Beginning Collage Techniques: Cut & Paste a Place! | Sarah Shaw | Skillshare

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Beginning Collage Techniques: Cut & Paste a Place!

teacher avatar Sarah Shaw, Artist & Educator

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

    • 1.



    • 2.

      Your Collage


    • 3.

      Choosing an Image


    • 4.

      Collage Materials


    • 5.

      Technique 1: Circular


    • 6.

      Technique 2: Ripped


    • 7.

      Technique 3: Dotted


    • 8.

      Technique 4: Geometric


    • 9.

      Final Thoughts


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About This Class

Join artist and educator Sarah Shaw for a 40-minute class that covers beginning collage techniques, exploring imagery of simple landscapes. Sarah has been creating both paper and mixed-media collages for a decade, and is very happy to share some tips and techniques to help you "paint with scissors" and create some dynamic works of art!

In this class, you will learn how to choose proper materials for your project, and watch demos of four different techniques for collaging with paper. These lessons will encourage you to think visually—observing elements in your photo as lines and shapes, rather than mountains, trees and rocks. This class is ideal for beginners and those with limited experience collaging, but all are welcome to join.

Collage can be relaxing, meditative and addicting. This might be your first try at collage, but it probably won’t be your last!

Meet Your Teacher

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Sarah Shaw

Artist & Educator



Sarah Shaw is a comics artist, illustrator, and visual arts educator who has lived and worked internationally in Korea, Colombia, and Nepal for the past ten years. She is a graduate of Pratt Institute's BFA Art & Design Education program and the School of Visual Art's MFA Visual Narrative program. Her work has been exhibited in both domestic and international solo and group shows, and often incorporates themes such as history, family, travel, adventure, and world cultures. Currently, she lives and draws in Boston, MA and teaches a graphic memoir class at the School of Visual Arts.  

