Collage Cards For Fun: Three Designs to Play With Composition | Cornelia Zelinka-Bodis | Skillshare

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Collage Cards For Fun: Three Designs to Play With Composition

teacher avatar Cornelia Zelinka-Bodis, Graphic Designer & Artist

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

13 Lessons (1h 15m)
    • 1. Intro

    • 2. Class Project: Your Greeting Card

    • 3. Essential Materials & More Options

    • 4. Monotype: The Painterly Print

    • 5. Texture & Flow: The Collage Papers

    • 6. Techniques to Score, Cut and Glue

    • 7. CONTRAST: Make Your Design "Pop"

    • 8. Stencil Card: Cutting Forms

    • 9. BALANCE: Master Visual Weight

    • 10. Symmetry Card: The Art of Kirigami

    • 11. RHYTHM: Create a Sense of Movement

    • 12. Pattern Card: Organic Shapes

    • 13. Take It Further: Final Thoughts

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About This Class

In this class, we’re going to work with collage and papercut to create three beautiful handmade cards and experiment with composition in a fun and approachable way.


You will create three different design styles: A stencil card, a symmetry card and a pattern card. Each card type comes with a different design principle: Contrast, balance and rhythm.

For every principle there is a practical exercise. So after you have gone through the theory and done the exercise you will work on a card design, where you can practice that principle.

With the stencil card we will explore how differences between elements add visual interest and apply size and value contrast to our design. 

Then we will arrange the elements of our composition so that it feels well balanced and use symmetrical balance to create a papercut card.

And finally by repeatedly arranging those elements in our composition we will create rhythm and use that in our pattern card design.


We’ll start by making our own shiny collage papers with a variation on a printing technique, called monotype. Monotype is very versatile, painterly, and in my opinion, quite meditative and addicting to make. 

This class is great for beginners who are interested in collage and composition but also for people who are just looking for a crafty project. Working with collage and papercut is very accessible, inexpensive, and you don’t need any previous knowledge to do it. 

By the end of this class, you will not only have three very personal greeting cards and a stack of beautiful collage papers, but also an understanding of basic composition principles that will help you make better design decisions with any creative project moving forward.

Additionally, if you are anything like me, having self made holiday cards is really a life-saver, because when it comes to buying gifts I am often running a little late. Creating those greeting cards myself is like giving someone a piece of art and I think people generally feel more valued when they know that you have taken some time and effort to make something personal for them.

The materials you will need for this class are pretty common and affordable and hopefully you have most of them already in your home. You can download the materials list in the “Project & Resources” section of this class, which is available from your desktop computer only.

Let’s make some beautiful collage papers and handmade cards!

See you in class!

Additional Music by Scott Buckley –

Meet Your Teacher

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Cornelia Zelinka-Bodis

Graphic Designer & Artist

Top Teacher

I am a designer and artist from Austria. I love to learn new skills and I take a lot of inspiration from nature. Currently I am most interested in abstract art and texture. I am passionate about helping others find their way into creating, because I don't think that you need fancy art materials or a lot of talent to have fun with art. Sharing what I have learned over the years is very rewarding, so I  started teaching on Skillshare in the beginning of 2021. So far I have published three classes:

My first Skillshare class is about Mark Making With Everyday Objects.

My second class Get Into The Flow: 7 Days of Abstracts with Everyday Materials is designed as a 7-day-challenge, to help you start a relaxed creative practice.

