How to Create Inky Collage Animals | Rebecca Mills | Skillshare

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How to Create Inky Collage Animals

teacher avatar Rebecca Mills, Art Tutor/Teacher

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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

8 Lessons (30m)
    • 1. Introduction

    • 2. Class Project

    • 3. Materials

    • 4. Draw and Trace

    • 5. Making Inky Papers

    • 6. Cutting

    • 7. Sticking

    • 8. Final Details

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About This Class

Hi Friends,

This course is primarily about paper cut collage but you will also be introduced to ink techniques, explore mark-making and be encouraged to experiment with your own unique style of mark and line. 


What will you learn?

Learn how to create a paper cut collage, more about ink techniques and creating papers for collages. I will be sharing my process from the initial sketch to final collages. 

What will you create?

Create beautiful inky papers for collage, experimenting with different tools to create a range of lines, marks and textures in ink.  You will then use those unique inky papers to create your own set of paper cut inky animals.


Who is my class for?

This course is suitable for anyone! Whether you haven't done much art before and you are a complete beginner or if you are simply looking for a new way of creating imagery.  

If you wish to have fun, be experimental explore ink, mark-making and paper collage, this course is for you!

Please actively share your work in progress, and feel free to ask any questions along the way... I can't wait to see your work, both during the process, and the end results!

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Meet Your Teacher

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Rebecca Mills

Art Tutor/Teacher



My name is Rebecca and I am an Art Tutor living in the east of England, UK. I love to teach art, share my skills and experiences and inspire others. 

I've been teaching courses and workshops in a range of visual art subjects for almost ten years. This experience has given me a good grounding in a diverse range of visual art techniques and it fuels my passion for my own creativity. You can see more of my work on my Rebecca Mills Illustration website.

I love talking, doing and writing about art so I write a blog and I also have a YouTube channel Rebecca Art Tutor.  I graduated from Norwich School of Art and Design in the UK with a degree in Graphic Design/Illustration.  After grad... See full profile

