Collage Elements: Watercolor Flowers | Daniela Mellen | Skillshare

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Collage Elements: Watercolor Flowers

teacher avatar Daniela Mellen, Artist & Author

Watch this class and thousands more

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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

11 Lessons (31m)
    • 1. Class Intro

    • 2. Class Supplies

    • 3. Painting on Book Pages

    • 4. Painting on Copy Paper

    • 5. Painting on Scrap Paper

    • 6. Painting on Tissue Paper

    • 7. Painting the Leaves on All Pages

    • 8. Prepping the Papers for Cutting

    • 9. Cutting Out the Shapes

    • 10. Adding Embellishments with Marker

    • 11. Class Wrap Up

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About This Class

Collage Elements: Watercolor Flowers

Making your own collage elements is a way to find the exact size and color for your projects. In today’s class, we’ll make watercolor elements that resemble flowers. And to make the collage useful for art journals, we’ll use thin and lightweight paper, as to keep projects streamlined and avoid bulk. Using book pages, tissue paper, and standard copy paper, I’ll show a few techniques to keep the paper usable, even though it’s delicate and wouldn’t normally work with watercolor medium.

Create quality collage elements, from rounded roses, to graceful petals, and even greenery. These works will add to your stash, but more importantly, will be a beautiful addition to your mixed media projects.

Meet Your Teacher

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Daniela Mellen

Artist & Author


I'm an artist and author living in coastal Florida and surrounded by plants, animals, marine life, and the warm sun - all things that inspire me.

I am drawn to creating things and love to get lost in projects. Each day is a opportunity to learn something new, build on existing skills, and branch out to new ones. I was formally trained as a educator which is my passion and incorporating art into teaching makes my life complete.

I upload art classes every Friday, here on Skillshare. You'll see handmade books, memory keeping, watercolor, acrylic paint, unique art supplies, and photography composition. Thanks for joining me and I look forward to seeing your work.

Check out my blog for additional info on my website or my YouTube Channel for additional c... See full profile

