I started making ATC's about a year ago and have found a few sites that I really like. While each has it's own flavor, they are all run by women who clearly love what they do. If you're a mixed-media, collage or digital artist you'll want to visit these sites. Collecting ephemera and other such "stuff" can be difficult at first - unless you're a pack rat. Which I am not. So, these sites offer lots of choices in collage materials and an outlet to show off your work through their swaps and challenges. Most sites are now offering digital downloads of collage sheets - great if you're in a hurry and with the added bonus of being able to use the images more than once. I've participated in challenges on all of these sites and have never been disappointed with the quality of artwork I've gotten from the other participating artists - there are a lot of really talented women out there!
(the following "reviews" are just my opinion of these sites - you should check them out and see for yourself which ones are your favorites) And please, if you know of any to recommend to me, please send a comment.
(In Alphabetical Order)
Alphastamps / Alpha Stamps Blog
This site has loads of stuff to have fun with. A lot of the collage sheets have a graphic, slightly 40's/50's retro feel to them in bolder colors and lots of fun themes like Carnival/Venice, Angels and Saints, Alice in Wonderland and Marie Antoinette. They also carry a lot of findings, charms, tags, glitter, chipboard, rubber stamps, etc.
The images are high quality and printed on cardstock, transparencies, sticker sheets or fabric. They offer swaps and challenges through their Yahoo Group.
Artchix Studio / Art Chix Studio Blog
Very colorful, fun website with a slight vintage feel to it. They offer collage sheets, german scrap, frames and shrines, kits and it's easy to shop by color, theme,size, holiday, etc. They also offer stickers and digital downloads - nice if you're in a hurry to get started on something. The images on the collage sheets are high quality and are laser printed on card stock or transparencies and there is usually a special price on 3 or more /7 or more sheets bought at one time. They also have lots of sheets with faux postage stickers to choose from with all kinds of images including some Chixie artwork from previous swaps. The swaps are offered through their Yahoo Group.
Collage Stuff / Collage Stuff Blog
This site has a decidedly vintage feel to it with a lot of the images seeming to be from the early 1900's with titles like "Lovely Ladies", "Gargoyles", "Romance/Love", and "Cemetery Angels". They also carry german scrap, charms, rubber stamps and products from Tim Holtz and Maya Road. They offer monthly ATC swaps through their Yahoo Group and post the calendar for the entire year in January - which leaves plenty of time for planning the ones you want to participate in.
Jessica Sprague / Jessica's Blog
This site is fairly new to me - it's all about digital collage/scrapbooking. She offers several kinds of online classes (instructor led or self paced for Beginning, Intermediate and Advanced levels of students) She carries digital stamps and brushes, embellishment sets, templates, papers, etc. The forum always has lots of good information - I've asked questions about cameras, etc. and have gotten good responses. Her classes are rated highly by her students. I've registered for one called "Up and Running With Photoshop Class 1" but haven't started it yet. (I'll review it as soon as I can get myself to set aside the time to just start it) One bonus with these classes is that they don't "expire" - once you buy them they're always on her site for you to go to and review and continue working on problem areas.......
Paper Whimsy / Paper Whimsy Blog
This site is very much like it's name suggests - fanciful and feminine. Visiting this site always feels like finding a peaceful island in the middle of chaos - the design is elegant in it's use of pattern and color. The collage sheets are made of images from the owner's own stash and are lightly hand colored to add just a nice layer of softness to everything. She also carries paper flowers, fibers, ribbons, papers and lots of digital sheets to name a few. She also offers swaps to group members - see her blog for more information. This is a very supportive group of very talented artists.