Every year I end up embarking on some giant project that has called to me (itís not something I seek out, honest), and some
years I manage to finish. Since this one is a 2013 calendar, I had to get it done quickly! After having worked on this steadily since July, I have a 365-day calendar full of prints of ATCs (artist trading cards) Craftster artists allowed me to use for the project.
I have made several page-a-day calendars for Craftster swaps over the years, and after each one I swear I will never make another! But somehow, eventually, I come back around to them. I put them together in Microsoft Word (I donít have any fancy desktop publishing software), print 4-6 days on standard size sheets of paper, cut them apart, and assemble them with adhesive or binder rings (after hole-punching all the pages). When I came up with this theme, I knew it would be an insane amount of time and work, but it had to be done. I couldnít pass up the chance to get a bunch of great people involved in an all-Craftster community creation.
It doesnít look like much in the picture, but thereís so much work and almost a hundred Craftster artistsí work represented within it! Since itís primarily other peopleís art inside, and I just organized the project, compiled and cleaned up the images, and printed/assembled the pages, all thatís really mine to show you is the overall project. (That's also why I'm posting it here instead of the ATC board.
) But hereís a page with a favorite from my personal ATC collection, created by HappieHina
I am working on a basic tutorial for making a page-a-day calendar using Microsoft Word and Excel, but so far that tutorial is far too long to be of any use to anyone so I have to revise it extensively. I should be adding it to this thread, with screenshots, before the end of the year. In the meanwhile, here's what the pages look like before I cut them apart (the other artists' cards aren't in my possession, so I didn't want to take the liberty of reposting them):
The first point I need to make in discussing this particular project is that I gained proper permission from everyone, and included (or excluded) attribution according to the artistsí wishes, as well as I could. I was relieved to find that everyone who granted permission was friendly with no ego issues and many were really excited about the project (I love Craftster people!!
). Unless someone responded to my request and told me I could use their work for this project, I did not use their ATCs or their posted photos of others' ATCs.
So, the organization of this project was the big task. First, I sent a PM to people from whom Iíve received an ATC, asking if I could include these in the calendar, and if they would be open to allowing me to use images of other ATCs theyíve made. I probably could have made a 365-day calendar between all of these artistsí work and my own, but the desire to make this a Craftster-wide project was just too strong so I kept seeking more people to include. I advertised the project in relevant discussion threads to see if there was any interest or big legal considerations I hadnít come up with, and got good feedback there as well. But I knew there were also a lot of people who have made ATCs on Craftster who would probably never see these posts, and many who hadnít been online for quite some time. And so I stalked the ATC board, as well as the galleries for ATC swaps, and PMed a bunch more people.
Since it would be impossible to contact everyone
on Craftster who has made ATCs and include that many peopleís work in the calendar, I set the guidelines that I would reach out to those who had a) been online within the past 2-3 years, b) no negative swap feedback, and d) at least 1-2 usable images of their ATCs somewhere (later, I had to further narrow it down by only using vertical-format ATCs). Sad to say, that ruled out a lot of people. But when I sent a PM to various people asking permission, well over half of them responded and agreed to let me include their work.
Gathering and deciding on the images to use was great fun and also very difficult, especially with those artists who have posted a prolific amount of awesome ATCs, because I had to exclude so many that I really loved. I was juggling a pool of probably 1000 images. In order to get everyone represented, no artist has more than 5 ATCs in the calendar. I used Microsoft OneNote to sort various peopleís images into holidays, seasons, and themes, and after these kinds of cards were assigned to their appropriate days or seasons I added cards without these kinds of themes to other days. In this process I also searched for those weird holidays/observances that donít show up on most calendars but which related to the content of an ATC. For example, there is this ATC by Queen of Fools
on ďTalk like a Pirate DayĒ.
Not all such days are marked on the calendar, but many have a card that is somehow relevant.
I turned the finished calendar into a PDF file for participants to download. (And for those of you who did download it last month, I made one additional correctionómy apologies to gozer
óso I can send you the improved PDF if needed.) Because most of the artwork in the calendar is not mine to share, I cannot make that PDF available for public download.
My intention was to print a few for organized or personal swapsÖLamentably, printing more than 2 of these is not financially reasonable. I found a nice coated color copy paper that works great (Mohawk Pegasus Color Copy, Super Smooth, 24 lb., acid free), but even with the highest quality setting on my home printer the images are justÖblech. These ATCs deserve better. I had a professional printer print out a copy with the same paper, and it looks incredible
Öbut it cost almost $40!
Though some participants wanted to pay me for printing and shipping, no calendar is worth $40, so I have to rescind on that idea. I should have checked on the price for printing before I even started the project, but then it might have never happened at all.
I should mention, the other supply I used in this project is something thatís brand-new to me: padding compound. I donít know why it has that name. Itís only been mentioned a few times on Craftster, so maybe thatís why Iíd never heard of it before. Plus, Iíve never seen it in an art/craft supply store; I bought it at a paper/printing supply store. I had always used PVA glue to glue-bind the pages of my page-a-day calendars, but Iím now sold on padding compound instead. Both are expensive, though, so if you have to choose and you have a lot of gluing to do (not just binding the edges of papers together), choose the PVA. If youíre binding notepads, thick calendars like this, or little journals, padding compound is better. It looks like white glue but it dries as a clear, dense, rubbery solid without bleeding into the paperís margin. So it doesnít warp the paper the way other adhesives do when you spread it along the edge of a stack of paper.
The printed and assembled calendar has a piece of paperboard (cereal box) on the back, which I glued to a patterned bookboard from a mid-century Readers Digest Condensed book. Then on the bottom of that, I affixed some fabric so it would look a little more finished. And now it is complete and headed to its new home!
I did not intend for this project to be a showcase of the ďbestĒ ATCs on Craftster, since Iím in no position to judge that kind of thing. Since it is a calendar, having ATCs that are relevant to seasons, holidays, and days was a priority, as well as showing a variety of styles and media (though some kinds of media do not show up well in photos, so that was a limitation). We are a community that values creativity, heart and effort in ATCs most of all, so thatís what I wanted to reflect, along with the community itself.
Making an actual published book featuring high-quality images of Craftsterer ATCs, through a service like Blurb.com, would be an awesome thing, but I donít have plans to tackle that project because the legal issues get more complicated. However, if it did get off the ground, I think it would actually cost less than printing these calendars, with much less work!
Bottom line is that the idea had to
be brought to life, but itís too expensive and time-consuming to do it again (I think Iíve said that about many projects Iíve taken onÖ
). Iím glad I was able to do it; I just wish it were more affordable to create and share them with the people who contributed. The best thing about it is that several of the artists told me that even though they hadnít created ATCs in quite some time, finding out about this project was inspiring them to start making and trading ATCs again Ė I couldnít ask for a better outcome than that!