after the creation of the forum :

Thealie forum

who was the first forum about ATC in French language, this forum is a support of great quality to start and progress.


> What do you prefer to do in ATC ?  

What I prefer is to start from my blank paper and to go up an history, gradually matters and color , it is to reflect on the way in which I will interpret my topic, by what I will start?

My starting point is a color that I have desire for using, an image which I like, a technique which gives me pleasure etc… then to tell a history or to make feeling an emotion via the realization of this small canvas.

I know that I spend much time to build a small project, I do not conceive that making an ATC is fast, the fact of thinking about and conceiving of is a whole advance.


> Which are your preferred colors ?  

I do not have a preferred color, I find that the life is an explosion of colors and that it is necessary to know all to appreciate them, this is a gift of nature, this is beautiful a color, it is pure.


> What brings the ATC to you?

When I harness myself with my table to start a realization of an ATC, I lose any concept of time, I am plunged in this timeless space and I make the total vacuum in my brain from my concentration, it is a fantastic relaxation .

When I succeeded in obtaining what I had imagined at the beginning, I am content with me and that makes me simply an insane doing me good!

> Tell us about the book which you wrote.

When one asked me to carry out a project to write a book on the ATC, I first of all had a period of stress, then, going to present the project to the publishing company in PARIS was easier than I thought it, I was in my element, I knew what I spoke, therefore I went there with my cards especially built for the occasion and light-heartedly , I knew that I controlled and that no question would disturb me, I had the answer of it.

The project was accepted and here, it was necessary to carry out a book guides with traditional techniques and others less traditional, to make research on the origins and to gather all basic information by trying don't forget anything.

To finish concerning this book, I would like to tell the readers who should be adapted these techniques, not to be satisfied to follow one step by step, to work it by adding to it their personal touch, to center their attention on the completions, and most important and especially to give pleasure to create these cards.


Find Thealie on its blog:

thealie over blog


The new THEALIE's book

All that it is necessary to know how to create the ATC (Artist Trading Cards): these small artistic cards of a general format which have the role to be exchanged and collected.

The complete inventory of all the processes to create its backing and embellishments, until the completions more “crazy”! Joining, embossage, prints, scraping, masking, transfers, foldings of metal or paper, effects “3D” and of all kinds will not have any more any secrecy for you.

A mine of ideas, easy ways and techniques, all illustrated, to deploy its artistic talents! With not missing!

I will explain to you my way of using inks with alcohol in a manner a little different than the traditional one, because I do not like the result on paper glossy with the marks of the drops fallen on it and marbled either, here is how I proceed…


The supplies I use

You thus need, a white rigid paper backing, higher grammage than a printer sheet!!! or of cardboard (wood pulp), some "gesso" (excel conducting for inks whatever they are), a embossing heat tool if you want or not bubbles, inks with alcohol, not of specific thinner, I use either a modified alcohol (that with which one disinfects the small pains, or an "eau de Cologne" (it's perfume) if I want to scent my paper, attention the nostrils !) and a spray to put alcohol in it.


Ink alcohol supplies

Preparation of the backing

I spread out the gesso on my backing paper and I heat immediately to obtain relief (if you are not fast, the base will absorb the gesso and you will have evil to obtain bubbles). Note : the bubbles it is not obliged !!! it is as you like.

spreding gesso



I slightly spray my surface with alcohol.


alcohol spray



How I “pose” inks

I take my bottle of ink and there, attention, I do not drop from drop, I lean it very gently to control it, and I position the end of the bottle level with my gesso, without touch, at this time there, I "travel through" my surface as I wish it and I change my bottles on demand,


putting inks 1

if I want to clear up a zone I vaporize with the alcohol bottle, and if I want colors denser, I apply my ink and this again when the backing is quite dry.

putting inks 2

To obtain a maximum luminosity of the colors, it will be necessary for you to apply "utee powder" to surface, that is to say in once way like water droplets, (never underestimate a visual result of your bottom without to have developed it with a powder or a varnish X or Y)...


applying utee powder


Maybe in several times for a glacis, at this time there, you have the possibility of making various incrustations (here micro balls):





Here, it remain to finish your bottom, here in fact it is an ATC, obviously!


achieved ATC


I hope that you like it, and that you learned something.