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1. Class Intro: Collage is the process of adhering items, usually paper in cloth together on a surface to make something. Artists use collage in their work. Pasting small objects together, either making a mosaic of images, a grouping, or a representation of something real or imagined. And while many items can be used in this process, from magazine images, too dried flowers, there is something unique about creating your own paper pieces to use work. Hello, I'm Daniela Mellen, an author and artist. In today's class, collage elements, watercolor, flowers. We'll create our own paper flowers with the intention of creating a collage stash. The images are simple shapes that suggest flowers and leaves. And best of all, you can make them in whatever size and colors you need for your project. Since collage is about adhering the elements to a surface, either an art journal, canvas or paper. We want these elements to be thin and lightweight. To this effect will use light papers, tissue paper, book pages, and even standard copy paper will use watercolor pigments with these papers. Because these papers are so thin that poses some challenges. In class, I'll show methods for getting the most out of these papers and solutions for some of those challenges. When you're faced with this class, you'll have created elements or collage fodder to use in your artwork in journals. 2. Class Supplies: So here are the supplies that we're going to use to make our collage elements. Because we're looking to make collage, we want to use the thinnest paper we can and still get good results because we're using watercolor, that is the challenge. So we're going to use just some old book pages. We'll do some tissue paper in another chapter and there's a whole bunch of preparation and afterwards of things we have to do with the tissue paper because it's such a delicate medium. And then I just have copy paper. This is just standard copy paper that you would print off of. I have a pair of scissors, a waterproof permanent marker, which is key for using collage because we don't want the ink to bleed uncontrollably. I have a paper towel, my Watercolor pigments, and whatever pigments you like. And then I'm using a water brush. And I find a water brush to be beneficial, you could always use a standard watercolor brush if you have it. I just find that I can control the water easily and use a minimum of water. But if you only have a standard watercolor brush, that will be fine too. We'll just be very cautious with the amount of water we add to our pigment. In the next chapter, we'll start our collage paintings, and we'll start with our book pages. 3. Painting on Book Pages: Now to use the book pages, you can hold them in any formation. The texts can be normally you would be if you're reading a book or you can hold it any which way you want. I'm going to take my water brush or just a wet brush. And then I'm going to choose the color. We'll start with just a single color flower. So here I have just a nice deep red. And we'll start by making a quasi rows here. So I'm just going to start by making little shapes, going around concentrically the circle. And I can just pick up more pigment and just follow that around. I can make it as scalloped or as street circle as it, as I want. I go. So choose to make whatever size rows here that I want, as well as the pigment, I can go back in and introduce more pigment. The key is to use as little water as possible on my brush. So in a lot of ways I'm treating the watercolor as if it's a marker. Come back in and make a smaller one here. So I'm just making little shapes. And I'm concentrically going around them until I get the shape and the size that I like. And I'll continue this, do one more. And the key here is to do ones that you really like not to go for necessarily quantity, but quality. And you want to make sure you leave enough room between the two so that you can cut them out individually. So now I'm going to flip my piece over here and I'm going to do a little differently. I'll start in the center here. And I'll make this maybe three of these marks. Rinse my brush, and then I'm gonna switch colors. Just like this. I'll come back, pick up a little more red, and continue adding different colors as I go. Just for a little variation. Once I have that and I really like the way that particular flower looks, I can decide to leave it as it is. Or I think I'd like to go in and add a leaf. So I'll take a little bit of green, mix it in with my red and just add a leaf shape, maybe two of them over here. I can go into these roses as well and add leaf shapes as well. And then I'll let that dry. And I can do as many as I want on as many papers as I want. The beauty of this technique is that you can see the texts behind your flowers. And so that produces a very interesting result. 4. Painting on Copy Paper: Now to use copy paper here, I just take one sheet of copy paper and I'm going to be a little more careful with the amount of water on my brush just because I know it's going to buckle on my copy paper and because I know that I can take that into account. So for this technique, I'm gonna take some of this Prussian blue. And I'll make another puddle here with the Prussian blue and we'll mix in some purple with that. So I'll take that Prussian blue and it's going to fade a little more on copy paper than it would on watercolor paper. I want to have a little more pigment and still keep the brush dry. So I'm going to just make a little triangle shape, kind of like a lie supine. And then I'm going to go back in with some of that purple and put it right on top of that Prussian blue. And I'll come over here and I'll do a few of these. Again. I can deposit more pigment and as you can see, it's drying fairly quickly. It's still saturates the paper. But I'm not having pulling of my watercolor pigment. These are quite large compared to other shapes and I can make it much smaller if I wanted a couple more. And while that's still wet, I want to go in there