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1. Introduction: Paper cut collage involves the cutting of paper into shapes and forms which are then glued together to create an image. Hi, my name is Rebecca and I'm an art teacher from England. My class on Skillshare is called How to Create Inky Collage Animals. I will teach you how to create a paper cut collage of animals from papers that had been painted and marked by ink. Ink is a versatile medium, so it's really going to allow us to explore line mark and texture so that we can create a variety of unique papers for collage. I have always loved cutting and sticking papers since I was a child. When I studied illustration, I started to include some paper cut elements into my paintings. But it wasn't until later when I was working on some illustration commissions for a very tight deadlines. So I turned collage because not only did it allow me to create striking, attractive imagery, but also to work quickly. Collage doesn't involve any complicated processes or expensive materials. It's simple and suitable for anyone, whether you are new to art or whether you are an experienced illustrator or artists just looking for something new. The class project is for you to create your own inky collage animals. I will take you through my process from the initial drawings to the finished collages. I also provide template drawings of animals if you wish to use those, or you can draw your own. By the end of this class, you will understand how to create a paper cut collage, use a variety of ink techniques, and have your own set of inky collage animals. Of course, you could then digitize them and edit them further. You could even animate them. The possibilities are endless. I can't wait to see you. Please join me in class. I can't wait to see your inky collage animals. 2. Class Project: Welcome to my class. Let's get started. The class project is for you to create your own inky collage animals. If you complete the class project, you will have your own set of inky collage animals, which you are free to do what you'd like with. You might like to turn them into an image, digitize them, and perhaps develop them further. To give you a few ideas of what I've done with my own inky collage animals, I have turned them into stickers, badges, designs for craving, and greeting cards. We will approach the class project in four easy stages. Step 1 will be to choose an animal that you'd like to draw and then simplify the drawing and trace over it. You will then turn the animal into shapes for casting out. If drawing animals concerns you, please don't worry because I've provided template drawings in the resources section. Step 2 is to create your own inky papers where you will explore line mark and texture. Step 3 is to cut, arrange, and stick so that you will create your animal by using these template cuttings that you have previously drawn. You will construct the animal and glue it together. Step 4 finally is to add the facial details or any further details that you might like to add. Please feel free to reach out to me in the discussion section to ask any questions during the process and I can provide you with guidance and feedback. Please do share your work in the project gallery. I'd love to see your initial drawings, your inky papers, your completed collage animals, and any further developments of the work where you may have taken it further. I really want you to take on the project as your own so please do treat it as a fun project that you can go in your own direction in terms of your interests. For example, with the animal, I've chosen primates, but there's absolutely no reason why you have to have primates. You could choose any animal of your choosing. In fact, the animal could be imaginary and made out. So it doesn't have to be a representational animal. I'd really like you to choose something that inspires you and you really are excited about doing. The other area where I'd really like you to explore is with the lines, marks, and texture and the ink techniques that you can use to create these really unique inky papers. Please do explore and have fun with that too. Remember that you do have some resources that I've put in the resources section, such as the guide to the tools that I've used for mark making and the lines marks that I use as well are in there. You can use them to guide you, but I definitely want to guide and inspire you and not limit you. Please do take on the project as you own, explore, experiment, and have fun with it. If you have gone slightly off on a tangent and done something that maybe you think isn't quite as expected please do share that too, because I'm interested in where people might take the project in their own unique way. I can't wait to see what you come up with. Let's move on and talk about the materials that we need to make our inky collage animals in the next section. 3. Materials: Let's talk materials. We don't need much to get started, but let's have a look at each material in more detail. Let's talk about the paper. The thin paper is easy to cut. So I would recommend thinner paper, it's easy to cut and it's easy to stick. I have just used white photocopier paper, which is everyday paper found in the printer. I've used this brown parcel paper. What is being quite interesting is that the ink looks different on the brown paper and the white paper. This has given me a bit of variety. You might like to explore different colored papers and different types of paper, just because the ink will behave slightly differently on different papers. You will need some drawing paper, a pencil, a pen, an eraser, and some tracing paper to draw and trace your animals. Cutting, you'll need something to cut with. I have a range of scissors in a range of sizes, but I would recommend the smaller pair for those fiddly areas. I use these small embroidery scissors. You could also use a scalpel and a cutting board, for those fiddly bits. I'm using a strong PVA glue. I'm going to be using it neat, which means I'm not watering it down. Any liquid glue that can be applied with a brush is a good idea because you're going to get that glue exactly where you need it. I'm also interested in a glue that is strong enough to dry and stick quickly so that I can move the animal around and not worry about it falling apart. Ink, any ink will do for this, and of course you don't have to use just black ink. There are different colored inks. I would encourage you to experiment with the inks. I'm just keeping my project quite simple with this Indian black ink. I really like using it because it's a very intense black. So I can get a range of tonal values from extreme darks to grayscales if I water it down. Mark-making tools. These are things that create a line mark or texture and really anything goes. Here are some of the things that I like to use. I would really encourage you to experiment. You will find a complete list of materials that I've used for this class in the resources section. We have our materials ready, we're ready to go. I'll see you in the next class. 4. Draw and Trace: In this section, we're going to look at the drawing and tracing our animals. Say that we've got some template parts ready for cutting out to create our collages. Our end goal is to end up with a simple drawing that we can divide into parts, which we can then cut out as individual template parts for collage. Step 1 one to decide what animal you might like to draw. Now, remember, you can use my template drawings in the resources section. But if you are thinking of drawing your own, perhaps you want to start with just gathering some inspiration and some imagery. I started my own journey with Pinterest. I gathered some imagery of primates and then did some rough sketches. I then simplify the drawings, and I then trace over them to create a simple drawing which I could divide into parts. Just a bit of a tip, when you're drawing round the parts, make sure that you have left enough room around them because I've put mine quite close together and that makes a little bit harder to cut out. Another tip is just to consider which parts are going to be stuck to which parts. For example, the torso has a head, arms, and legs stuck to it, so I'm going to make that part a little bit bigger and not cut around the neck. I'm going to cut the whole shape. I will repeat the process for each animal. I'm going to aim for a set of about four to five animals. We've now got our drawings ready and we're ready to make our inky papers. I shall see you in the next session. 