Collage 101

Q. What is art?

A. The arrangement of things in a space.

Q. What are the Classical Elements of Composition?

A. Unity, balance, focus, contrast, movement, pattern, rhythm, proportion.

Q. Which Elements of Composition are important in a collage?

A. Balance.

Just because it is a collage
does not mean it is a mess.

(Intentional placement and excellent craftsmanship
are always appreciated by the audience.)

Today’s steps

Survey the books and magazines in front of you. Pick the three that appeal to you most. Trade with your neighbor if necessary. Don’t spend too much time doing this. Use at least one thing from each of the three sources. You may use more than three sources.

  1. Find at least two options for a background, tear out the pages.
  2. Find at least two options for a foreground, tear out the pages.
  3. Find at least three objects, tear out the pages.

Think about how you can arrange your backgrounds and foregrounds in a way that appeals to you. You might use just one foreground and one background, or maybe you want a middle ground as well. Move them around. Cut or tear them as necessary, laying them over the 5 x 7 card in front of you. They can and should hang over the edges of the card, and the entire card should be covered.

Objects and Balance
Survey the objects you selected and cut out three of them from the pages you tore out. Arrange them over the top of the background until you find a balance that feels good to you. Ideally there is a primary, secondary, and tertiary object, with one being more in the foreground, and one further towards the background. Sometimes simple is best, and one object may be enough to make you feel good about your composition. That’s okay. I don’t care if you don’t.

Take Your Time
When you think you have it figured out, futz with it a little more just to be sure you’re not missing something you might have seen if you were just a little more patient.

Prepare for Gluing
Once you have settled on your composition, make a mental note or take a picture with your 3PO. As you remove all elements from the card, add light marks with pencil to help you place them accurately after the backs are glued. Pay attention to the order you removed them.

Glue It Up
The last element you removed will be the first piece to glue down. Lie it face down on the newspaper, and use the glue stick to cover the back of it with adhesive. Carefully apply it to the card, wrapping it around the edges of the card. Add the next piece of back ground. And the next, if there’s more.

After your card is covered, lay your object(s) in place once more before you glue them down. Reassure yourself that you like what you’re seeing, make adjustments if necessary. Take them off, paying attention to the order you took them off.

Apply glue and place your objects over your composition.

You’re done. Do it again if you feel like it.