with my purple and just add a little bit of variation to my little loopy lines. They're kind of an abstract flower. For my next flower, I'm going to take some more of that purple to set it down on my palette. And then I just wanna make three petals. So I'm gonna make three petals kind of in a W shape on an angle. And I'll just pull that pedal down just like this. I can fill in the shapes if I want. Fill them in partially or just leave them hollow. And it's a pretty shape. Now while I'm here, I can play around with that shape with the petals and just continue to make a few more petals. And this gives me another flower. I'll go back in with that purple and just play with it quickly. I don't want to work it too much. And I can make one even smaller. If I know that for a particular project, I want to have a number of these, I can really customize it and make it exactly as I want. So here I have that. I can mix it with my blue that's already on my palette and just fill that in. And so you get some variation. In the next chapter, we're going to use copy paper as well, but we're gonna take a piece of scrap copy paper that has a little bit of acrylic paint dried on it. 5. Painting on Scrap Paper: So here is my copy paper painting. It's still wet. I want to just set this aside and let it dry. But as you can see, I have got like a loop and then some purple petal flowers. Well what if you have copy paper that you're saving that maybe was used from gel printing or just as scrap paper and it has some acrylic paint dried on it. Well, accrued paint won't run. If it gets re-wet. The color is just now permanently infused into the paper. So it makes for an interesting background, particularly with watercolor paper. So if I wanted to create additional flowers here, I have a little bit of a background already started. I'm going to dip my brush in some of this deep yellow, which is a yellow, orangey color. And I can just make some shapes, kind of fun, rounded shapes. Now, this color doesn't show up with a paint that I have here. But I can continue to make my shapes all the way down my paper. And because it's paper and pigment or so absorbing, I'll go back in and add another layer right on top of it. And then I'll come in here with a contrasting color, this vermilion hue. And I'll just put a little bit down. And because I have this pigment down, I'll just put my watercolor on top and I'll cut around to make that shape for my collage. From here, I'll just take some deep green and just make little hints of leaves. And as you can see here, the area that has enough acrylic paint is a resist, except for the parts of the paper that don't have acrylic. I'm going to switch to my Prussian blue again. And now I'm going to just make a very easy five petaled flower, almost like a star. I'll go over the area, the acrylic paint just to see what I have. When it dries, it may or may not dry. It may just repel the pigment I put down. But it certainly makes for an interesting effect, something that will be very beneficial. When I'm cutting it out for collage. I can go in here, really emphasize that color. And there I have painted onto a piece of copy paper that has a little bit of leftover acrylic paint on it. 6. Painting on Tissue Paper: So now to start using a piece of tissue paper, if it's a terribly wrinkly, I'll take a warm iron and gently press it across the tissue paper just to get rid of any of the wrinkles, the paper will wrinkle and buckle when any water is added to it. But I like to start with a flat surface to begin with. After I have my tissue paper without wrinkles. Or if it's not very wrinkly to start out with, you'll need something to brace it and support it while you use it for collage. The beauty of tissue paper is that it's so translucent and thin that it's very desirable to use for collage. However, it is very fragile, so we have to take some precautions. I'm using a piece of freezer paper with the shiny side up to brace my tissue paper for painting. Now if you don't have freezer paper, you can use parchment paper or you can use a little Teflon sheet. Just something that isn't going to make the paper stick to it, but it's still going to offer support. You can even use a plastic tablecloth underneath it and that will work in a pinch. I'm going to take my water brush and I'm going to make my flowers again. But I really want to control the amount of pigment and water that is on my tissue paper. I'm not going to rework the piece. I'm just going to add my pigment and let it do its thing. If I want to go back there to add a second color, I'm going to be very careful with that. I'll come and continue. I'll make a row of each of the flowers I want on my tissue paper with enough space between them so that I can cut it out without a problem. And because this paper is so fragile, I'm going to be super careful. I want to go back in there with a little bit of this deeper color and just create a little center here. And again, I'm not working that image at all. So for my next flower, I want to take some of this deep yellow and I want to make essentially a sunflower. So I like to make the petals first. I go around leaving a little space in the center. And I'll do this on a few of the pieces. Make a couple of small ones. And then I'll come in here and meet the larger ones. Now as you can see, the tissue paper really Wix that pigment and water away. So you have to be a little careful. Just keep that in mind. And can make the next bigger one here. And I like to just paint that color all the way around. Again, I'm trying not to work the tissue paper because it's so delicate. Then I'll go back in and just dab in that color in the center of the sunflower. It will wick any areas that are already wet. So there'll be a little bit of a bleed through. But that's kind of the beauty of the watercolor flowers. I'll come back in with my purple and make those petal flowers. Again, I want to be very careful not to tear the paper. And I'll do one more. I'll come back in the next chapter and we'll work on making some leaves on both the tissue paper and some of our other papers. 