For those who exercise, you (probably) go through a warm up before you start on your workout. This activity transcends physical activity, however, and extends to mental ones as well. A sketchbook is the perfect place to get ~ready~ to illustrate and try out new techniques. Julie Hamilton does just this with her collage sketchbook. Under the hashtag #sketchbook_studies, she cuts out paper of different colors and shapes, arranging them into various combinations that range from figurative to abstract. In each collage, Julie’s trusty pair of scissors is her paintbrush—just like Matisse—which gives her images a bold, angular appearance.
Artist Celan Bouillet creates “little worlds full of animals, greenery, and adventure.” The colorful, highly-detailed pieces feature places that are everywhere and nowhere. Sloths, giraffes, tropical leaves, and peacocks—all painted at the same scale—occupy the same composition. They are, however, so carefully arranged while together, they never fully interact. This is Celan’s design. “These mixed media pieces are highly detailed and manipulate scale along with pattern to create complex narratives,” she writes.
To produce these pieces is an exercise in meticulousness. Every branch, rock, and animal is painted gouache on paper which is then cut out and placed on a background. Celan’s compositions are so seamless that at times, it’s hard to tell—but her in-progress works on Instagram showcase her beautiful process.
Celan sells her work as large limited edition in her Etsy shop, The Bayou Botanist.
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.”
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:
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.