Collage Art - Art with Gena!

IMG_20200307_164807_712 Opens in new windowGena Destri McGill
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I hope you have fun trying out collage art - there’s no wrong way to go about doing art - unless you stop having fun, then try a different method to make it fun! Be forgiving and patient with yourself, and I hope you enjoy exercising your brain in a creative way!


Art Intention Setting

Will you make something Non-representational (no recognizable images - simply color and shapes playing together) or Representational (recognizable images playing together)?

Attain: Start by gathering & preparing supplies!

  • Make paper to cut into shapes: Paint, scribble, stamp, tear or crumple blank paper to make interesting textures/colors - set aside to dry if necessary
  • Copy an image into a black & white Xerox - you can color these yourself with colored pencils or markers for more artistic license! Also, making multiple copies of the same image can be fun to make patterns, a story in your image, or allow for re-doing the piece.
  • Cut out pictures, shapes & images
  • Make stencils if desired (Using tracing paper or the light through the window trick - outline a shape. Color the back of your traced image heavily with pencil. Place your image over your collage and follow your traced lines - you made a “carbon copy”!)
  • Find what you have: stamps, sewing/embroidery, crayons/oil pastels, colored pencils, buttons, glitter, stickers, cardboard, cardstock, wrapping paper, tissue paper, old magazines, old photographs, ribbon, glue, stapler, tape, etc.

Arrange: Get an idea for what can go where; find a composition that works for your ideas and creates visual pleasure.

  1. Pleasing compositions usually have:
    • Main items or directional lines at 1/3s on the paper - “rule of 1/3s”
    • Odd numbers of multiple items/groupings
    • Clusters or randomly/organically placed things instead of evenly spaced apart or lined up like little soldiers or a parking lot full of cars
    • Negative Space! Sometimes leaving background space alone, or filled in with a solid color gives the eyes a needed break! (A light wash of watercolor paint works really well for this)
  2. Think about what affect you like - are you communicating a mood, an idea, a focus on one image, a color theme?           
    1. You can achieve ideas by creating a Focal Point, considering Simple vs. Complex (what do you like better?); Balance; Symmetry vs. Asymmetry

Adhere: Glue, Stitch, Staple, Tape, Paint (acrylic paint acts like a glue!), ModPodge, etc.

Adjust: Not everything will turn out exactly like you imagined or intended - this is your time to rework or adjust.

  1. Think about painting over something to obliterate it or give it a “white wash” to make it fade away a bit if it’s competing with your focal point or clashing with your idea.
  2. Trace an object or give it more of an outline to emphasize or embellish
  3. Draw on your collage, give it some playful lines or directional lines to pull your eyes toward your focus. (think spirals, diagonals or arrows!)

Share your project with us! We’d love to see what you have been up to! Share an image of your project at our Facebook page, our Twitter, or our Instagram. Not on social media? E-mail Caitlin at!