I love creating illustrations in cut paper collage; this past summer, I made a self portrait using hand-painted papers that’s my social media avatar. So, when Shutterfly approached me about their customized holiday cards, I instantly thought about making a collage for the cover.
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:
Yesterday, I raved about the cut-paper creations of Ultralazer, an artistic duo that utilizes the medium to produce flattened castles and landscapes. Timrose is another creative working with the same type of bold shapes in stylized ways—but instead of paper, it’s pieces of leather. The material—clad in pink, silver, and textured greens—forms tropical leaves that are stitched over the flap of the structured bags.
Sleek and stylish, the accessories are part of Timrose’s collection called Road To Hana. It was made in collaboration with jewelry design Fruzsi Petró and inspired by collages and outsider art—seeing them, I can’t help but be reminded of Henri Rousseau‘s paintings.
They illustrative bags are currently available through Timrose’s online shop.
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.
Alice Lindstrom creates cut-paper collages that are packed with luscious colors and textures. (I can’t help but be reminded of Eric Carle’s work.) One of my favorite of her series is The Pushpin Ladies, which is inspired by her love for “Modern art movements and vintage fabric and fashion design.”
The project started when I was browsing in a local vintage boutique named Pushpin Boutique and was struck by the overlap between the dresses displayed in the store and modern art movements. I decided to take the design of an existing dress from the boutique and match the design to a world inspired by a famous painting. The finished collages were then displayed at the boutique, beside the dresses that had originally inspired them.