In case you didn't notice, today is December 12, 2012, aka 12.12.12. Therefore, I feel obliged to offer you a dozen of something. How about 12 tips for collage art?
1 Be inspired. Whether I'm making a collage or decorating my house, I always start by looking at what else is out there: flipping through magazines, searching Etsy, going on blog and Pinterest tours, and visiting favorite websites. The idea is not to copy but just to get excited and open my mind to all the possibilities of how to make a collage. A great source for collage inspiration is the gallery right here on the Cloth Paper Scissors community.
2 Start with the unusual. Anyone can begin a collage on paper or canvas, but if you start with something textural, such as an old scrap of knitting, a section of a woven wastebasket, or a vintage doll dress, who knows what you might create? It might be a mess, but it might be brilliant.
3 Use text. Stitch it, transfer it, print it, or clip text from old books and ephemera. Text adds depth, meaning, and the hand of the artist. Hey, they don't call it texture for nothing!
4 Dress for success. To avoid burying your focal point, take this advice from Cloth Paper Scissors Editor Jenn Mason and build your collage the same way you put together an outfit: the background (step 1) is the basics (like a skirt and top), the middle ground (step 2) is where the accessories should go (like a bag and shoes), and the foreground (step three) is where you apply the finishing touches that pull everything together (like jewelry and makeup).
5 Go natural. Nature is the original mixed-media collage artist. Take a walk in the woods or on the beach and you'll not only find natural compositions and design lines to inspire, but actual ingredients you can use in your collage art.
6 Go digital. Nature is nice, but digital collage is delightful—and versatile. Together with a scanner, you can re-use your backgrounds and other artwork, manipulate it, and transfer designs to fabric.
7 Wax on. If you're looking for a collage adventure, encaustic collage is just the ticket. The melted beeswax and resin mixture allows you to layer papers, fabrics, and natural materials in a way that makes them seem to glow from within.
8 Get it together. If you want to collage more but don't have much time, consider putting together an essential kit of collage materials. That way, you'll be ready to go when the muse moves you.
9 Redefine paper. I could sit for hours collaging with papers and gel medium. But sometimes you want a "paper" that is more durable; Tyvek®, for instance. You can paint it, stamp it, stitch it, and cut it. Try it.
10 Pick a theme. I love the old joke about the New Yorker who is stopped on the street and asked, "How do you get to Carnegie Hall?" And the man answers, "Practice, kid. Practice. One of the best ways to get better at something like collage techniques is to do them over and over again. To make it more fun and interesting, choose a theme or motif, like daisies or armadillos.
11 Overcome color prejudice. Everyone has a favorite color or color palette. But many of us also have colors we think we don't like. My advice: Don't avoid that color, use it, experiment with it in different shades and tints. You may still hate it, but you may also discover that that color adds just the right touch to your artwork. Collage is the perfect place for exploring color.
12 Use what you have. Here's what I love about collage: it can be as simple or as complex as you want. And often, simpler is better. Julie Fei-Fan Balzer is an absolute wizard at using simple, available, and (often) free materials to make complex, colorful collages. She explains her easy collage techniques in her best-selling WorkshopTM video, Collage Fast and Furious, available for download today for a special, one-day price of $12.12!
So there you have it. A dozen collage tips. Now, go celebrate 12-12-12 by making a dozen collages and by checking out all 12 of the $12.12 deals on the Cloth Paper Scissors Shop, today only!
P.S. What's your favorite collage tip? Share it with everyone in the space below.
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