USING COLLAGE AS A BACKGROUND LAYER
I love using a variety of collage pieces to create a background layer on my art journal pages. My collage bins are full of old maps, old sheet music, tissue paper from old sewing patterns, old wrapping paper, book pages, dictionary pages, even telephone book pages! I save a lot of stuff these days and it's all good for background collages.
The thing I love about these pieces is that they create visual and physical texture on the page and often inspire what comes next. The words, images, lines, and patterns that are part of these elements come through even when I paint over them...which I usually do.
I try not to choose the pieces that have some meaning, in order to lighten my load while I work. What I mean by this is, I don't look for--and use--only the map pages that have a location that has some meaning to me, or a dictionary page with a word that feels significant. Instead, I like to choose the pieces randomly, without any concern for what they say. I like to keep myself open to what might show up, and I like to allow these pieces to create a visual layer without it being somehow message-laden.
USING COLLAGE FOR IMAGERY
When I want to use collage for imagery on my pages, I go to picture books, magazines, old calendars, old greeting cards, items from my mail pile, old photographs, and the internet. There are so many sources for clipart online...I've included some great links for you below.
There are two ways to approach imagery with collage: intuitively or with intention. Either is completely fine. I urge you to try both and see how they feel.
Check out the video below for my tutorial on using collage images in your art journaling!
Open a magazine or an old picture book and as you turn the pages, see what pops out at you, asking to be included. Trust your initial reaction. Don't spend any time analyzing or judging your reaction or the image. It doesn't have to have an obvious meaning to be used. Pull out the page and set it aside. Keep going, still allowing individual images to call to you.
When you're ready to use these images in your work, cut them out and arrange them on the page (on a white or already painted or collaged background). You may find that some are less interesting now than when you first found them. You may also discover some meaning coming forth...a theme or connection between the images. Follow this thread and see where it goes.
Open up an old book or calendar or magazine with an idea of what you are looking for already in your head. Perhaps you're creating a page about your relationship with your child, so images of mothers holding babies would be great. Perhaps you're thinking about abundance...then pictures of a harvest or a bouquet of flowers might represent what you want to express. You might want to look at specific kinds of books or magazines to find those images.
My nugget of wisdom:
I like to use Mod Podge or a glue stick for collaging on the page. And I love to use my small details scissors for cutting out intricate images.
GREAT RESOURCES FOR CLIPART ONLINE:
The Graphics Fairy (mostly free vintage clipart)
Creative Market (free goods every Monday, amazing diversity of original imagery)
Open Clipart (free images)
The Artchive (free famous art images)
A long list of links to free images sites (Incredible @rt Dept.)
NOTE: I just print images out on regular printer paper and find it holds up well with Mod Podge.
Here is another WONDERFUL resource from my expressive arts colleague and inspiration, Shelley Klammer: Collage Resources.
OTHER WAYS TO ADD COLLAGE
(click on each photo to see it in larger scale)
In our next lesson we'll dive into the topic of how to deal with our Inner Critic.
(You can access all the lessons in this course with the dashboard buttons on the righthand sidebar of this page.)