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Friday, January 21, 2011

The Art of Collage (Designing the Page)

Imaginary Trips' Parisian Cafe Collage

Hi, there! I'm Laure Ferlita. I'm so excited to be one of the artists in Kate's book. (Thanks, Kate!) I host Imaginary Trips, and we often work on collaging bits and pieces of art into a cohesive whole. Designing a collage page can be a fun way of combining several quick vignettes from a holiday/vacation, a walk around the neighborhood or simply different days of the week.

Even on Imaginary Trips, you don't always get a great seat at the cafe or perhaps your view is blocked. Other times, you may be moving so quickly that all you have time for is to snap a picture and promise yourself you'll paint it later. You arrive home to open all your images only to find that what you thought was going to be a super shot didn't translate into such a great photo after all.

It's quite fun as well as a challenge to weave unrelated elements together to tell a new story! By using brief moments wisely and/or utilizing the "good" parts of photo images from a holiday, we can often come up with an interesting journaled page. It may only have meaning to us, or it may be entertaining for the viewer, depending on our goal for the page.

The image above is a collaged page that combines elements from 4 images in and around Paris. Together, they appear to tell a "story" of a bored bistro waiter and a cat near a Metro sign when in fact the waiter was very busy, the cat was no where to be found and the bistro sign was on the other side of the city!

Some of the guidelines I use to create a collage page:

  • Use like colors even if they are not in the actual place or image you’re adding to your journal. In the example, the colors repeat in the red signs as well as the waiter and sign post. The cat and the wall are similar in color too.
  • Ff you’re working from photos, remember, this is your artistic journal you’re working in—it doesn’t have to look like the photo! Interpret the image as you remember it!
  • Repeat similar shapes where possible. The rectangle of the Metro sign and Bistro sign echo each other. The long pole of the Metro sign and length of the waiter repeat each other.
  • Keep the time of day consistent (day or night). The greens of the trees in the background of the Metro sign give you the impression of daylight as does the light around the waiter.
  • Keep strong directional light consistent (cast shadows). 
  • Remember to play and have fun—these are guidelines and not rules!

There are several ways to approach a collaged journal page. You can wait until you're home from vacation and pull bits and parts from various photos, you can start a page and let it develop on its own as you travel around, or create a "theme" for the page. Look for unusual signage, people wearing hats, animals you see, flowers, birds, windows, etc. The ideas are endless!

I hope this will inspire you to try your hand at building a few collaged journal pages! For more tips, please download a pdf on collaging here.


  1. Absolutely brilliant, Laure, thank you! I was hoping you'd chime in...

  2. Thanks for this info.. I have always loved those collage painted pages and wondered how everyone did them so well. I will have to try this now.

  3. The PDF is terrific too, Laure...again, thank you.

  4. WOW! i love this Laure!! I love the red and black!....so Parisian!

  5. Thanks, Laure. Appreciate the explanation of the process involved in creating your page. Pretty terrific work. Love the colors you chose.

  6. Collaged pages are so much to do and the themes you can use to create them are endless. I often just allow my pages to develop by themselves unless I'm traveling, in which case I have a theme already.

    I look forward to seeing the fun pages you all create!

  7. Travel DOES kind of offer (impose?) its own theme, doesn't it...

    I was fascinated by your method here, Laure!

  8. Thanks for the great tips Laure. I'm looking forward to trying them out. :-)


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