Friday, 17 June 2011

Tools and Materials - Collage

I started with coloured papers torn from magazines then used a black marker to outline and strenghten some areas. I worked over an A4 print of my original line drawing as I wanted to concentrate on the technique rather than the layout of the picture but I would have preferred to work at A3 and reduce the finished picture. It is suprising how much torn paper you need to colour what appears to be quite a small area. This was done in quite a rough fashion. If I had taken longer I could have experimented with using torn pieces of different sizes and tones to create depth, shading and texture

The finished picture is much better than I would have expected, I would even venture to say that I'm quite pleased with it!

Then I tried using fabric (the original was a bit small for found objects) I cut the houses out so that I could experiment with different skies. It  was technically difficult  to cut the material to the right shape to keep to the original layout and this may be easier and work better with an image that is evolving rather that trying to copy an existing layout. The silver foil road is too bright when scanned and I would like to make more use of an outline marker but didn't think it would work consistently on the fabric edges, maybe I should overlay film and draw on that ( a printout of the picture looses all the brightness and depth, may work better with high quality printing)
 The blue sky is a plastic bag with a sheet of white paper in it
I'm not sure about a flowery sky.
 Using blue plastic folder as the sky and with overlaid film that I drew black lines on. Not convinced that this made any improvement I like the first torn paper collage best.
For a different image I used my Workshop study

and tried to add collage
I tried to experiment by using found objects with my collage. not sure that it worked but it was fun trying

collage illustration

Picasso - Still Life with Chair Caning

I remember as a child being fascinated by a collage illustration on a biscuit tin. Bits of fabric had obviously been stuck on to create the clothes of the figure and although it became a flat image on a tin you could almost feel the texture of the material.
Although collage techniques have been around since the invention of paper, and were popular with the Victorians for their scrapbooks and photo albums the technique is generally considered to have taken off at the beginning of the 20th century when it was used by artists such as Picasso and Georges Braque.

When I googled collage illustration the work of Eric Carle came up. His method is to create coloured papers then cut them into shapes to stick down. The pictures he produces are vividly coloured and by making his own coloured papers he controls the images almost as much as a watercolour artist. The pictures he creates are childlike simplified images which are appealing and accessable to young children but for me lack texture.

My internet search lead me to Ed Young who works in pastel as well as collage. He produced collage illustration using new materials for a childrens book about a cat. The original artwork went missing so he made a whole new set of pictures (respect to him I think I would have given up). These pictures used found items including leaves bark and even fluff plus textures from photographs and scans that he has made.
An example is below:

                 :Interior illustration of Wabi Sabi the cat is cut paper -- a color Xerox, actually, that Ed Young made of an iron portable stove.

He works by making thumbnail sketches then playing around with the collage materials to create an image which is dynamic and interesting. In this example the underlying strength of his observations makes the whole figure work for me, I feel the cat could walk away at any moment.

Lauren Child also uses collaged fabric to create childrens book illustration. I'm not sure whether this counts as collage or mixed media. It's hard to find information online about her techniques but the collage appears more 2-dimensional than the work of Ed Young and I suspect that she scans the fabric and the creates her image either from the scan or from paper printouts of the scan allong the lines of Eric Carle's technique. I think I like her style better than Carle's because although she can choose her fabrics, she is working with found materials which aren't completely in her control

Collage effect is not just used in illustrations for children, the cover of the Beatles Sergeant Pepper album was created by the illustrator Peter Blake and Jann Haworth, an American pop artist. The picture was produced by assembling life size pictures of the figures then photographing them again. The cover was hugely influential, every school art student made montages of cutouts from magazines and Monty Python started using collage stop motion animation around this time.

I prefer pictures that use coloured paper and found objects to create a completely new image which is figurative such as this amazing picture by Sam Price ok he's not an illustrator but it's such a lovely example I couldn't resist it

or this illustration by Anastassia Elias beautifully restrained but full of character. The background looks like wallpaper and the collaged papers have been torn or roughly cut to fit. The source material appears to be plain paper and maybe scanned fabric, the shorts/boxers of the figure on the right look like they could be from a map. I wonder whether she drew the figures first or started with the collage. The layout and subject matter make it an illustration rather than the sort of picture you would expect to have framed on the wall.

I suppose there are 3 basic types of collage;
  • Found objects
  • Recycled pictures
  • Using coloured papers generated by the artist
Or a combination of all 3 (with or without other media to create mixed media images)