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Collage Techniques: "Painting with Paper"


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How to make a collage. Which papers to use, where to find them, how to apply them. Which glues work best. Background techniques. Image transfer techniques.

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Collage Techniques: "Painting with Paper"

  1. 1. Painting with Paper: Collage Made Easy Lori Krein • Collage: the artistic process of pasting or gluing paper, cloth, etc. onto a flat surface • Decoupage: same as above, onto a 3-dimensional surface • Assemblage: The artistic process of fitting parts and pieces together. I fell in love with collage because I discovered I could express my creativity without the pressure of knowing how to draw. Collage can go in so many can use only decorative papers, magazine cut outs, or photographs. Feel free to add paints, string, or other 3-d elements. The main goal is to enjoy the process! 1. Basic Collage Techniques a) Backgrounds Glazing Creating a wash with a thin layers of paint. Paint the base color. Allow it to dry. Add a second color, thinned with water. Before it dries, wipe off most of the second layer with a paper towel. You can do this a number of times to create more depth. Peeling paint Paint your surface with a base color, or glue paper onto the surface (seal it before moving on to the next step, with gel medium). Coat part of the surface with petroleum jelly. Wherever you put the jelly, the paint will peel off. Paint over the jelly with acrylic paint. (thinned with water, so it is like chocolate syrup) It should go over the jelly without mixing with it. Wait for the paint to dry. (Use a heat gun if you are in a hurry). Wipe off loose paint with a paper towel. Wash off the remaining jelly with soap and water (or use baby wipes). Textured paint Cover your surface with heavy body acrylic paint, or mix regular paint with gel medium. Texture the surface with a comb, rubber stamp, pen, or any other tool to create a design in the think paint. Once it's dry, add a wash of paint. (thinned with water.) Rub off excess paint. Add more color to the edges if you like. Peeling paper Glue paper onto surface (try using a page from a phone book, old dictionary, or old catalog) with gel medium. Press down to adhere. Stick masking tape to the top of the paper after about two minutes. Press down on the tape to make sure it's sticking. Peel off a section of the paper. Continue peeling the paper off this way. Then scratch off more using your fingernail. Then you can cover with a wash of color if you like. Wipe off excess paint with a paper towel. Crackle Plastic wrap crinkle Cover surface with one or two colors of paint. It should be the consistency of watercolor, or a thicker version of acrylic paint. You could try mixing some gel medium with the paint to give it more texture. Lay a sheet of cellophane on top of the paint. Smoosh the plastic around. Allow to dry. Lift the plastic to reveal the texture. Lori Krein………. 408-335-9101……… D:DataFilesA LoriStuffartclasseshandoutsoutline 3 combined.doc
  2. 2. Masking tape Apply layers of masking tape to the surface. Cover with a layer of gel medium, and let air dry or use a heat gun. Paint over the tape. Mix colors if you wish. Buff the paint with a paper towel. Repeat with more paint if you want more layers. Tissue paper Paint your surface with acrylic paint. Add some plain tissue paper, and smoosh it around. Once dry, apply a new color and blot of buff off excess paint. Contact paper shapes Cut shapes out of a sheet of clear contact paper. Stick the shapes gently to your surface. Apply paint over the whole surface area. Use thin, watery paint, letting the paint seep under the contact paper shapes. Blot the paint. Remove the contact paper once the paint has dried. Elmer's Glue Crackle Spread glue over your surface. Allow to dry until tacky. Brush the paint over the glue. Dry with heat gun or allow to air dry. Use a heavier coat of glue for a larger crackle, or a thinner coat for smaller crackles. b) Image Transfer Techniques Image transfers are made by taking a photo, making a photocopy of the photo and then transferring the image to another medium. It could be paper to paper, paper to fabric, photo to fabric, paper to domino, and paper to polymer clay. There are many techniques used in transferring. Each paper, ink, and fabric reacts differently. You should experiment before you work on your actual project. Heat transfers To transfer photocopies, and to transfer images onto fabric, wood, and paper. The Heat Transfer tools can be found at online websites, and stamping and scrapbook stores. They usually cost under $30.00. Supplies: • Heat Transfer Tool • Heat