Illustrator Clover Robin is no stranger to Brown Paper Bag. I was first wowed by her last year when I found that she chronicled her travels using collage—while on the road! Since then, I’ve been following her work as she fills her sketchbook pages with more cut paper goodness. Clover writes that she “delights in nature and all things botanical,” and is “inspired by a childhood of woodland walks and countryside rambles.” As such, her illustrations often feature quaint homes and beautiful blooms that utilize a bevy of color and texture. Although they’re abstract, Clover arranges the brush strokes, splatters, and colors to build form. The result is both structured with a sense of spontaneity and freedom—sort of like being outdoors.
While perusing Design*Sponge the other day, I was introduced to the work of Maria Berrio. Immediately, I was struck by her collage style—the intoxicating collision of color and texture paired with alluring figures in curious environments.
Driven by her “native South American influences” as well as living in Brooklyn, New York, she cuts and shreds paper into the large-scale portraits. “I usually find inspiration by going for a really long walk through New York City,” Maria told Annie Werbler on Design*Sponge. “The electricity of this city, the mishmash of cultures and classes, the hoards of interesting people doing interesting things in a dynamic city of filth and shimmering beauty — that is what inspires me.”
For the past week, I’ve continually admired the cut paper illustrations of Irene Servillo. It might come as no surprise—after all, her work is crafted out of collage, my favorite medium. Using cut paper and drawing, Irene creates stylized figures and scenes by employing colorful, eye-pleasing shapes that intermingle throughout the composition.
Do you take a sketchbook with you when you travel? Clover Robin does… and then some—she collages her adventures! The London-based illustrator and pattern designer recently created a bevy of collaged imagery from her roadtrip through the West and Pacific NW of the United States and Canada. Using textured paper and bold shapes, she assembled the giant Redwood trees, the lakes of Oregon, and desert in Nevada. It’s a great way to commemorate her trip, and impressive, too, creating these detailed paper pieces as her vacation was happening.
Clover is also in the midst of creating a floral alphabet!
Illustrator Stephanie Wunderlich composes charming scenes from cut paper. The stylized figures, landscapes, and objects occupy compositions like a Cubist painting, balancing shapes and textures in one eye-pleasing way. Despite their simplicity, Stephanie creates a lot of depth and peppers her work with intricate details—look closely and you’ll see that there are tiny folds in shirts, barrettes in hair, and laces on shoes.
(The above illustration recently appeared in my weekly hello (newsletter)!)
Collage is known best as paper-on-paper creations, but there are infinite possibilities with this technique. Often, the mashup of two disparate elements makes for the most exciting compositions, as is the case with Angie Lewin’s exquisite works. An illustrator, print maker, and pattern designer, she uses pieces of driftwood as the backdrop for her printed nature-themed imagery. Angie is inspired by the Mid-century modern movement, and its crisp lines and strong shapes offer a striking juxtaposition to the soft, uneven textured surface of the wood.
These pieces were originally produced as part of A Natural Line at the Yorkshire Sculpture Park in 2014. But you can bet I’m keeping my eye out for more future works in this vein.
Here are some of Angie’s non-driftwood creations:
If you follow me on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest or Tumblr, you might’ve noticed that I changed my avatar. After years of it being the same cut paper selfie, I finally updated my picture with another collaged portrait. The timing was intentional—I’m headed to ICON9 in a couple of weeks and wanted the image for new business cards.
While working, I recorded video and combined some of the clips into a 4-minute long compilation. It’s not everything I did when make creating this portrait, but it gives you a good idea of my process.
For tools, I use:
- A nice (sharp) pair of scissors. For paper ONLY. Keep those things as pure as the white snow.
- PVA book binding glue. This is permanent and not very forgiving, so once something is down, it’s down. I use a tiny brush to apply.
- X-Acto knife
- Self-healing cutting mat
- For painting on paper (as seen in the first couple of shots), I prime it with Liquitex Matte Medium
As far as paper goes, I gather from a lot of places. Kraft paper, watercolor paintings, construction paper, magazines… it all goes in my giant collection.
If you have any questions about collage or my construction techniques, let me know! I’d be happy to answer them.
Illustrator Molly Costello crafts compelling portraiture from cut paper. The exquisite compositions—powerful in their simplicity—are informed by her years “working on urban youth programming around sustainability and social injustice,” reflecting the themes she encountered during that time: community, struggle, love, and more. “Through my work I focus on ideas of connectedness,” she writes, “connectedness with our whole selves, with each other, our communities, its systems, the natural world, and the energy and divine of our universe at large.”
Molly sells prints of her work on Etsy!
Collage will always be a technique that’s near and dear to my heart, because it’s my chosen way of (art) working. Creating in the same vein is Chia-Chi Yu, a Taipei-based illustrator who uses a myriad of textured papers to create stunning landscapes and feathery friends. I love how the papers are paired, which gives the compositions a sense of structure while also distorting them. The slightly-abstract results are curious and marvelous places—just like the real world.