5. Making Inky Papers: I've got my ink, my pots of ink, my different strengths of ink, my mark making tools, my paper. I'm ready to go. But just a warning, this is messy. I'm wearing my old clothes. I think I'm just about ready to get started. Let's get inky. By the end of this video, you want to end up with a variety of papers. You want to end up with enough paper to have choice. Generally, I aim for about four sheets of A4, but I go on much longer. I create reams of papers, because I just love making marks, line and texture. You want enough to choose from, you want a variety, and also you want to tone or range. Here I can pick from papers that are quite light to papers that are quite dark, and have quite a lot of choice in between. You might ask yourself, what sort should I be making? The answer is, anything goes. However, you could look at the animal and see the type of fur or scales they have, and that could inspire some ideas. Having said that, I just made some lines, marks, that I like to make. These are abstract to the animal that I have created. I like to do stippling, scumbling, and hatching. I've put a resource sheet together for you, so you can see the types of line and mark that I use there. I also have put together in the resource section, a reference to the tools and the types of mark that they make. You can use that as a visual vocabulary, should you want to. But the answer really is, there's no right or wrong, so please just experiment, have fun with it, and see what types of line marking texts you can come up with. I'd like to talk about the ways that I made my inky papers using some ink techniques, which I can loosely put into four categories. First category is washes. I use watery ink, and I let the ink move within the water to create these really beautiful effects. I used a lot of light washes where I watered the inks down. The next one is scraping and spreading. This is anything that you can use to scrape or spread the ink. My go-to was the palette knife, but anything would do. Marks and line. That's anything, you can create a marker or a line with. Ones I tend to like are the stick the dip pen, and the brush. The last one is texture. Anything you can create a texture with. You can really experiment here, but one of my favorites is the sponge. I also experimented with a feather. One of the great things about this activity, is that you're really free to explore the inks. You haven't got to worry about every line and every mark, and if it goes wrong, like you might do, if you were doing artwork with ink. Now, inks are quite intimidating. I think so. They're pretty permanent once the lines is there, so this is a really great opportunity to really experiment, explore, and make papers without any concerns about mistakes. This way we can really learn about the material, and we can really learn about marks line and texture. I found that a lot of my knowledge with materials has come around, not for creating amazing pieces of art, but actually just playing around with marks and lines and scribbles in my sketchpad, when I've not been worried about creating anything special. It frees us up to really explore and learn about the ink. Let's have a look at some of the ink techniques that I use to make my own inky collage animals. One of the great things about ink is that it is fantastic for layering. Ink is translucent, which means that you can see through it to the layer underneath. By layering, you can create some quite interesting effects. I'm using waterproofing, which means that the dry layer underneath, won't shift or blend once I add some watery ink on top. There are some papers where I have used a variety of techniques, not just one, and I've layered them as I go. I may have started with washes, then dip pen, then maybe some stick and some dabbing with a brush. Yes, quite a lot. What it's made is an interesting, complex paper, that's a bit more interesting than just using one technique. We've made our inky papers. We've got inky. I certainly have. We're ready to move on. I'll see you in the next lesson. 6. Cutting : Now you've done your template drawings, you have major inky papers, you're probably really excited to get the collage together, so let's get cutting. You need your simplified drawings and your template part drawings to get started, and of course, something to cut with. We're going to cut our template part drawings into individual pieces. I like to keep my simplified drawing with me so I've got that as a reference. Once I have all the individual parts cut out, I just arrange them and check that they're going to work. I like to spend some time selecting my papers. I hold them up against each other and see if they're going to work with each other. Sometimes they don't because the print is too bold or the paper is too busy. I just spend some time selecting them and it's really good here to have a range to choose from. You probably won't use all your papers, but that's okay. What I've noticed is, it's great to have a range of busier papers and quieter papers, as well as a tonal range. Once I'm happy with that, I can then put the tracing paper over the inky paper selection and cut out each individual part. Let's get cutting. A few tips when it comes to cutting. I like to cut around the whole shape first and then go back in to deal with the more fiddly areas such as the fingers. I also like to add a little indication of fur by just cutting into the edge to make it look jagged. I do this by cutting into the shape once it's cut out going back in with the scissors. I really move around the shape with the scissors so I can get the cutting exactly where I need it. You could use a scalpel if you prefer for this job. We've now got all of our parts cut out and they're ready to be stuck together. We've now got the completed cutout parts of our animal and it's looking pretty good hopefully. Now we're ready to glue it together. I'll see you in the next session. 7. Sticking: Always there. All we're going to do now is stick our animal cutout pieces together to make the animal. I've got my glue, I've got an old brush. Now, this is important, an old brush because I'm not going to waste my new special brushes on gluing, so very important using old brush. The other thing is, I've got a scrap piece of paper here where I've got to do all my gluing and I'm going to make sure I'm disciplined and I glue everything on top of that piece of paper and the glue doesn't stray into the areas where I don't want it, so let's get sticking. The most important thing about sticking is the glue. It's important to have a good glue. I like this PVA glue because I can apply it with a brush. Now, this is quite important when it comes to the scale that I'm working at. I like the fact that the glue isn't too runny, yet it's liquid enough to for me to move it around. I also like that it dries quite quickly so that I can move the animal around while I'm constructing it without fear of it falling apart. The downside of it dry [inaudible] is that I do need to be quite careful about the arrangement before I stick, so I have spent some time just moving the parts around and checking the time, happy with it before I commit to the glue. I have now completed my animal, it's all glued together, so I just have to repeat the process for all the other animals. We have completed our inky collage animals. They are glued together, well done. Now, you might notice that I don't stick mine down on a piece of paper, and the reason is because I want to digitize these guys and put them into Photoshop and move them around and clean them up a bit and do whatever I like with them. We're going to talk about some things that you might like to do with your inky collage animals next in final details, so I'll see you there. 8. Final Details: You now have your completed set of collage animals, but you might like to add a few final details. By that, I mean adding facial features or you could draw on top of the papers. I've kept my Inky collage animals fairly simple. I've kept the Inky papers as they were made. Having said that in the past, I have done things like drawing on top of them, painted on top of them, started to introduce different materials. It's entirely up to you, but I'm just going to show you some of the things that I did to add a few final details to my own Inky collage animals. I added my facial features in two ways. One was to draw them all with an ink pen. You may have to use a lighter piece of paper if your paper is too dark for the facial features to show up. The other method was to digitize the animals and draw on the facial features digitally using Photoshop and the pencil tool. If you use a new layer, you can easily edit any mistakes. Now you have completed your Inky collage animals, you've added your final details, and you've completed the course, so well done. I really hope that you will share what you've done. Remember, you can share at any point along the way, whether that's your initial drawings, your Inky papers, your completed animals, or anything further that you've done from them. I'd love to see it all. I really hope you've enjoyed the course. I really hope that you've been inspired by the mediums of paper collage and ink. If you're interested, please do follow me for any future Skillshare classes. Thank you so much for joining me.