My latest class Collage Cards Fo... See full profile

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1. Intro: [MUSIC] Are you looking for a fun relaxing activity where you can practice your composition skills? Hi, my name is Connie, and I'm a designer, an artist from Austria. I've been working in the field of graphic design for almost 20 years now. While working on the computer, has its benefits, it is really the act of making something with my hands that I find most satisfying. When you paint abstract art, making a good composition is really key. I work quite intuitively. But however free and relaxed I start, after a while, the fear of making a mark that I can't undo starts to sneak in. Does this sound familiar? Collage is a great way to balance this fear because as long as you have include anything down yet, it's not final and it gives you all the opportunities to play with your composition. In this class, we are going to work with collage and paper cut to create three beautiful handmade cards and experiment with composition in a fun and approachable way. We'll start by making our own shiny collage papers with a variation on printing technique called monotype. Then, after getting familiar with materials and basic cutting scoring and gluing techniques, we'll dive right into our design lessons. Composition is not all about cut feeling and intuition. There are principles in design that can help you engage your fewer purposefully. My favorite three are contrast, balance, and rhythm and they'll be the focus of our class project. For each principle, I will cover a bit of theory and give you a practical exercise so you can experiment with it before applying it to your final card design. For the first card, we'll talk about different kinds of contrast and practice playful compositions by using a variety of colored shapes. Then we'll explore size and value contrast by creating a sense of card in the following lesson. For a second card, you will learn about ways to balance the composition. Symmetry is one option and we'll practice it by cutting a snowflake, then we'll create a perfectly balanced curie gummy or paper cut card. For our final card, we will use rhythm. As a practical exercise, you'll create an organic flowing pattern and in the next lesson, a pattern card. This class is great for beginners who are interested in collage and composition, but also for people who are just looking for a crafty project. Working with collage and paper cut is interesting because it's accessible, inexpensive, and you don't need previous knowledge to do it. By the end of this class, you will not only have three very personal greeting cards and a stack of beautiful collage papers but also an understanding of basic composition principles that will help you make more informed decisions with any design project moving forward. What are you waiting for? Let's make some beautiful cards. See you in class. [MUSIC] 2. Class Project: Your Greeting Card: [MUSIC] Welcome back. I'm so glad you've joined me. Let me give you an overview of this class and the class project. To create our greeting cards, we will first make our own collage papers using a fun and easy printing technique called monotype. Monotype is very versatile, painterly, and in my opinion, quite meditative and addicting to make. Throughout the class, we will explore different ways to work, making a sketch versus improvising, cutting with scissors versus using a hobby knife, using the textured paper as a base versus as a top layer. For each card, we'll use a different design approach and design principle. Each of those principles, contrast, balance, and rhythm, will come with a practical exercise and will help you to make better design decisions. After you have gone through the theory and done the exercise, you will work on a greeting card design where you can practice that principle. As your class project, you will create three final cards, a stencil card, a symmetry card, and a pardon card. For a more comprehensive learning experience, I encourage you to do the practical exercises and upload them as well. However, please don't feel pressured. Upload whatever you managed to do. If it's just the collage papers, that's completely fine. I would love to see them as well. You can always add more pictures to your class project later on. The main objective is to have fun and to get started. To sum this up, these are the steps you need to take to finish your class project, create your collage papers, learn the basic techniques, watch the design principle lessons and do the exercises, create your own handmade cards, and finally, create a class project and upload pictures of your cards and exercises. Now that you know what to expect, let's have a look at the materials you need to get started. See you in the next lesson. [MUSIC] 3. Essential Materials & More Options: [MUSIC] Hi, you definitely don't need any fancy art materials. Making do with what you have can often spark new ideas. Let's have a look at what you need for this class. First of all, you need tissue paper to create your textured collage paper. I've tried different tissue papers from those solid as art supplies to those found in two boxes and all of them worked. As you substrate paper, you need heavy paper that can handle a bit of wetness like watercolor paper or mixed media paper. But you can also try thick kraft paper or cardstock. To create our textured paper, we will need to smooth water resistance surface as our printing plate. For that, I like to use L-shaped plastic document folders as they are pretty sturdy. They sometimes come with a texture, but I like to use the smooth ones because any texture will transfer to your paper. You can also use binder document holders or any other non-absorbing surface like plastic bags or acrylic glass. Just be aware that any texture of the surface will transfer on your monoprint. As for brushes, I like to use flat brushes to apply the paint, but use whatever you have and feel comfortable with. For the gluing, I have an old one because matte medium will eventually ruin it. The best paint for this technique is acrylic paint. It is water-resistant and will not reactivate when brushing over it with matte medium or glue. It is also pretty elastic, which comes in handy when folding textured paper. But since I also have a few inexpensive tempera paints at home, I tried them and they worked fine as well. Just keep in mind that tempera is not completely waterproof when dry. The paint could be reactivated. Also, tempera has a tendency to crack when bending the paper if you applied it in thick layers. To mix your colors, you might want to use a palette of some kind, and you will also need a water jar and some small containers. You need a pair of scissors and basic paper scissors are fine, but if you have silhouette scissors, that's great too. Then you need an X-Acto blade or a hobby knife. When using those, you want to have a cutting mat or use a thick piece of cardboard as a base so you don't ruin your table. Also, a ruler comes in handy, and a pencil to make measurements or sketches. For collage, I like to use acrylic medium, strictly speaking, matte medium. But you can also use PVA glue or a glue stick. I will go into more details about the differences in less than six techniques to score cut and glue. Have a look around your home and gather what you can find, and hopefully, you have most of the materials already at hand. I will see you in the next lesson to learn some basics about monotype printing. [MUSIC] 4. Monotype: The Painterly Print: [MUSIC] Welcome back. I love to create texture in my art because it makes a two-dimensional work so much more tactile and interesting. As you will see, monotype printing is an excellent method to do that. Monotype is referred to as the most painterly method among the printmaking techniques, and often called the painterly print. It is extremely versatile and depending on how you apply your paint, you can get very different results. For example, if you use thick paint, you will be able to see your brushstrokes in your print. That way, you can get some very cool textures. Monotype dates back to the 17th century. The surface was historically a copper etching plate, but in contemporary work, it can vary from zinc to acrylic