7. Painting the Leaves on All Pages: Now when I make leaves, I like to try and make them in proportion to the majority of the flowers that I've made. So I mostly small flowers here. So I like to just make a abundance of leaves, more leaves than I have flowers, because it's fun to have a number of leaves for each flower. And I just go in there and I make the shape. And when I'm making leaves for my collage stash, I'll make an abundance of shapes. So here I just have a teardrop. And then I can come in here and make something a little more tapered. I'll do a few of those. And again, this is on the tissue paper. I'm using dark green, but any green will work. And then we'll come back in with a lighter green and just introduce a little to the center. Once I have that done, I'm going to very carefully set aside my entire tissue paper sheet and let that completely dry. I'll come back to my copy sheet that has the acrylic paint on it. And again, I'll do the same thing. I'll make some leaves. I'll put some right on top of that paint that's down on my paper and we'll see what type of results we get from that. But I'll be sure to put some down on the areas where there isn't any paint. Make some bigger leaves. You can make any shape you want. And then I like to come back in and just add a little bit of a second color. I don't want to work this too much, but I do want to add a little bit of variation, so all my leaves aren't identical. And again, I can set this aside. And now my favorite one is for working on the book page. It's, it's enjoyable to work on the book page because it has a little more body than copy paper. And again, that depends on the book page you're working on. But I also like the way it looks when you can see through it and you can see text for using this in collage. So I like to just add a few leaves here, maybe but one row of them. Really get the shape I like. Comeback in, introduce a second color. And then I like to work on some longer vines. So I'll take my dark green, just make an S. And then I like to put little leaves just around that vine. I can go back in there after I have it down, carve out a little bit more of a shape. And then I can go back in and just connected to this. Fine. Again, I'm not overworking the piece. Come back in for the second line. Make my shapes. If it dries or the absorbed too much and it gets too light, I can go back in and deposit more color just like that. And lastly, on my standard copy paper, I can do more of the same. Gonna start with this yellow green, which is a much lighter green. I'll make a few teardrops shapes. And then I'll just make some larger leaves. And on the larger leaves I might play with adding a little bit more color and pigment throughout. And this just gives a little variation. Once I have this all done, now, I have to be patient and let this completely dry at all my sheets dry. And then we'll come back and start the next stage which is cutting them out. 8. Prepping the Papers for Cutting: So now that my pieces are dry, as you can see, they're all kinda buckled here. And that's just because this paper is not designed for water media. But that's okay because we have a solution for that. So I just take away sheet and as you can see here, I already did this one. And I flip it over. And again, I'm making shrews is completely dry. And then I just take a low iron and I press it all the way the length of my sheet. And I do this as much as is needed to really flatten it out. The heat and the pressure, do a nice job. So here's a contrast between an iron sheet and a not iron sheet. And you can see how this is a little more flimsy than this. So I'll take a moment and iron all these sheets. And then when we get to the tissue paper sheet, I'll show you what I do for that since it's so delicate. So now I have the tissue paper sheet and again, I want to make sure it's dry because it's a little more sturdy. I just flipped my tissue paper sheet over just like I did before. And instead of sliding the iron across, I start by just pressing it and I press it on all the areas where I have the paint. And just hold it down there for a few seconds. As you can see, it adds a few wrinkles to the tissue paper, but that's because it's pressing out all those buckles. Once I have that done, I'll start from the center and just gently pull in towards me. And again, just on the area that's painted, I'll come around to this side, flip it over and do the same technique. And the result is a lot more flat of a piece of collaged paper. This is great for if I want to scan these pieces into my machine, my computer, and use the image that way so that I can use multiple images or use them in digital artwork as well. But without pressing it, I get a lot of shadow on the paper. The next chapter, we'll start the actual physical cutting. 9. Cutting Out the Shapes: Now, if you want to make your pages and just store your pages inside a file folder or some way to keep them flat, then you can stop here. I do like to take some time and cut each of these shapes on all of the pieces that we've made and then I will embellish them. I might not do this all in one go normally. I might create my shapes and then another time cut them out and then some other time embellish them with marker. But I'm going to show all the things that I do in class and you can decide how you want to break up the pieces. You might want to just cut out the ones you know, you're going to need for your current project. What I like to do is I cut each strip of the same elements. So I'll keep these together. For this sheet, I'll cut out these in this way. I have the pieces together, but when I get to them, I'll be working on all of the leaves are all of the blue flowers, et cetera. From there. I'll just cut them out. And I like to use smaller scissors to do that. I cut them out so that each of the elements has their own little piece of paper. And then I'll just carefully decide how much space I want around each element. I like to just go around