Tools and materials
• Collection of copyright-
• UHU Tac temporary
or Spray Mount,
or Yes! Paste,
or StudioTac sheets
• Cutting mat
• X-acto knife
• Metal cutting edge
• Paper scissors
The tools and materials used for collage include those used by
ﬁ ne artists and illustrators, as well as those used by crafters and
scrapbookers. And you get to play with un or tho dox materials
that produce stained marks or blanched areas.
On the paper that you plan to use in your collages, experiment
with taking it a step beyond normal; create e ects with bleach,
shoe polish, markers, pastels, colored pencils, color crayons,
inks, and other materials. Develop your own techniques with
unusual surfaces and feel free to trash/destroy/embellish the
di erent pieces.
Collage with Paper
Materials for Collage
You can collect and store a wide range of papers
and other materials for use in collage. I’m always
on the lookout for little scraps and pieces to
use. I cut textures from magazines and look for
unusual papers wherever I go. I buy old music
scores, maps, receipts from antique stores. I
love joss paper from Asian markets. Even the
confetti in the Disneyland parade did not escape
my acquisitive collage-aﬁ cionado notice. I keep
everything organized and labeled in a portable
ﬁ le so I have what I need when inspiration strikes.
You don’t need much to do collage: papers, a
good cutting mat (see page 127), a metal straight
edge, cutting tools, a brush, some glue, and
something to paste everything onto. Most of
all, you need a creative, experimental, and
Obviously, as a collage illustrator,
you don’t want to end up in jail on
copyright infringement charges,
so you must be very careful not
to “borrow” other people’s stuff. If
you are a student working on class
projects, this is not so much of an
issue because you are not publishing
and making money on your student
projects (and you probably aren’t
given a budget for buying photog-
raphy and other art). However, as a
practicing professional, you must
pay for any photographs or other
imagery—unless you find public
domain and copyright-free sources.
Make it a practice to be careful what
you use in your collage illustrations.
As a designer, I have
always loved collage!
It seems so modern,
so direct, and very cool.
I fell in love with Kurt
Schwi ers’ work the
ﬁ rst time I ever saw his
beautiful pieces from
the 1930s. Many of my
favorite illustrators are
collage artists. I love the
textures, torn edges, rough
cuts, ephemera with type
on them, photographs— all
the stuﬀ collage artists use
to create their pieces.
Of course, Photoshop
is a wonderful tool for
It has capabilities that
are not available to the
hands-on artist, such as
transparency eﬀ ects.
is a case to be made
for ge ing out the art
materials and chopping,
tearing, spa ering, gluing,
and painting. The look
can be perfect, gri y, dirty,
messy, tidy, but always
Keep an eye out for
all kinds of paper
And see the appendix
for sources for free and
inexpensive images you
can work with.
Creating papers for collage
You can create many of your own papers by
coloring them yourself. Watercolors and acrylics
are great media for coloring and creating textures
on a variety of papers, as you can see by the
multitude of techniques in this book.
One of the great things about painting your own
patterns on watercolor paper is that you can get
beautiful, white torn edges that provide a lot of
contrast and texture to your illustration.
Experiment with splattering paints, inks, metallic
markers, and opaque paint markers.
Rub charcoal, pastels, colored pencils, or “ Distress
Ink” stamp pads on scraps of paper or textures
you’ve created to make your own special materials.
Be sure to save scraps from all projects! Even little
pieces are very useful to the collage artist. I keep
the little scraps in labeled envelopes.
Robin makes piles.
Carmen creates neatly labeled envelopes.