glass. The terms monotype and monoprint are often used interchangeably, but there's actually a difference. A monoprint is part of a series. It can be thought of as a variation on a theme. There are permanent features on the plate that persist from print to print, like etched lines, but there are also things changing from print to print, the inking, for example. Printmaking techniques which can be used to create monoprints include: linocut, woodcut, and etching. A monotype is a one of a kind print. You start with a clean featureless plate and your image is gone after just one print. Gelli plate printing is a popular kind of monotype printing and a gelatin or gelatin like plate is used to transfer painted images or textures to a sheet of paper. This technique is great when using stencils and several layers of color and texture. In the next lesson, I want to show you the classical process of a monoprint, but a very similar one. We're just adding one ingredient to the mix, and that is time. Instead of pulling the print immediately, after putting down our paper, we leave the paper on the surface until the paint has dried. That way you get a very shiny, smooth surface, which you wouldn't achieve if you pulled the print straight away. Because of the involved drying time and the fact that I want to make lots of prints during one session, I use plastic sleeves. They are flexible, cheap, re-usable, and easy to store away. Monotype is such a cool printing technique and we are only going to scratch the surface here when it comes to its possibilities. But anyhow, I will show you how this variation works in detail so that you can create your own shiny monotype collage papers. [MUSIC] 5. Texture & Flow: The Collage Papers: Making collage papers is such an enjoyable process for me and what fascinates me about this technique is the shiny finish of the paper that you will get when paints dry on the smooth surface. It also creates a very neat contrast to the mat surface of your card base, so that your design looks partially varnished. Let's get started and create some beautiful collage papers. To create your papers, you need tissue paper, acrylic and or temporary paints, plastic sleeves, small containers to dilute the paint, and brushes and water char, and the pallet. There are two approaches concerning paints, you can either use them straight out of the tube to create texture with your brush or you can dilute and pour them for a flowing texture and blends. Regardless of the technique you use, make sure to let the shiny side of the tissue paper touch the paint. If you use your paints straight out of the tube, you will be able to transfer the texture made by your brushstrokes. When working with undiluted paint and very thin layers, keep in mind though, to work very fast. Otherwise, the paints might dry before you have the chance to put the tissue paper on top and you won't be able to transfer all of it. For this, you need some small containers. First, squeeze out some paint and then slowly add water so that you get a smooth mix. The paint is thin enough when it drips from your brush. Then you just pour or drip it onto your plastic and move it around before you place the tissue paper on top. Depending on the pigments you use and how they react with each other, the colors will make very cool blends and blooming effects. If you have a particular design in mind, the first step is to think of the colors you want to use and the papers you will therefore need to create. I recommend focusing on a small group of matching colors for each single sheet of collage paper. That way, you have larger areas of similar color mixtures and textures to choose from when cutting the shapes. On the other hand, if you have only little spots of a color that you need, it can be a limiting factor in your design. Using analogous colors, which are colors next to each other on the color wheel will help to avoid grayish or brownish blends. At the same time using complementary colors will result in gray. That is something to be aware of. You want to aim for the stiffness that only concerning color, but also texture and blends. For example, if you are making thread brushstrokes, make your whole sheet like that. If you make curvy ones, do the same thing over the whole page. If you are blending the colors in a certain way, keep doing that. I usually make several papers with the same color palette, but with varying textures that I have a lot to choose from later on but very often I end up using just one sheet of paper for a project because that creates the most cohesiveness. There will always be residues from the last print and that is actually a very cool effect. Paints tend to stick to the document folders, mainly where the wrinkles of the tissue paper were. Those residues are picked up on the next print and create additional texture. This is a bit unpredictable but makes your prints even more unique. The question is if the residues are fitting your color scheme, that is, if you make a really dark print and then the next time a very light one on the same side of the plastic, you will transfer dark residues onto your bright colors. That might be an effect you're going for but if you're looking for a rather harmonious color scheme with little contrast, you will most likely not be so happy. Have a look at the residues on your plastic and try to match them with your colors, or just use a clean sheet. If you're using a thin layer of pure undiluted paint an hour might be enough for it to dry but I usually leave the socked papers to dry overnight just to be on the safe side. Before pulling a print, make sure the backside has a whitish surface and feels dry because if there are spots where the paint is showing through very much, it means that the paper is still wet and the paint has not dried, and then it will stick to the plastic foil and tear if you pull too hard. When it is almost dry, you might be able to carefully peel it off starting from different edges but the best option is to be patient and wait until it's 100 percent dry because then you can pull it off very fast. Now it's time for you to create your own collage papers. Try to have fun while applying the paint. Experiment with different pink viscosities, mix colors, and just immerse yourself in the process. I can easily get into the flow state while doing this and I usually run out of plastic sleeves because it is much fun and quite addictive. While your papers are drying, you can familiarize yourself with some basic techniques that will help you later on when creating your cards. Scoring, cutting, and gluing. See you in the next lesson. 6. Techniques to Score, Cut and Glue: In this lesson, we're going to cut our card bases and learn some basic skills. I encourage you to practice these because that way you will get to know your materials and be able to concentrate on your card design later on. You could, of course, go and buy blank cards. But I like to make them myself because then I can make them in the size I want. What's even more important, I can use paper that can handle some wetness. For this, I like to use inexpensive watercolor paper with 200 GSM. While using heavier paper is good for your collage, you will get a pretty ugly fold. If I'm folding it like that, I do have a hard time. It looks awful. I will show you a simple trick to achieve a very crisp neat fold, which will make your card look even more professional. Scoring means cutting or scratching a notch or line on the surface. There are two different ways to score, from the outside and also from a side that's going to be the inside of your card. I like to score from the outside by using a hobby knife, which I slide very lightly over the paper. You don't want to go too deep, just scratch the surface and don't cut through. Now, you can easily fold the paper. The advantage of this method is that you don't need any additional tools and you can be very precise. The downside is that you are actually damaging the paper surface and it takes some practice to apply the right pressure to your knife. The other way to score is from the future inside of the card. You can use different items that you find around your home, like butter knife, an empty pen, a skewer, or a bland stitching needle, you get the idea. Basically, anything that