it all evenly. And then I'll set that aside. Now, there's a lot of leeway, particularly for me with the text, because I really like seeing that text. So I can go close to my leaf or larger. And if I'm not really sure what I'm going to use it for. I might go around it fairly large, leading a big border because I can always trim it down later. So I'll cut out these flowers and they'll come back and show you the results. So here are all the cut flowers we painted in class today. This is how I store the tissue paper ones just in this little glassy and envelope that I'm reusing a card I think came in this little sleeve. But as you can see, this is the tissue paper and it's so delicate. You can also see the vibrancy of the color changes depending on the paper we used. It's fairly and say a medium vibrancy on the book pages, but on the copy paper it really absorbs right in and it becomes a little duller. And these are the results of the watercolor on the actual copy paper that has acrylic paint on it. It's not perfect, but it certainly works very well for collage. The next chapter we'll go over embellishing it with marker. 10. Adding Embellishments with Marker: Now to embellish with waterproof marker, I'm going to set aside the tissue paper flowers because they're so delicate and I'll do those as needed when I'm going to use them. But I can show you the same technique that I use and I'll do this on all the remaining flowers. What I'll do is I'll take you to the flower or the leaf. Take my marker and then I like to outline it. And I can either use a straight line for the outline and just create the perimeter, or I can add dots, I can add dashes. I can even use additional line work around the shapes. And I'll do this with another leaf as well. So I just make my mark and then I just kind of go with what feels right with that. From there I'll take another flower. This one with all the petals. And I'll just make the outline there of each individual petal. Now you don't have to do it this way. You can do whatever strikes your fancy. You could use double line. So I use two lines if I want to make it particularly very drying effect. I could do the same thing here on my little vine were all I do is really outlined the vine. And then I can go in and outline each of the little leaves on the vine. If I wanted to fill each of the leaves with patterns, I could do that as well. A word of caution though, if you wanted to use a gel pen, I would suggest waiting until you use this collage ephemera in your work. I don't know how the gel pen will bleed when used with adhesive. So that's why I like the waterproof marker because it will really saturate the paper and it won't tend to bleed with adhesive. I'll continue doing all the different shapes, really playing with each individual shape, all the things that make it unique and there's no right or wrong here. These are just things you do to enhance the actual flowers you have. So I'll finish the remaining flowers and then in the next chapter we'll take a look at some of the variations that we've made. 11. Class Wrap Up: So here are finished pieces. On the top row are the pieces that we made using book pages as the background. And it's certainly is a very intriguing effect because it's got that pattern of the text behind it. The next row we have our copy paper where we painted onto the copy paper. The copy paper had its own properties where it absorbs some of the pigment and then it blended with the water. So that's another effect with our outline. And then our last row is a bunch of shapes, the collage shapes and images that we used on tissue paper. So it's far more delicate. And as you can see, the color is, vibrancy is different depending on the paper that you use. Now I wanted to show you this is a 140 pound watercolor paper. It's much thicker than any of the papers we used. The colors are far more vibrant, but it adds quite heaviness that if you've got a collage on into your books and your art journals and your pieces. You might not want that thickness. And that's why we use the alternative, the paper. If you wanted to make a card or something like that, or if you're going to scan this into your computer and print it out onto a thin paper. This would be an effective strategy. But if you want to actually work manually with these images that we've painted to cut out. Then this is the way to go is to try different papers to get your end result. Now I wanted to show you how I store my collaged pieces. If I have them all cut out and either embellished or just cut out, I keep them in a shallow box here. And this way I can rifle through them and find the pieces that I'm looking for. I also keep some pieces in strips just because I think it's easier to protect them this way. This is the tissue paper strips and I keep these in this plastic little sleeve as well, and these are the cutout pieces and those fit nicely in that box when I'm not using them. Here, I have some pieces that I haven't cut out or embellished yet. They're just still on the little pieces of paper. And I cut them small enough to fit in that box. So all my pieces are contained. Now in terms of using your pieces after you cut them out, they're great to use in your collage. And this is just one example of using them in an art journal or a cut them out. And then I played around with the page, doesn't have to be perfect, but it's certainly a fun project for me and I can keep this in my journal as I use it. Another page is the same way where I keep the pieces and I just use them as needed. And it's nice to have that box of collage fodder that I can play with when I'm ready for it. I hope you'll try your hand making these collaged pieces with watercolor and interesting paper, either office paper, book paper, tissue paper, or you, maybe you have something in mind. Try with, if you do this, snap a photo of your work and post it in the project section. Please be sure to follow me here on Skillshare to get notified of future classes. And please consider leaving a review. Thanks for joining me today.