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1. Introduction: Hi, everyone. My name is Sara Shaw. I'm an artist and educator. I'm really happy to present my second skill share class called Beginning Collage Techniques . Collage became a respected art form in the 20th century, with works by Cuba's artists such as Picasso and Brock. When the 20th century painter Henri Matisse was diagnosed with cancer, he turned to collage and called it painting with scissors. I've been collage ing on a pretty regular basis for about 10 years. I started really getting into collage in high school with this self portrait project since then, of collaged objects, large scale aerial views, mixed media maps, sewn collages with clothing tags, yoga collages with rice, paper and maps, scenes of places where I've lived or travelled and most recently, of mixed collage withdrawing to tell a sequential story collages one of my favorite mediums because it allows for a lot of expression, creativity and experimentation. I get really inspired by materials. Sometimes I'll see a type of paper know exactly what I want to make, like when I discovered this reflective paper and decided to dissect of Brooklyn bus map and pasted on top. The materials usually dictate how the final artwork will turn out, which is really fun to see collages, also a medium that allows your artwork to be a bit freer, a gear and interesting. It allows you to focus more on basic shapes rather than trying to achieve a photo. Realistic end result. For your project in this class, you're going to make a collage of a simple landscape. You're going to learn several basic collage techniques and how to choose the right materials for your project. This class is ideal for complete beginners or those with limited experience collage ing. But even if you've been to art school or you've been making art your whole life, you're welcome to join. I'm really looking forward to see with scenes that you choose and the projects that you create. 2. Your Collage: For this project, you will create a paper collage of a simple landscape utilizing mostly organic shapes from nature. There are a few steps to this project. First, you're going to look for a photo reference. Look for photos that are composed of simple shapes with a color palette that appeals to you . Mountains, beaches and scenes from nature with lots of open space are a few examples of imagery that will work well for your first collage. Next, you'll choose materials that will combine well with your image. Think about your composition, the shape and size of the surface. You'd like the types of paper you'd like to use. Adhesives, mediums and tools based on the videos you're about to watch. You will choose one or more collage techniques that will work well with your image. You'll experiment with cutting and pasting shapes before beginning on your final collage. Depending on the size and amount of small details, you'd like to add your collage. You can spend however long you like on this project. It could take anywhere from a few hours to several days and weeks. Are you already thinking of ideas for your scene? Let's get started 3. Choosing an Image: When you're choosing your photo, think about color, texture, balance and shape. One of the best ways to choose a photo with a great composition is by following the rule of thirds. The rule of thirds stems from the theory that the human eye naturally gravitates two intersection points when an image is split into thirds. In this collage, the iess, naturally drawn to the man in the top, left kicking the soccer ball and the curved shapes of water, lead the eye down to the bottom right hand corner. I chose this photo for the horizontal lines and simple shapes that allow for a lot of freedom with color, shape and texture. The curved lines or what drew me to this photo, and I was intrigued by the somewhat symmetrical nature of this one. My best advice would be to choose a photo that's visually appealing to you and hold some meaning. Lastly, make sure to keep it simple 4. Collage Materials: My favorite part about collage ing is choosing my materials, even though you'll be making a paper collage in this class, There's still so many choices and options collages Very versatile. You don't have to spend a lot of money on your project. When I made these animal collages, I just used pages from magazines, computer paper, glue sticks and scissors. Let's begin with our services. If you're going to choose paper, I would recommend Bristol, which isn't thicker paper, because it's thicker. It won't crinkle as much when you're gluing or adding a lot of layers, you can also use cards. Stuff card stock is a bit thinner, but it still will work very well with most types of paper and glue sticks. Or you can use computer paper if you want to make something really small and you don't plan on adding a lot of layers, you can also collage in a sketchbook if you'd like to. I really like this small skin sketchbook because it has really thick pages and the pages don't work when I collage on them. It's really important to collage on a hard surface. Jess owed artist panel and would both work really well, these air cheap pieces of plywood that I got at a craft store. You can notice that they come in varying thicknesses. If you're going to use wood, I would recommend applying a layer of Jess Oh, with a paint brush over the surface, just to make it a bit smoother for collage on. You can also use a cradle panel. This is really nice, because once you finish, you can immediately hang it on your wall. Or, if you'd like, you can make your own panel. If you have the means to do that, there so many different papers that could be used for collage ing. Some of my favorites are National Geographic Magazine's National Geographic specifically focuses on photography, so the images and colors are really bright and beautiful. Also, the pages are really nice thickness. They're not too thin, and they're not too thick, so they layer really nicely. They're also really great quality images and archival National Geographics can be found on Amazon eBay yard sales, old bookstores for really cheap. If you want to begin collage ing with magazines, I would highly recommend having a stack of National Geographics. Same goes for old coffee table books and atlases. It's also very archival. Good quality, pretty thick paper. Hold photographs, old cards and postcards with nice colors, colored envelopes and