has a rounded point. You use one of those tools and slide it over the paper 2-3 times, pressing down moderately hard to make a notch in the paper. It works pretty well and you fold it like that over the notch. But you have to go over the fold a few times now with your fingernail so that it stays shut. The advantage of this method is that the paper surface stays intact on the outside. But depending on the tool used, I find it a bit harder to be precise with this method. Here you have an overview of the different methods. First of all, you see the band without scoring, then the hobby knife, which is the most exact, the precise one, then a needle, the skewer, pen, and knife which look almost the same and have been scored from the inside, which is below. Now, let's make a base card. I want to have a square card with a closed format of 14 centimeters on the side. I will need a piece of paper double the size, that is 28 times 14. My watercolor paper is even larger than that. I have a cutting mat that has the measurements on it. That's pretty useful. I align it on the bottom at zero, and then I align my ruler at 14 centimeters. Then I cut through. Now I need to score it in the middle. I turn it around. Again, I align it. I have to be pretty exact with that. Otherwise, my scoring will be lopsided. I use my hobby knife because that is what I like best to score the paper. Now I can fold the card. I've worked really exact. It doesn't always happen that these align so nicely. Now I cut off the excess. Here I have my finished card base. You can use whatever scissors you have, but you might find it easier to use silhouette scissors if you are cutting something very small. Silhouette scissors have a very straight cutting edge and very pointed tip. When cutting with scissors, you probably know that you shouldn't cut right up to the top because then we'll get this ugly tear where the paper gets broken. It's better to use silhouette scissors, because you can cut right up to the tip, because they have such a pointed tip, you won't have that. Whatever scissors you use, just don't close them completely, but just cut to the middle and then you won't have that problem. Another thing I want to cover is that it's easy to use big scissors for big cuts and small scissors for small cuts. Makes sense. I do use my big scissors to cut out a small piece because cutting with this whole sheet is really hard. One thing you want to consider when cutting is that you don't hold your scissors completely upright, but you tilt them slightly away from the paper. You can make better curves. Then you want to have your right hand rather stationary. The cutting hand is stationary and the paper hand is moving the paper. This way, you will get a much smoother curve. Matte medium is a very widely used glue for collage, and it is usually applied below, as well as on top of the paper. I'm only doing that on half of it because one of the specialties of our prints is that they are shiny and that will be lost when putting the matte medium on top. You can see that here, there's no matte medium and on this side, there's matte medium. There's also PVA glue, and it's made of polyvinyl acetate, and you can look for that ingredient, but it's also referred to as wood glue, white glue, a school glue, because actually it's white. I'll show you here and it's pretty thick. You might want to dilute it. Normally I do that in a small container. But you don't want to have it so thin that it runs off. Then you just apply to the page. The difference to matte medium is that it dries shiny, so we will have a shiny surface here. You can also see that on this piece of paper where I've applied it on the brown paper. Here you can see the example from before where I have applied the PVA glue on top of this half and another this half. It's hardly any difference, but what you can see is that the paper gets shinier too. You have to keep that in mind, and apply the glue over the whole page to cover up the edges. A glue stick is my least preferred option, but I've often seen people use that for collage. It really depends on the paper you use. If you use regular copy paper is pretty cool. But if you have very delicate forms and shapes, it is hard to apply without ripping the paper. But once you have it on, it's a great way to stick things down. Also when using thicker paper, you have to take care not to shave off some of the glue. That's hard to apply. You're more like, only partly applying it. That's a bit tricky. If it's the only thing you have at home, just use it, make it work for you. Now it's time for you to cut some card bases and try the glue that you are going to use with some scrap papers to see how materials interact. In the next six lessons, there will ultimately be a lesson that covers a design principle and an exercise to practice it and a lesson that walks you through a greeting card design step-by-step. We'll start with the design principle of contrast. See you in the next lesson. 7. CONTRAST: Make Your Design "Pop": [MUSIC] We have already taken a lot of preparatory stat and we're getting really close to bringing all of this together to create some wonderful cards. But before we start with our first card, let's have a look at the design principle of contrast and do a little warm-up exercise. When people say that a design pops, they often talk about contrast. Contrast refers to a difference between two or more elements in a composition. Basically, you have to think of opposites. There is contrast in value, color, saturation, temperature, size, shape, and texture. Apart from those more physical characteristics of elements, you can also create contrast by space or position. That is, if you have several elements that are all in one location, placing something far away, grossly attention of the viewer. I have added an overview for you to print out in the resource section of this class where you can find a few more opposite words to help you with your contrast. Contrast is used to create variety and visual interest in your design, and it also helps to convey importance. Context is vital to contrast because a visual element is only given meaning by those elements around it. Although both dots are of the same size, they are either seen as a big dot or as a small dot. A circle by itself is just a circle. But if you add a second smaller circle, it defines the first circle as a big circle. If I made the small circle lighter, you would then think that the big dark one is closer and the small light one is further away. How much contrast is needed in a design? That's really hard to say. It depends on what you want to convey with your piece. As with everything in life, try not to overdo it. But as a rule of thumb, I'd say create contrast in 3-5 different aspects. While two little contrasts can make your design look monotonous or uninteresting, too many elements buying for your attention, make it look cluttered and confusing. It is super-useful to create contrast in a couple of points. Maybe you go for subtle colors but work with size contrast. If you consider the background, you also have texture contrast or do it the other way round and have the same size as bad work with color contrast. Here we have color contrast, size contrast, textural contrast, and contrast in shape. For this exercise, you need different kinds of paper, colored monochrome papers, textured ones, or even pages from magazines, scissors and a pencil. If you have a printer, you can also use the templates I have provided in the resources section of this class. In the PDF file, you will find different shapes in a variety of sizes in black and white. You can print and cut them out to use them as they are. Or you can use them as a template to transfer the shapes to your textured paper. But you might get even more creative if you just created your own shapes. You can use your textured paper, magazines or any paper you have lying around. Try to find different colors, values, and textures. As templates to trace you can use things from around your home like yogurt cups or other round and oval containers. Cookie cutters are also a great source for different shapes. Once you have your elements ready, choose three different contract types and try to make a composition with that in mind. For your inspiration, I