resistant surface such as a piece of mat board. • Color copies or Black and White images Directions for the Heat Transfer Technique: • Lay the image face down onto the area you want to transfer • Take the heat transfer tool and with the flat round iron edge rub firmly over the back of the copy in a circular motion • Lift the corner of the image carefully to see if the toner has been transferred to your liking • Continue with the heat transfer tool until you have the desired effect • Lift off the transfer paper when you have reached the desired effect • An regular iron will not work for this type of transfer because it does not get hot enough Caulking Transfers When using this method, your image will appear in reverse so if you have text on your image you will need to reverse it prior to the transfer. Ink jet prints will work but the image will fade in just a few weeks. Lori Krein………. 408-335-9101……… D:DataFilesA LoriStuffartclasseshandoutsoutline 3 combined.doc
  3. 3. Supplies: • black and white photo copy, or color laser printout • Elmer's clear squeeze 'N Caulk • Art surface • Paintbrush • Water • Sanding block Process: Squeeze the caulk onto the surface and smooth it out with a brush. Cover the whole area. Place the image, face down, on the caulking. Smooth the image out. Let dry for 24 hours. When it's dry, wet the back of the image. Let the water soak in. Rub off the excess paper. Keep rubbing until all the white paper is gone. You can soften the edges by sanding them. Add details with colored pencils if you like. Contact paper or packing tape To do this type of transfer you need clear packaging tape or clear contact paper. Choose your images from collage sheets, clip art, newspapers or glossy magazine images. You will need the following supplies: • Collage sheets, clip art, newspaper or glossy magazine images • Clear Packaging tape or contact paper • Burnishing Tool such as a bone folder • Dish of warm water • Paper Towels • Wax Paper Instructions: • Cut out image larger than you want the final transfer to be • Cut a piece of package tape and lay the image face down on the sticky side of the tape • Go over the whole image with the bone folder pressing firmly to make sure it is well adhered • Then cut the image to the final size you want it to be and put in a dish of warm water. Soak for 10-15 minutes. The idea is to get the paper backing completely wet • Remove tape image from water and rub the paper off of the back of the tape. The more you rub the clearer the image will be • Pat dry with paper towel and there you have it! It looks like a very thin transparency • Attach it to your project with gel medium, glue, or use a Xyron. Gel transfer Very versatile. Gel transfers leave a film that you then apply to whatever surface you wish. These transfers are great for cards, game pieces, and altered books. They work well with photocopied images whether they are color or Black and White. Supplies: Lori Krein………. 408-335-9101……… D:DataFilesA LoriStuffartclasseshandoutsoutline 3 combined.doc
  4. 4. • Color or Black & White Photocopy of any picture desired or magazine images • Soft Gel Matte Medium (Golden) • Paint brush • Dish of warm water • Paper Towels • Wax Paper Instructions: • Make photocopy (color or Black & White) of a picture you wish to use • Lie image face up on wax paper • Using a paintbrush, apply a thin coat of Soft Gel Medium over your picture brushing in the same direction always. Make sure you apply the gel at least ½ inch further than the edges of the picture • Let this coat dry completely • Repeat with another thin coat of Soft Gel Medium, but go in the opposite direction • Continue the coating of Soft Gel Medium until you have applied four coats • Allow the last coat to dry overnight • Place the image into a bowl of water and soak for at least an hour. The idea is to get the paper backing completely wet • Remove the image from the water and gently rub the paper backing. The paper should start rolling off. If it doesn't, soak longer • Rub off all the paper from the image. Don't worry if the plastic becomes cloudy as you work, just beware that a gel transfer can tear easily • Rinse periodically with tepid or cold water as you work to get rid of the paper rolls. Make sure you really rub all the paper off • Once you have removed all of the paper, lay the image flat onto a paper towel to allow it to dry for a day or so • Trim the transfer to fit your project. Scissors work better than a xacto knife for this type of trimming • To glue the image transfer to you project, use the Soft Gel as an adhesive 2. Materials and supplies • Surface options: canvas, canvas board, masonite board, (also called hard board) (purchase at Home Depot, should be sealed with jesso or primer