letters. Old maps. There are lots of really great, semi transparent papers that you can use for layering. Here's some tissue paper tissue papers very thin layers really nicely, and you can also get some color tissue paper toe layer with Here's some rice paper. Most rice papers semi transparent. Some of it's pretty opaque but spin, but still very durable. And you can layer really well with a. There's also rice paper with fibres you can see here. Some like natural fibres. Here's some acid Tate you can use clear as it taito. Add a shiny layer or you could use colored acid. Ate for a bright, funky looked your landscape. Here's some vellum. Vellum is a little bit thicker, has a nice, smooth matte finish, and mutes colors really nicely when layered on top. Concede my fingers. Pieces of old sewing patterns are also really nice for layering some thicker colored paper with crinkly texture. Decorative paper. If you'd like to add a pattern to your collage whole made paper, it's great for organic lines and shapes and natural landscapes. If you are an art student, you probably recognize color aid. Color aid is painted paper that we used for light color design class to learn about color theory. It's great for collage ing because there's so many different colors. But I don't think they actually use color aid in our schools anymore because there were harmful chemicals and the paper and I can actually smell them right now. Shiny paper. Metallic mirrored paper. If you're needing more inspiration, try browsing the paper selection at an artist store. Some papers I wouldn't recommend using our newspaper and thin catalog and magazine pages. Those types of paper are very archival and there really to thing to collage with. But you can look around your home. I'm sure there's a lot of paper floating around. Choose some paper that interests you that appeals to you and make sure to experiment before starting your final collage. Whenever I collage on a paper surface, I always use ah, high quality glue stick. Don't use that purple blue or kids glue sticks. Make sure you invest in something that's a little bit stronger that will withstand time when I'm collage ing on board or artist panel. I like to use PV a glue. This is kind of like a more expensive form of Elmer's glue, and usually I use an old paint brush to apply the adhesive. When I collage on Border Artists panel. I also like to add a layer over the top of my collage once I finish to really protect the paper and also kind of seal everything together. I like using liquid Tex products. This is a gloss, medium and varnish, and you could actually use this to collage everything with without using the glue. But I prefer just to use it as a top layer because it's kind of expensive. When I add varnish over the top of a collage, I usually apply it with a palette knife to get a nice, smooth consistency without lines that a paintbrush would give you at an art store, you can choose between many different water based products either liquid text or there's another brand called Golden. That's pretty good. I would suggest sticking to gloss medium and varnish combined, or just gloss varnish or matt varnish, depending on the results that you'd like to achieve This is a mixed media collage that I finished with glossy varnish. You can see that even five years later, the colors air still very bright, and there's a lot of UV protection. Here's a collage that I covered with Matt Varnish. You can see that the colors are a bit more muted, but there's still a lot of UV protection and bright colors. You definitely don't need to apply varnish to the surface of your collage unless you want. Teoh. If you're planning to collage on paper and display your collage when you're finished, I would suggest framing it with UV glass to protect the colors. You'll also need a few tools for your collage. For cutting, you'll either use scissors or an Exacto knife ruler and cutting mat. Most of these tools are optional, but you'll need sandpaper if your wooden panel hasn't been primed. A pencil for sketching paintbrushes for applying glue or playing Jess Oh palette knife for applying even coat of varnish if you choose to do so. And ah, hole puncher. If you'd like to experiment with some different techniques for collage ing, lastly, you'll need a magazine or catalog with multiple surfaces to glue on while you're collage ing 5. Technique 1: Circular: Now I'm going to demonstrate a few collage techniques to collage in the circular technique . We're going to use our scissors to cut curved lines and shapes have chosen to use this technique based on the curve shapes that are visible in my photo of Korean green tea fields . This collage is fairly simple and doesn't require many materials. I'm using Bristol as a surface. I'm collage ing with magazine pieces and rice paper, gluing with a glue stick and cutting with basic scissors. I'm going to begin by cutting my bristol to the size that I want. There are pros and cons to all sizes. You'll definitely spend more time completing a bigger collage, but you won't have to worry about gluing tiny details like you will with smaller ones. I'm going to observe my photo and begin sketching my landscape. You don't need to worry about sketching in detail because you'll be covering the page anyway. Sometimes I don't even sketch, but it's a good idea to have your basic reference points like this. Now I'm going to browse through my magazines for colors and textures that I want to use in my collage. I really like finding textures that I wouldn't see my image but applying it in a unique way that fits really well. Like using these corn husks in the fields. I'm going to cut out the biggest shapes. First, I'm using this piece of rice paper as a base for the fields. I'm gluing on a clean page in a magazine as to knock it glue on the other side of the green paper. Make sure to glue the entire surface thoroughly to prevent your collage from falling apart quickly. I usually use my exacto knife to cut the excess paper off the sides. But if you want, you can wait until you finish to do this. Now you can watch my collage ing process for this particular style. I'm observing my photo and cutting mainly curved and circular shapes, as you can see, a mostly using trial and error to get the results that I want. - Come Teoh, Wash. Wash my soul again, carry way minded leaves. Let me baptize my soul with the help of my veins angle lens, Linda re the Tick, Ma'am River down my