will give you three prompts. Prompt 1, value, shape and size. Use differently sized black shapes on white or bright background. [MUSIC] Prompt 2, texture, saturation and size. Use circles of different sizes and textures or patterns, and focus on combining saturated and muted neutral colors. [MUSIC] Prompt 3, temperature, shape, and size. Combine two contrasting shapes in different sizes using warm and cool colors. [MUSIC] If you want you can glue down your creations. But you could also keep them separate for a future compositional exercises. But whatever you choose, take care to snap a photo first and upload it to the class project. That way I can give you feedback and you can also have upcoming questions answered. Now come and join me in the next lesson, where we will take our knowledge about contrast into practice. See you there. [MUSIC] 8. Stencil Card: Cutting Forms: [MUSIC] Welcome back. Now we're finally going to make our first card and we will focus on contrast in size, color, and value. You will make a paper card stencil to put on top of the textured paper. Let's get started. During this project, I will use a viewfinder. I will shortly explain what it is and how to make one. The idea of a viewfinder is that it works like a picture frame and you are looking for sections in your artwork that appeal to you. In the class resources, I have added some templates so that you can easily make your own viewfinders. I have two different ones in the standard sizes for cards in centimeters and inches. You can absolutely use them like that. But since printer paper is a bit see-through, I like to use heavier paper. The good thing about using heavier paper is that it blocks out everything from underneath. You should use rather neutral colors like black, white, brown, or gray, so that they are not competing with what you're looking at through the window. It also helps to use a color that is not dominant in your artwork to see more clearly how the final card would look like. For this project, you need a piece of heavy paper for the stencil, a card base, a sheet of textured paper, matte medium or the glue of your choice, an old brush, and an x-acto knife. For paper cutting, regular printer paper that usually weighs around 80-90 gsm is too thin and is likely to tear when you cut it with an x-acto blade. However, the heavier the paper the more strenuous the cutting will be. I have read that 120-160 gsm is ideal, but I have colored paper with 120 gsm. For my purpose, I find it a bit too thin. When I'm cutting, I'm looking for a bit more stiffness in the paper because, otherwise, I have to be really careful to put it down with my finger so it doesn't bend like that. For me, heavier paper works better and I use mixed media paper, but you could also use watercolor paper or card stock. You can see that the mixed media paper is really sturdy and you can concentrate on cutting because it won't bend. I can't even make it bend if I want to. I don't force myself to follow a predefined pattern, but rather, I like to go with the flow. For this, I have some leaves here for inspiration and I will keep this a relaxing and intuitive practice and just see what forms I can easily cut. What I keep in mind though, is contrast in size. I start in the middle because then I have a lot of space around, and I can later on use my viewfinder to find the best composition for my card. You can begin with a rather big shape and then continue with smaller ones. I imagine some leaves starting from a point and then branching out, and I tried to keep a similar distance between them. It often helps to turn your paper around so that you can have the best cutting position for your hand. What I'm looking for while cutting is different sizes and good contrast in size, because that makes the design interesting. If you like, you can already put some textured paper below to get a feeling for the final result and to better see where elements are missing in your design. You can also try to incorporate contrast in numbers by having one big shape next to several small shapes. Another thing that looks pretty neat is, if you make shapes aligned so that they create a visual unity, so these two shapes come together to form a leaf or a flower. But I really come to think of this as a flower with a bunch of leaves that are already coming off. When you're done, you could use a viewfinder and because I didn't like this section, I could cut it off. You can also try with a different viewfinder format, but I like the rectangle better. Since we're making a greeting card, this would also be a great place to add some text. To remember this position, I make some gentle markings with my pencil. Now I will try a few different textured papers. What I like about this paper is that it forms a good contrast with the black paper. You could argue that most scholars have a good contrast with black. But it really depends on the value, that is the lightness or darkness of a color. In my opinion, the white looks a bit out of place and isn't matching so well with the black card. I will try to find a paper with some darker spots to create a better unity. I have a similar paper with darker elements, and you can immediately see that it's too dark. The value is not really different here. That doesn't work for me because I want my design to pop. If you're not sure about the color's value, you can take a picture with your smartphone and turn it to black and white mode. I like this one in a way and you can see all of the elements, but it's boring. This metallic violet really makes the design stand out. But there's not enough texture in this piece, so let's continue looking. That would pop as well, but I don't think it's a perfect fit. I like this one a lot because it emphasizes the idea that this could be a flower with leaves. I can even use the darker area here as a shadow to further define my flower shape and give this some more dimension. Here I have another example and I start by marking the corners of my card. Then I put the card base below and use my thumb and my index finger to align the card base with much viewfinder. Now that I have aligned them, I trace the outline of my card onto the tissue paper to know where to stick them together. Here I have both papers before me. The tissue paper is lying face down so that I can see the marks I have made. I will apply the matte medium to my card base because it holds up better against whiteness than a tissue paper. When mounting the tissue paper to a whole card as a background, you have to cover a large area. As I don't want them at medium to dry before I managed to place a tissue paper on top, I'm doing this bit by bit. Make sure that the edges are covered very well and then flip it over and put it on the tissue paper. Now you can turn it back and smooth down the paper. Then alternately add more matte medium and press down the tissue paper. Slide your finger over the edges to make sure the paper is stuck down. When applying the matte medium, work towards the side of the curve so that you don't get so much of it on the inside. Then clean up excess matte medium that is squeezing out before you put it in a heavy catalog to drive flat. You can use a document sleeve to cover it up so that it doesn't get stuck on the paper. Check after a few minutes to reposition it and see if it's not getting stuck. Another important thing is, don't forget to put your brush into water after using matte medium or glue and to rinse it out thoroughly because the medium or glue will wreck your brushes after a short time. I have also mounted paper on my rectangle card and it has already dried a bit. But it doesn't hurt to have a look in between while it's still humid to see if something got stuck. That is not supposed to get stuck like the side of my card here. Now you can trim off the tissue paper, but you have to be really careful that it doesn't rip. You can cut off a little of your card base to prevent that. But obviously, you can't do that at the fold, so just make sure to press down your ruler very hard, be cautious, and use a very sharp knife. What I like to do with stencil is to cut out just two sides of it. That gives me some little room when aligning and gluing into the base card. Now I know how to align it and I have to work fast because