Art Ideas: Art and Photo Collage

Collage means to take different images and materials such as cloth, pieces of paper, photographs and other objects and layering them on a surface to create artwork. The appeal of collage comes from the ability to use a wide variety of materials and images. Photo collage in particular is a very personal means of expression.

Lesson Plan Suggestion: The term “collage” was coined by the artists Georges Braque and Pablo Picasso in the beginning of the 20th century when collage became part of modernism or the modern art movement. The term collage derives from the French “coller” meaning “glue”. Modern art is generally considered to be the period between the 1860s to the 1970s when artists began to move away from realism and toward a more abstract style of artistic expression, often considered to be in response to changes in Western society during that same time period.

  1. Collage materials can be collected from many sources. Packaging, paper bags, gift wrap, wallpaper, candy wrappers, magazines, old letters, sheet music, maps, pages from old books, fabric, ribbon, and photographs are all examples of materials that can be used to create interesting and one of a kind greeting card templates for My Art Cards.
  2. As you gather your materials, take into consideration the type, weight, appearance and surface texture of each individual component. Texture makes for an interesting card, but try not to make the surface of your artwork uneven.
  3. It might seem a little overwhelming to know where to start with a collage when you have collected a lot of materials for your piece. It can be useful to focus on a particular theme or color pallet to give the collage a sense of order. You can also start with an interesting background paper emphasize a focal point or to tie together your composition.
  4. It can help to pick a focal point for the collage such as a photograph or larger image.
  5. Often it is better to use a photocopy of a photo in a collage rather than the original. To give a photocopy a vintage look with a sepia tone, soak or use a cotton pad to rub the photocopy with a strong solution of coffee or tea. Flatten and let dry completely before using in the collage.
  6. You can fold, cut or tear paper into different shapes. You can use scissors or a craft knife to make different shapes. You can make rough tears on the ends of the paper pieces for a more textured appearance.
  7. You can also cut some images with straight edges and corners to fit the sides and corners of the My Art Card template.
  8. Arrange your collage and start glueing down the layers and elements, starting with the background and working forward, using regular white glue, a glue stick or rubber cement.
  9. Trim any pieces which overlap the edges of the card.
  10. The collage images do not have to reach all the way to the edge of the card. You can leave a border of blank card around the collage arrangment to “frame” your collage.

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