go and my blame. Let me baptize with the help of means and so ashamed let the river to them river drown them . Teoh Teoh. When you're about halfway done, I would recommend stepping back and looking at your work from a distance. This will help you look at your work from a different angle and decide if there's anything you'd like to improve on my soul again. Carry away my old leaves, lend me about my with the help of my pains and complains, Let the river take them River job men, My ego and my blame Let me baptize my with the help of mais So shame. Let the river take them River drown them! Come Teoh. I will I will come. Teoh Wash Wash wash my soul again way I've intentionally chosen paper to make my collage brighter than the actual photo choosing greens that pop among the shades of brown and contrast ing reds for the trees 6. Technique 2: Ripped: Now let's talk about the ripped paper technique. Ripped paper allows your collage to look a bit more painterly. Have chosen this photo of ocean waves because it's loose and simple and will work well with the unpredictable nature of this technique. Have chosen to collage on a small wooden panel. Utilize various types of paper glue with PV, a glue used Jess Oh, and gloss varnish as well as a number of tools. Because I'm using a small wooden panel, I'm going to begin by sanding the rough edges and applying a layer of Jess Oh, for a smoother surface. After browsing through magazines for colors and textures that appeal to May, I'll show you the rest of my collage process way. - The last step is to add a layer of gloss varnish over the surface of my collage. As you may have noticed, I applied PV a clue to both sides of each collage piece. This technique is a bit more abstract, there's often more texture, and the ripped white edges create more depth. The handmade paper and ripped white tissue and rice paper at a nice touch to this ocean scene 7. Technique 3: Dotted: the dotted technique utilizes hole punched paper. I like to call it the pointillism of collage. I've chosen this photo to makes the dotted technique with geometric shapes because there's a wide range of textures for this collage. I'm using quite a few materials. My surface is a circular wooden panel. I'm using a variety of paper and PV a glue as well as Jess, Oh, a Matt varnish and several tools. I'm going to begin by sanding my wooden panel and adding a layer of Jess Oh, to make it a bit smoother because I'm utilizing the daughter technique. I also want my composition to be a circle. I'm going to begin collage ing with the magazine pieces, and a bit later I'm going to bring in the maps, tissue paper and rice paper. Now you can watch how I combine these techniques together way , way again. I really like utilizing textures that are completely different from my collage subject. I'm using these archeological findings as part of the Mountains way. Lastly, I'm adding a layer of matt varnish to add protection and seal everything together. This is the end result. The colors are vibrant, with shapes are unique and the circular composition adds a nice touch. If you really want to challenge yourself, you could collage the entire piece with hole punch dots. 8. Technique 4: Geometric: Now I'm going to demonstrate my favorite collage technique. Using geometric shapes have chosen to collage this photo geometric shapes for the straight lines that are visible. I'm using quite a few materials in this collage. My surfaces. A Jess owed artist panel I'm collage ing with magazine pieces and reflective paper gluing with PV a glue and utilizing both scissors and an Exacto knife for straight, measured lines based on the composition of my photo, have decided to use a square surface. I'm going to begin by lightly sketching my image. There's no need to add a lot of details and still be layering on top. It's mainly just for reference points like this. I've decided to use reflective paper for the road to give it a unique touch, because this paper has a very delicate surface. I'm not going to glue on both sides of the paper like I did with the ripped technique. My process is very similar to the other techniques that have demonstrated in the previous videos, but you'll find a few differences. - My mind, my soul again. Carrie, you mind it leaves. Let me baptize my soul with the help of my veins angle lens, Linda Re the tick, Ma'am River down my go and my blame Let me baptize with the help of means and so ashamed Let the river to them river drown them Teoh Teoh Wash wash my soul again Carry away my old leaves Lend me about my with the help of my pains and complains Let the river take them River job men My ego and my blame Let me baptize my with the help of Mais shame Let the river take them River drown them Come, Teoh, I will I will come Teoh Hello. She wash Mine will my soul again My mind, my soul again Carry way you mind It leaves Let me baptize my soul with the help of my veins Angle lens Linda River Take them River down my go and my blame Let me baptize with help means so ashamed Let the river to them river drown them Wash mine wash wash my soul again Carry away my old leaves Lend me about my with the help of my pains and complains Let the river take them River drown men My ego and my blame Let me booth Mais so shame Let the river take them River, Drown them! Come Teoh, I will come. Teoh! Hello. She wash Mine will my soul again. - Here's the final collage. Because of the delicate mirrored paper I'm not adding any medium on top. I've chosen bright, vivid colors and the geometric shapes give the collage in overall edgy look. 9. Final Thoughts: I hope these demonstrations have inspired you to begin choosing a photo, choosing materials and starting your collage. Keep in mind that you can combine many collage techniques together, depending on the lines and shapes seen in your image. Or you can even create your own technique. I hope youll share your process and final project with myself in our class community in the project section and feel free to post any comments or questions you have in the community section and here to help you every step of the way. Lastly, if you liked this class, stay tuned for my advanced collage techniques class that I'm in the process of creating that will focus on more detailed imagery such as architecture, people and animals. And if you haven't already, check out my travel illustration course. Thank you so much for participating. I can't wait to see all your projects