matte medium dries pretty quickly. Unfortunately, I have made quite a mess of it on the front side, but it's not so bad because as long as it's not dry, you can remove the excess and press it down while doing that, it also helps to use a plastic sleeve to press it down because that won't get stuck so easily. Then you can cut off the overlaps. Again, be careful not to cut into the fold. Here we go. This is the final card. I think it turned out really pretty. If you're using a heavy stable paper like me, and you don't have elements of your design going over the edges, you can just glue down your stencil on the four sides. Congrats, you have made your first card. Please, don't forget to create a class project in the project and resources section of this class. Upload your work and maybe add some comments, so that we can all learn from each other. In the next lesson, you will learn about visual weight and balance. See you there. [MUSIC] 9. BALANCE: Master Visual Weight: [MUSIC] Welcome back. I hope you have enjoyed the first project and are ready to learn something new. In this lesson, we are going to study the design principle of balance. To balance the composition, you need to arrange positive elements and negative space in a way that no part of the design becomes a really important and every part of your design hold some interests. Balance makes a composition feel stable and visually pleasing. We experienced dance all the time in the physical world, and from years of learning, we know intuitively when something is unbalanced. With visual balance, you just replace physical weight by visual weight. Visual weight does not refer to the real weight of an object, but to how much attention it draws. The more attention an object attracts, the greater its visual weight. It is often created through the use of contrast and color. For example, a big shape draws more attention to itself compared to a smaller one, and a bright colored one more compared to a muted one. There are three types of balance: symmetrical balance, asymmetrical balance, and radial balance. Symmetry is part of the world around us and we humans are naturally attracted to it. We are symmetrical ourselves and so are other mammals and insects. Biologists believe that symmetry is an indicator of natural fitness that is good genes. That might be an explanation why we relate to it so much. Coming back to design. With symmetrical balance, the visual weight is distributed evenly on both sides of an imaginary line that goes through the middle of the design in any direction. Symmetrical layouts are naturally stable and orderly and draw attention to all areas of the piece equally. With asymmetrical balance, you still balance your elements on both sides of an imaginary central line that you don't mirror the elements. Think of a seesaw. An adult can be balanced out by two children or by moving more to the center. Similarly, in design, you can visually balance elements by considering their visual weight, position, and number. For example, you can balance out one visually heavy element by several small, lighter elements. Asymmetrical balance is dynamic and it creates a sense of modernism and movement. But it can be hard to achieve because of the complex relationships between elements. Instead of balancing the both sides of the centered line, elements balanced around a single point in the middle. Radial balance is found everywhere around us in nature. Think of snowflakes, starfish, flowers, or fruit. Radial symmetry creates a sense of harmony, and because you have to be very present and concentrate on the task at hand, you can even get into the flow state while cutting those Mandela-like patterns. Let's get a bit nostalgic now and practice radial symmetry by cutting some paper snowflakes. For me, this evokes some childhood memories because I used to make them all the time before Christmas in kindergarten and primary school. For this exercise, you need a sheet of thin paper, a pair of scissors, and maybe a pencil. Printer paper works okay, but if you want to make smallest snowflakes, you might want to use thinner paper, like origami folding paper or even newspaper or tissue paper. There are different folding techniques to create a different number of segments or points in your pattern. I will show you an easy technique to create a snowflake with eight points. In the resources, I have added the corresponding folding instruction. First of all, you need a square piece of paper and then you fold it in half to come up with a triangle. Crease each fold very well because having everything flood makes it easier to fold and cut, then folding in half once more to get a smaller triangle, and fold it in half one last time. Now you have a triangle with an open side on the top, a closed side, and a half closed side. You could totally stop here to cut out your pattern and we will do that in the next lesson. But then your snowflake will most likely be square or irregular. What we need to do to create an even snowflake is to cut off part of the open side. My closed side is 10 centimeters, so I mark 10 centimeters on my half open side as well, and then I connect the points. Now both sides have the same length and I can cut away the top part. I like to make a rough sketch of my snowflake pattern as a guideline before cutting, but I don't adhere to it very strictly. When cutting your pattern, take care to leave at least one connecting point on the closed and half-closed side because otherwise your snowflake will fall apart when you open it. Now comes the best part, the unfolding. You have to be a bit careful, especially if the paper is thin. Here we go. A beautiful paper snowflake. Wow, you have learned about balance and symmetry. I say you're ready for your next card project. But before that, I would love to see your snowflake, so please consider sharing it with us in the projects gallery. In the next lesson, we are going to create a symmetrical card using the folding technique you've just learned. See you there. [MUSIC] 10. Symmetry Card: The Art of Kirigami: [MUSIC] Hi, and welcome back. Before I made this class, I knew what origami was, namely the art of paper folding. But I only stumbled about the word kirigami when looking for folding instructions for paper snowflakes. Kirigami's actually a combination of two Japanese words for cut and paper. In this lesson we are going to create a symmetrical kirigami design out of our textured paper. Let's get started. Simple kirigami are usually symmetrical, such as snowflakes, stars, and blossoms. Advanced kirigami designs involve both folding and cutting. That way you end up with three-dimensional structures. But for this project, we will create an easy two-dimensional paper cut with the folding technique I have shown in the last lesson. For this project you need textured paper, a card base, matte medium or the glue of your choice, a brush, and scissors. The first step is to look through your papers and select some that have a decent layer of paint. You don't want too many large white spots where the pure tissue paper shows through, because on the white card, these spots blend into the background of your card and it might look as if part of your design is missing. On a dark card base, they tend to look a bit ugly. The second step is to find the best combination of paper and card base color. If your paper only has a thin layer of paint, the color of the background affects the overall color appearance. A black card base will subdue your colors while a white card base adds contrast and makes the colors more vibrant. A white card base is the safe choice most of the time. But sometimes the color of the card base can actually enhance the appearance of the paper, as in this example. The brown paper actually really plays into the warm color theme of the textured paper and makes it look more saturated. If you choose to work with a black or colored base, keep a few things in mind. First, if your textured tissue paper has some paper white still showing through, the white will not blend into the background completely, but it will not also look white. That can make it look a bit out of place and not so pretty. Second, using a little bit of a dark color or even black in your textured paper, helps to create a unity between foreground