prior to using, on both sides), furniture, (wood should be primed), glass (vases etc. You can glue right on the surface) • Glue: If you are primarily going to use rice papers in your collage, or any other thin paper, AND you want your collage to be archival, you should use acrylic Matte Medium (for a matte finish) or gloss Medium (I like to thin it a little, 1/4 water, 3/4 glue…experiment until you get the right incsistency). You can buy this by the gallon at ($30 plus shipping). Any art supply store also sells this, another popular brand is Liquitex. You can also use Gel Medium, without thinning with water. • Other options are any white glue, or any decoupage glue like ModPodge, mostly use this for magazine collages. • String, buttons, puzzle pieces, wire, fabric, sawdust… • Paper: hand or machine made, rice paper. • Magazines: If you want to use a thicker image (like from the cover or a magazine) you should soak it for 3-5 minutes, then pull it apart. The thinner image will be easier to work with. You can cut thin strips from magazines and paste Lori Krein………. 408-335-9101……… D:DataFilesA LoriStuffartclasseshandoutsoutline 3 combined.doc
  5. 5. them down on the collage. Sometimes magazine paper will have many bumps when it dries, due to the high amount of chemicals they use when making this paper. • Photographs: Photographs can be tricky to adhere. If you are using older photos, consider making a photocopy to preserve the original photo. The copy is easier to work with since it is on thinner paper. To use the original photo, soak it in water for a few minutes, then pull it apart. • Paint brush (1” acrylic brush is my favorite). You can use the cheap, wooden handled brushes, they sell them at Aaron brothers for about .69. • Varnish: water-based polyurethane,(gloss, or matte finish) or gloss medium. I use Polycrylic, found at Home Depot in a blue can. You can try using any decoupage finish as well, try experimenting, see what works for you. • I tape a sheet of freezer paper to my work table to protect it. Newspaper also works. Consider wearing rubber gloves if you don’t like the glue on your hands! 3. Main Collage Elements Some artists have a clear plan or idea before they begin, while others like to work on the fly and see what happens through experimentation. Follow your instincts, and remember to enjoy the process. Begin by collecting images from magazines, favorite photos (photocopied), interesting patterns, words, string, lace, charms, dictionary pages, old catalogs, sheet music, decorative art papers, anything that might inspire you! • Sketch your own design, work from another image, or just start rummaging through the papers to see what strikes your fancy. Think about if you are shooting for an impressionistic or abstract design. Use Google to search for images. Print the ones you like, use them for inspiration. • Lay out all of the materials you plan to use. • Other things to consider in your composition of design: Line, shape, color, texture, movement, contrast, layering. • The best thing about collage is it is very forgiving. If you don’t like what you did, peel it of (before it dries) or cover it up with something else! • If you are having trouble trying to decide what to do, just look through art magazines or on-line and see what others have already done. Use them for inspiration! Start laying out the individual elements on your background. Choose one image to use as your focal point. Add more items. Assess the composition so far. Remove unnecessary items. Improve the balance. Sometimes using an odd number of elements makes a composition more dynamic. Play with the format. Would the piece work better vertical or horizontal? Enhance the story if you think it needs something more. Add texture and color. Step back and see how you like it so far. Make adjustments as necessary. Add the final touches. See how your eyes move around the composition. Composition Tips: • Create a strong focal point. • Use elements to support the main image. • Don't overcrowd your artwork, unless this is the goal of the piece. • Vary the size and shapes of your elements. • View the artwork from a distance. Application Technique Prepare the surface: any porous surface needs to be sealed using jesso or primer. Canvas is usually already primed. a) Tear your paper for a softer effect, or cut it for cleaner edges. You can “draw” a line with water, using a thin paint brush, on the paper to use as a guide for tearing. Lori Krein………. 408-335-9101……… D:DataFilesA LoriStuffartclasseshandoutsoutline 3 combined.doc
