Collage with Photos and Textures

Assemble a resource file of full-page magazine reproductions on a theme of your choice to use in a collaged image. It could be nature scenes or urban situations or be centered around the idea of a family portrait. Do not worry too much about how you will fit everything together perfectly; changes of scale and color from photo to photo will add to the image's character. Begin to cut up the photos into usable fragments; select and arrange them on a large piece of heavy drawing paper.


You can manufacture your own collage elements by using gouache or watercolor to make colored paper. Swatches of patterned cloth or printed textures such as wood-grained contact paper are also useful. In addition to filling out the subject matter of your scene, try to visually integrate to the variety of textures with each other, creating interlocked patterns or rhythms of color and different types of material across the surface of your collage.


Begin to glue the arrangement  into place. When the glue is dry, make connections between the fragments using drawing, filling in missing pieces, adding details or new elements, and shading or making changes of emphasis. It will help to unify the peace and give it a sense of wholeness if you finally draw and paint over the surface to clarify the composition and emphasize structures that help to establish point of view. About 50% of the surface should be drawing (which may include areas drawn over the collaged areas).


Romare Bearden used the fragmentary character of collage to give a loose rhythm and sense of lurching energy to his The Prevalence of Ritual: Baptism.


Minimally adapted from Drawing: Structure and Vision, by Drury and Stryker