I’ve loved creating collages ever since I was a little kid. Cutting up magazines and gluing images together seemed fun, even if they were quite random and without any real purpose or meaning. I loved the hands on approach, I loved being surrounded by different papers, textures and art supplies; all ready for me to combine however I wished. It wasn’t until I got to collage studying Art full time, that I really started to develop my approach to collage. I discovered Robert Rauschenberg and his work blew me away. I seen how someone took collage seriously, and used his imagery to form a message, sometimes with hidden meanings, or ideas ready to interpret however the audience wished. I loved that connection he seemed to form through his work with the viewer, and I started to experiment with how I could do this too.
Ten years on, it’s still something I’m really passionate about; even if Rauschenberg and I have very different styles. I love colour, passion, fun, glitz and a feminine touch to my work; but I still want the viewer to take away a message from it. In 2017 I gained enough confidence with my collage work to start selling some pieces on my Etsy shop, as some of you may know (like the piece shown above), and I’m really proud of this. I’m incredibly fussy, so you guys only ever see about 5% of the actually collage art I make, but I do hope you enjoy them anyway.
I thought today I’d share some quick tips for you guys, in case any of you wanted to start experiment with collage.
1. Collect magazines
I can’t tell you how thankful you’ll be if you’re still someone who buys magazines. They’re the collage artists best friend, and a constant source of inspiration. Whether it’s finding a background with a great pattern, a photograph of a person, or putting together text, you’ll find it all in magazines. I recommend getting a variety, so that you have different styles in your collection (my fave mags include Debut, Frankie, Oh Comely, Flow).
2. Create a ‘kit’
Get a nice sized box or bag for all your collage needs, to have in one handy place whenever you’re inspired. The basics I’d always recommend including are; different papers, scissors, glue sticks, glitter, stickers, pens, markers, rubber stamp kits, post it notes, photographs (that you don’t mind using, of course!) and coloured pencils. I’d say those are the basics you will need, but other fantastic things to start collecting include flowers, ticket stubs, letters, leaves.
3. Let go
To start with, don’t hold back or get worried about the end product. Simply start putting together imagery you like. You could even stick to one colour to warm up, and ease into it. Remember nobody else has to see this, so don’t let your brain convince you it’s silly or not worth trying. Let go, and have some fun with it! Pop on your favourite playlist, and see what happens.
4. Consider a message
Once you’re getting the hang of what you like, how you like to create them, and what your preferences are; you can start to think about the message behind each piece. Do you want to create something that represents you? Do you want something that focuses on a current issue? Or do you want it to represent something important to you personally? Try to think about what imagery would help this message.
5. Get a scanner
And finally, get a scanner! This step isn’t 100% a requirement of course, but it’s one that’s incredibly useful. If you have a scanner you can scan in different papers, edit them, put things together digitally. You can also tweak any mistakes, colours or text you need to, on your computer. And of course it then means you can keep the final image safe and sound with its own digital copy to keep forever in your collection 🙂
Have fun, and good luck!
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