How to Make a Collage Using the Computer, Or Not

I have a bit of a love-hate relationship going on with my digital-imaging software. I love it when it works and I hate it when it doesn’t. And don’t tell me that the problems I have editing photos or making layered collage art on the computer are “user error.” No way.

digital collage
Trudi Sissons’s completed collage.

OK, maybe it’s true. It’s not so much that I make errors as that I’m impatient. I don’t want to have to learn all the steps it takes to build layers from my scanned collage images or photos. I want it to just happen. So I continue to make collage designs with good old gel medium or needle and thread.

But when I got a sneak peek of a two-part article coming up in the July/August and September/October 2012 issues of Cloth Paper Scissors, I decided it would be worth the trouble to make peace with Photoshop Elements.

The articles, called “From Computer Screen to Sewing Machine Parts I and II,” are by Trudi Sissons. Trudi is a digital-imaging specialist who is the opposite of me: she’s well-versed in digital collage but wanted to learn more about translating her digital images to textile art.

Trudi gives step-by-step instructions for creating and merging collage layers that you can then print out onto fabric. From there you embellish the fabric collage with beads, found objects, textiles, and so on. She even gives you the copyright-free clip art to download.

digital collage
Merging the digital collage layers.

The beauty of Trudi’s articles is that even if you decide you don’t want to go the digital collage route for whatever reason, the finished digital collage, with all of the layers already merged, will also be available for download when the July/August issue is published.

Or, you can create your own paper collage version (cut-and-paste style) from the available images.

Anyone who has an interest in collage–digital or otherwise–will want to be sure to get copies of the upcoming issues of Cloth Paper Scissors. If you don’t already subscribe to Cloth Paper Scissors, now’s the time!

P.S. What do you think? Do you prefer digital collage or making collage art “by hand”? Share your experiences in the comments section below.


Blog, Collage, Mixed-Media Techniques


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