and background. Third, if you want to go for a color that is completely different to your background color and doesn't blend in, make sure to use a generous amount of paint on your textured paper, so that it is fairly opaque. There are tons of patterns for symmetrical kirigami to be found on the Internet, and you can type in kirigami snowflake pattern or kirigami blossom pattern, or visit my Pinterest board if you need some inspiration. I enjoyed more to just invent my own patterns while cutting. That way I have that surprise effect when unfolding the paper. There are two options. You can either make a square stencil that will bleed off, that means go over the edge of your card base, or you make a round paper cut mandala. Let's begin with a square one. Because I want my textured paper to bleed off, I need to have a piece of paper that is a bit larger than my card base. That way I have some wiggle room when mounting it to the card base. I use a viewfinder that is one centimeter larger than my card base as a template to trace and then I cut out my paper. I fold the paper in the same way I did in the last lesson but I stop before I cut off the top part, because I actually want to end up with a square pattern this time. What I keep in mind though is that I want to keep clear of the open side of my folded paper while cutting my pattern, because that will be the part that will later on go over the edge of my card. Then I start to cut out random shapes. With symmetry, it is easy to create balance. But some might say that symmetry is a bit boring. It doesn't have to be. Building on what you have learned in the lessons about contrast, you can apply shape and size contrast to make your design symmetrical, as well as exciting. Wow, here we go, my finished kirigami. Once you're done, you can put your finished piece under something heavy for a couple of minutes to flatten it out a bit. For the round mandala kirigami, you need a piece of paper that has the same size as your card base. After cutting, you will have a small margin around your mandala. This time we need to cut off the open side of the folded paper like we did for the snowflake in the previous lesson. Additionally, we need to cut a slide curve. It really doesn't have to be perfect at the first try. Start with a rather small cut and then check by unfolding the paper, where you need to refine it. You might have to repeat that process a few times, but you will soon get a feeling for the right curve to create a circular paper. Within one piece, I usually use similar shapes to create the sense of unity. If I work with rounded organic forms, I stick to that theme. If you choose to work with pointed shapes, keep at it. But maybe you like to work with shape contrast even more and make vastly different shapes. Now comes the best part, the unfolding. A beautiful paper cut mandala. For this step, preparation is key. So before you start gluing, get some kind of clean plastic sheet ready. You will need it when pressing the paper into the glue, so that it won't stick to your fingers. Also have a sheet of kitchen paper to wipe off the glue. First, I center my paper cut on the card base and hold it down, lift up just one side of it, and apply the matte medium below. Then I carefully folded back, put the plastic on top and smooth it down shortly. I lifted it up and wipe off the plastic sheet and then I flip the tissue paper backwards more. Quickly, apply the matte medium to the rest of the card and flip it back into the glue, and then you put down on the plastic on top and smooth it down once again. Pull away the plastic and wipe it off immediately. Then add matte medium on the corners of the card so that you have the even coverage. Because otherwise you might see a difference in the paper color depending on whether it's covered with matte medium or not. When the surface of the card is dry, you can put the plastic on top again and place it under something heavy to dry flat. I was a bit impatient and didn't heed my own advice. So I ended up with the shiny spots where the matte medium hadn't dried enough before I put it in my heavy catalog. The carded pieces of nerve amazing shapes and I like to use them to create a second card. One option is to arrange them on your card in the same, or in a similar position as on your first card. That way you create a corresponding positive version of it. But you could also leave out some of the shapes to create space for lettering and arrange them completely differently. Sometimes you can press your piece because it's too wet or the pressing didn't help enough, as in this case, and you need to straighten it out. What you can do is to dampen the backside with a brush or a sponge, and again, leave it to dry overnight in a heavy catalog or under stack of books. Well done. You have just finished your second card. I have developed quite a liking for these kinds of paper cuts because I find it so fascinating to see the final result after unfolding the paper. They also look really cool, if you put them on your windows or as well as to decorate your home. Please don't forget to share your finished card in the projects gallery because we would all love to see it. In the next lesson, you are going to learn about rhythm and how it can be used to create movement. Come see me there. [MUSIC] 11. RHYTHM: Create a Sense of Movement: Before we start working on our next card, let's learn a bit about the design principle of rhythm. Visual rhythm is about placing elements in a way that creates an underlying beat. It's similar to music, but instead of sounds, we use colors and shapes. When talking about rhythm, we also have to talk about repetition and pattern because they're connected. To illustrate these concepts, I will show you a few of my mixed media pieces, where I have worked a lot with repetition, pattern, and rhythm. Repetition focuses on an element that is being repeated. You can repeat any design element like line, shape, color, or texture. Repetition creates continuity and flow, and it unifies your design. A pattern involves elements that are being repeated in a recurring and predictable manner. A pattern can be regular as in a checkerboard or irregular as in a leopard skin. A pattern has rhythm, but not all rhythm is patterned. Rhythm has some repetition and it can have some pattern, but it is not that predictable. There's variation in the design elements like the space between them, the size, or the shape. Rhythm is important to create an interesting composition that leads the eye in and around the page. Rhythm refers to the visual flow within a piece. It creates a sense of movement in an otherwise static work. The rhythm of a piece can be controlled by everything from color and shape to technique and brushstroke. There are three main types of rhythm: regular rhythm, flowing rhythm, and progressive rhythm. Here I have the artwork that we're going to create in this lesson, and I will use it to explain the three types of rhythm. Regular rhythm uses similar or identical elements that are repeating in regular intervals like a steady beat. In this example, I created a regular rhythm by having the same space between the elements. Another example would be evenly spaced windows or tiles. Flowing rhythm is when organic looking elements follow bends and curves like waves, swimming fish, or branches and leaves, and give the artwork movement. Progressive rhythm happens when we are changing one characteristic of an element as it repeats, for example, its size. For this exercise, you need textured paper, a sheet of watercolor paper, glue, scissors, and an old brush. To get started, we will cut some organic drop shapes. First I make sure I have a good variety from big to small. I like to restrict myself to 4-6 different sizes because having sizes that repeat within a piece makes it more consistent. If you cut out several pieces at once, you have to take care not to let the paint sides of the paper touch each other because papers sometimes tend to stick together and will not come apart again. I also try to make sure I have enough of each size facing right and left so that I have something to choose from. Now we have several groups of shape sizes ready for use. I'm pouring a little bit of matte medium onto my paper palette. You only