Or even less! That’s just one of the reasons I think collage is a great way to include art making in your life. Another reason collage is so wonderful—you can make a beautiful piece of art and not be able to draw a stick figure. There’s a lot of us in that category!
Collage is an intuitive process. The best way to keep it intuitive is a method I learned from a wonderful lady, Linda Maree. Linda’s a collage and writing mentor for so many of us in this area. According to Linda, and after doing it, I agree with her, the best method is to go through the magazines quickly and tear out anything that catches your eye. Don’t try to figure out why. Just keep turning those pages.
Before I met Linda, I would sit and stare at an image, wondering if I wanted to use it or not, read the caption—sometimes I’d read the whole story connected with the picture. Doing that takes you away from an intuitive process into an intellectual one. Staying intuitive is the best way to let what’s inside your heart come out. Staying in the intellect will result in a process that’s about your mind, not your heart, not your soul.
People make art for many valid reasons. I am advocating doing collage in an intuitive manner to help with healing wounds of the soul.
In collage you don’t have to decide what to paint, draw, or sculpt. You simply choose images that present themselves as you flip through magazines. The results can be amazing—so perceptive, so revealing, so true.
Intuitive collage is another way to bypass the inner critics we all have to contend with. Intellectual collage, in which you try to control the process—so you can make something beautiful, so you can make a collage about some certain thing, so you can keep the pain in your soul in your soul and not let it out, so you don’t have to know about it, look at it, deal with it, or feel it—does not heal the soul.
Back to the three dollar part. To do collage, you need images, adhesive, scissors, and paper to attach your images to. Most people have scissors, but if you don’t, you can buy them at the dollar store. You can also buy glue sticks there, but if you don’t want to, school glue works, although your images will not lay flat like images attached with glue sticks. The wetter the adhesive, the more warping of the page. A composition book can be used for collage, but you will need to glue two or even three pages together to make the paper strong enough to hold up to the mixed-media process. Mixed-media is the more popular term for collage these days. It also includes many other art forms.
If you have old magazines you’re willing to cut up, you’re ready to collage! You can also get magazines from friends and family. Many people are relieved to get rid of them! Another good source for free and very cheap magazines is the library. I’ve bought many copies of National Geographic for ten cents each. Some thrift stores sell magazines. You don’t need a lot of magazines to begin with.
Another source of interesting images is stuff around your house. The label on the box of tea. The wrapper on the soap. Tags from new clothes. Wrapping paper and junk mail. Catalogues. Old newspapers. Another use for newspapers and catalogues is to put your chosen image upside- down on, and then apply the glue stick, pushing it out a little past the borders of the image. This is the best way I’ve found to apply adhesive of any kind to an image. My friend, Valeria, taught me that. Thank you, Valeria!
So, for three dollars or less you can jump in and make collage! I think it’s an exciting adventure. I’ve been making collage for fifteen years and still love it. Each collage I make is a new experience and a new revelation.
It isn’t necessary, but if you want to spend more, the first thing I would recommend is a mixed-media notebook. These can be found at art supply stores and chain stores, such as Michaels and Hobby Lobby. Do not get a sketch book, even though sketch books cost less. The paper in a sketch book is too light weight to withstand having layers glued on it. Mixed-media and water color paper can stand up to just about anything!
I use UHU glue sticks. They are generally considered to be the best glue sticks available for paper arts. I don’t know why, but they aren’t available in craft stores, art stores, or big box office supply stores. Don’t order them from Amazon. They are charging about five dollars per glue stick. The only places to find UHU glue sticks, at least around here, are local office supply stores. They sell from one to two dollars, depending on size. They really are the best.
The last thing I would recommend is a brayer made of hard rubber. A brayer is a roller with a handle. It has so many uses in art. For collage, I use the brayer over every image as I apply it to my collage and to the collage itself, as I get near the end. A brayer spreads the glue under the image more evenly and makes the whole collage lay flatter. I love my brayer! If you get adhesive on your brayer, you can wash it with soap and water, since it’s hard rubber with a plastic or metal handle.
Collage is inexpensive, accessible, you don’t need lessons, you don’t need to be able to draw a straight line, a stick man, or a daisy. Collage is an intuitive, soul-searching, soul-healing art form.
I hope you try it!!