Collage can clearly be done with any papers: vintage, scrapbook, ledgers, and regular papers. However, to truly make a one of a kind collage, the key is painting your own unique papers.
There are plenty of reasons to create your own papers including:
1) Copyright Issues
As a professional graphic and web designer, copyright is always at the forefront of my mind as I create. I don’t “borrow” photos from other websites and I certainly know better than to think I can use any Google image. I even worry when I use a Pinterest Pin as inspiration sometimes! It never occurred to me to worry about using a stencil, stamp, or scrapbook paper in my art. However, I’ve read some interpretations that claim doing so, and then selling prints of your work, is actually a violation of copyright laws. I’m not a lawyer. I don’t know all the nuances of the law, but I know using original content is absolutely allowed and I can be at ease if my papers are handmade.
2) Developing Your Style
I once attended a class by Mary Beth Shaw where she taught us technique after technique of how to create stamps, mark making tools, and our own papers. She said she didn’t want to use the same instruments as other people so that her artwork was wholly unique. At that early stage in my art career, I was still developing my style. I copied everything during that learning stage and I loved what I made. It wasn’t until much later that her words began to resonate with me. Now that I create my own art, I appreciate using unique papers and marks more.
3) It’s Quick
Do you ever feel daunted by the amount of time it will take to complete a full piece of art? Sometimes when I only have 30 minutes to spare, I don’t want to start something intricate. Making papers doesn’t take a lot of time. It’s experimental, intuitive, pressure-free, fun art. If you don’t like what you made, you can throw it away or continue to layer upon it. You can’t screw it up and you can devote as much or as little time as you want painting papers. Who doesn’t like that?
4) Color Control
I took an amazing class by Elizabeth St. Hilaire last fall. She’s a collage artist I admire greatly. Her technique includes creating an under-layer painting and then collaging atop it. There can be very specific color requirements when you collage realistically. If you have a specific color need and you don’t have it in your stash, you can create it. You don’t have to buy anything new. Even a product hoarder like me appreciates that kind of control.
5) Mixed Media Fun
When you make papers, you can use all the media you have. Normally, you make a stack of papers in a paper making session. You can use all your paints, your pastels, your stencils, your stamps, your mark making tools — even your shoes (for real)! It’s also really fun to include your kids or friends in the process. It’s like art free play for everyone!
Have you ever made your own collage papers? If so, what’s your favorite technique? If not, are you interested in starting? I’ll share some of my favorite techniques tomorrow.