Collage making: such a fun process!

Art techniques & tutorials

Dear reader!

I’ve been busy making collages from my own hand painted collage paper lately, and I would love to share my process. It’s so much fun, and so easy!

First: The collage paper

The first thing that I did was making the collage paper. In this phase, I just do something. I get out my paint, markers, brushes, and just paint, with nothing in mind. No composition yet!

The six visual elements

But: while I’m doing it, I keep (my version of) the six visual elements in the back of my mind. These are:

  • Marks & Lines
  • Color
  • Value
  • Shapes & Images
  • Texture
  • Depth.

In the beginning I don’t pay attention to them, but later I start asking myself: is it interesting enough? Then I check all visual elements.


To give an example: this was my collage paper




As you can see, it’s quite a mess.

But I did take a good look at whether it is interesting in terms of the six visual elements:


These are the questions I asked myself:


  • Is there enough variation in color? Within the limits I have set for myself (only two colors, Turquoise and Quinacridone Nickel Azo Gold), I think I have enough variety in color have
  • Is there enough variation in Marks & Lines? Most of them are hidden under the layers. Here I can possibly add more to the final collage
  • Is there sufficient variation in Value? Yes, I used a lot of white and black, which gives a lot of variation in Value
  • Are there enough Shapes & Images.? Yes. I often use the same type of shapes (Circles with a cross, infinity signs, little ‘creatures’). They are sufficiently varied in size and appearance.
  • Is there enough texture? Yes, I have applied enough variation in texture by means of dry-brushing, splattering, and lifting paper/monoprint.
  • Is there enough depth? Yes, I applied many layers of paint on top of each other, both transparent as opaque. Through splashes and monoprint I have enhanced the sense of depth.


But you see: when making the collage paper I did not pay attention to composition. That will happen in the next phase.



In this part of the process,  I look within the collage paper to see if there is an interesting detail somewhere, on which I can continue.

On the left  below you can see the detail I chose.

On the right you can see the final result (on business-card size:)

This is what happened in terms of the six visual elements, when I finished the small painting (from left to right):


  • Color: I haven’t changed much about that. I worked with two colors.
  • Marks & Lines: Not much changed either, I thought it was good enough, more would get messy.
  • Value: I increased the value difference by making the black a bit blacker and the white a bit whiter.
  • Shapes & Images: I made the shapes a bit stronger by adding extra lines
  • Texture: I added extra splashes.
  • Depth: There was already a lot of depth due to the many layers, but by adding a layer of opaque paint I added contrast between transparent and opaque. That also gives depth.



Making the collage paper may have taken me about an hour, but making the small business card sized-collage only took me 5 minutes. Extremely satisfying and fun, and very easy to fit in when you have a busy life.


Do you find this process interesting?

Then consider my course ‘The Joy of Collage Making’. Here you will learn everything about making collage paper, the six visual elements and making compositions.


With love!




PS 1: you couldn’t call it a real collage, because I only stuck on one piece of paper, but it still feels like a collage to me.

PS 2: Check out the online course ‘The Joy of Collage Making’ here.


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