need a thin layer of matte medium, and then you put a tissue paper on top. I like to use the backside of my brush to push the edges of the tissue paper down on my substrate paper. You could also use your finger for that, but you will get sticky soon enough, so the backside of the brush is really a good option. I only glue down my first element because I like to be able to change things around while working rather intuitive way. With the elements we have cut out, we already have repetition in size, shape, and texture, so you can focus on creating a nice pattern and rhythm in your design. It helps to leave a bit of whitespace around your composition so if you want to use parts of this as a card or frame it as a piece of wall art, you have some flexibility. You can think of leaves and branches, flower petals, flowing waves, or swimming fish if that helps you. I find this exercise to be very relaxing and meditative. Now it's time to glue everything down. I like to hold big shapes down with a finger and lift up only half of them. Then apply the matte medium here and only then below the other half. With the small shapes, you obviously cannot do that, so you have to make sure that if you put them down, it is the place where you want them to be. But it happens that you put them down and it is not exactly what you intended it to be. Then you really have to live with it and improvise because when it sticks, it sticks. Now everything is taking place, and you can see how the paper has this shiny finish. I really love that effect. If you're not content with your composition, you can consider cropping it. For this, if you find, it comes in really handy. I slide it over my art work and try to find the section where I would like to cut it out and where I could add further elements like text. That was a very relaxing exercise for me, and I really hope that you enjoyed the process too. Remember that there is no right or wrong when it comes to exercises like this. Please don't forget to share your piece in your class project. I can't wait to see it. See you in the next lesson. 12. Pattern Card: Organic Shapes: In the last lesson, we have worked rather intuitive way and concentrated on creating rhythm in our practical exercise. Now, I will show you the more planned approach that I would use as a graphic designer if I were commissioned to create a greeting card. We will create a card that will work for any love related theme like Mother's Day or Valentine's day. To give you an overview of this process, these are the steps we're going to walk through. First, we will quickly brainstorm some ideas, then we will choose one idea to create a full-size layered sketch. We will trace the design and use that as a template to cut our shapes, then we will arrange and collage them onto our card base. Finally, and this is totally optional, we will finish our card by adding some type and line work. For this project, you need tissue paper, sketch paper, one or more sheets of textured paper, a card base, matte medium or the glue of your choice, scissors, and an old brush. Fitting the love theme, I think of terms like growing love and growing fund off. So I want to convey growth and love. So building on last lesson's exercise, I will again use the drop shapes or you could also call them like leaf shapes, and in addition, I will use hearts. With that in mind, I start to brainstorm a few ideas and draw some rough thumbnail sketches. I try to go for quantity over quality and I challenge myself to fill the whole page, taking less than a minute per thumbnail. Speed and rough sketching are important at this stage because that prevents you from judging your ideas yet. I use my viewfinder to trace the outline of the final size of my card. I've chosen to work with the symmetrical sketch with the big heart in the middle. I think it needs a few more elements that I have not had in the thumbnail and I also tried to determine the best size of each element. I think the drop shape below the heart needs to be a bit larger, but I don't have to redraw all the elements since it is a symmetrical design and I only need one side to create my template. As I don't want to cut up the sketch, I will trace the elements with my tissue paper. For the heart, I just need half of it. Then I fold my tissue paper and cut it out now. I have a symmetrical heart template. Then I go on to trace the rest. But I don't trace every single element because I want to restrict myself to just a few sizes that will repeat throughout the whole piece. The trace elements are now put over the textured paper and use this template to cut. Then I arrange the shapes on my card base. I have all the elements arranged on my sketch, and now it is time to stick them onto the card with matte medium piece by piece. You can totally leave your card as it is. But if you want, you can add further details like line work or tight. To be honest, I've tried everything on transparency paper before working on my finished cards. That takes off some pressure because you can try how things look and change things before you go onto your final card. Now it's time for you to create your own card. You are, of course, not limited to the shapes that I have used. Maybe you enjoy to create a more geometrical design or a more figurative one. You could use dots, circles, lines, rectangles, flowers, leaves, balloons, hearts, whatever comes to your mind and fits the theme of your card. Whatever you choose though, please don't forget to post your progress in your class project. I would love to see your creation. 13. Take It Further: Final Thoughts: [MUSIC] That's already the end of this class. Congratulations, you have made it. I hope you have liked it and enjoyed making those greeting cards. We have covered so much. At first, we looked at everything from materials to basic card-making techniques. Then you learned about monotype and made your own collage papers. Going into the main lessons, we covered some theory on the three design principles of contrast, balance, and rhythm. In order to have a toolkit to help us compose our cards, we explored how differences between elements, add visual interest, and applied size and value contrast in the stencil card design. Then we find out how to arrange the elements of our composition so that it felt well balanced and used symmetrical balance to create a paper cut card. Finally, we went on to repeatedly arrange those elements in our composition to create rhythm and use that to design a pattern card. If you enjoyed creating textured paper and are looking for easy and relaxed art projects, you can also check out my other classes on mark-making with everyday objects and materials. They are a great source for more texture inspiration, and you could use many of these techniques to create textured papers for further handmade cards. Working with simple materials that only keeps the barrier of entry lobe, but it also gives you the opportunity to create like a child again, because when using everyday materials, you are not so stuck to rules that seemingly come with holding your pink brush or a pencil. Carving ads themselves time to create art is soothing for the soul and also a great way to slow down and get away from life's challenges. All of the projects I show can be done in small doses that fit even a busy lifestyle. Would I would really like you to take away from this class is that collage is a great way to casually level up your composition skills while having your fan relaxed and pressure-free art practice. Trick yourself out of the fear of the white page or of making something wrong. Clashes are not final until you stick it done, so have fun creating. To be more up to date concerning my personal art journey, you can follow me on Instagram. But even battery hit that "Follow" button here on Skillshare if you want to get notified about further classes that I publish. If you liked this class, please consider having a look at my other classes here on Skillshare. I would really appreciate it if you left a review and uploaded a class project because that would give me feedback and I could give you feedback, and it will also make this class more discoverable for other Skillshare students as well. That said, thank you for taking the class and I hope to see you soon. Bye. [MUSIC]