  6. 6. b) Glue it down: be sure to smooth down the paper to avoid trapping air bubbles. Use the brush or your fingers to smooth out the paper, putting glue on top also helps. c) Let it dry (usually 24 hrs) d) Varnish (optional) Some Art terminology Abstract – art in which natural forms are not rendered in a naturalistic or representational way, but instead are simplified or distorted to some extent. Abstract expressionism – Late 40’s and 50’s, to represent emotional content. Also called action painting (Jackson Pollock) Expressionism – stresses the artist’s emotional and psychological expression, often with bold colors and distortions of form. (Ernst Kirchner.) Impressionism – late 19th century, artists tried to capture the fleeting effects – or impressions – of light, shade, and color on natural form. (Claude Monet) Types of decorative papers • Lokta also called Lami Lai, or Nepalese hand dyed. This paper is made in the Himalayan region of Nepal for over 1200 years. Lokta papers are made from the fiber of the Daphne plant and harvested without killing the plant at ground level creating a renewable source for raw material. The Lokta fiber is closely related to the Japanese mitsumata and has a similar texture. • Tamarind (from Thailand) tissue-like with petal inclusions. Comes in many colors. • Thai Natural: thicker but pliable when wet, various colors, has very rich texture. • Banana leaf: has lots of little pieces of fiber. • Thai Unryu: very thin, good to use on top of another color to add dimension. Almost transparent. • Mango leaf: the leaf inclusions make the paper very interesting. • There are hundreds of types of exotic papers! • You can also create your own paper design, by painting on plain white paper and running a comb pattern through the paint. Or, try stamping designs on the paper using any fun shape. Old artwork can be torn up and used on you collage. Places to find exotic art papers • University Art…San Jose and Palo Alto • Pearl Arts and Crafts…San Francisco • Flax Arts…San Francisco • Soko Hardware…San Francisco • Lenz Arts…Santa Cruz • • • • • • Paper Source (Santana Row) • There’s also a store that sells some papers in Cupertino Crossroads shopping center, on Stevens Creek Do a google search for “decorative art papers” or “hand-made papers’ and see what you can find! Lori Krein………. 408-335-9101……… D:DataFilesA LoriStuffartclasseshandoutsoutline 3 combined.doc
  7. 7. I recommend purchasing a “sampler pack” of paper (when buying online) to get a better idea about how the papers look and feel. If you are planning to purchase lots of papers, this is worth the extra few bucks. Not all on-line places sell them, though. Thrift Stores and other places to get used stuff cheap • Savers (San Jose, San Carlos/Stevens Creek) • Goodwill • Salvation Army • SCRAP (San Francisco….AWESOME for getting lots of misc stuff really cheap) • RAFT (Resource Area for Teaching in San Jose) • FABMO (monthly free fabric and wallpaper distribution…look them up on google) Enhancing Your Creativity Here are some tips and tricks for keeping your creative mind sharp. Journaling is a good way to work through new ideas or express your frustration with your creative process! You can use one of your own creations or someone else's when doing these journaling prompts: : • Observe a piece of artwork. Place a piece of art (or a copy of one) in front of you. Close your eyes. Open them...what catches your eye first? Where does your eye go next? Write down everything you observe. • Study the colors used in a piece of art. Which colors are dominant? How do these colors make you feel? Which colors are you typically drawn to? • Look at the sizes of the elements in a piece of art. Do they have enough space around them? Imagine removing one element to see what that does to the composition. • Write down what you were trying to say though one of your own creations, or make up a story about a piece of art that you admire. • Look at a piece of art that you don't like, or one that you created that you are not happy with. Write why you don't think this piece was successful and what you might have done to make it better. • Open your dictionary to a random page, choose a word and write about how it makes you feel. Do you get any visual images from reading the word? Could you use this as inspiration for a new collage? • Write about a dream you have had recently. Would this dream be a good inspiration for a collage? • Choose a favorite object you have around the house or from your collection of materials, and write about it. If you were to use this object in a collage, what might the story be about? Why are you drawn to this element? • Pick out five piece from your collage collection, at random. Spread them out and write about them. Could they be used together in a collage? Is there a story that connect these pieces together? Lori Krein………. 408-335-9101……… D:DataFilesA LoriStuffartclasseshandoutsoutline 3 combined.doc