Cityscapes + apertures (collage)

Collage with tissue paper, magazines and newspapers

The Cityscapes + aperture 2-day weekend course will focus on drawing in and around the grade 2 listed building that is our home – Hope Mill.  Full of Victorian old world charm it provides inspiring views of buildings, new and old, from the many windows.  This will be your inspiration for 2 days of collage making.

This taster workshop (18.01.2015) offered a little glimpse of what students would learn on the full 2-day weekend course.

But what did the students think about the workshop?  Comments made by the students shows that

they thoroughly enjoyed the 2-hour taster workshop.  A few are already thinking of signing up for the full 2-day weekend course.

What did the students think?

“Nicely set up, all the easels and materials nicely prepared with friendly welcome and nice  introduction of course.”

“Really good for getting to grips with shapes – also perspective and the variety of materials used is good for people like me that haven’t ventured into this area before.”

“Really fun and interesting.  Good explanation on what to do so it was easy to get started.”

The experience

A mixed ability group of students joined me for this taster workshop.  Everyone was eager to get stuck in so after a brief explanation and overview of what the full 2-day weekend course would be about I started with a brief overview of how to use 2-point perspective when drawing buildings.  Everyone seemed confident and eager to set off to explore the Mill with sketchbook and paper in hand which was great to see.  

I love it when students can’t wait to get involved in drawing and being creative.

After that there was no holding back and the studio soon became a thriving hive of activity with collage papers quickly spreading across the studio as students looked for just the right piece for their collage.  A lot of cutting and gluing continued and the work developed well during the short 2 hours of this taster workshop.

Materials and techniques

This taster workshop introduced students to the work of Manchester artist Caroline Johnson who works with collage in a fairly graphic style.

Using big blocks of colour with simplified colour combinations her style provides a perfect introduction to the art of collage.

After exploring the Mill and finding a suitable subject matter for their collage students returned with their pencil sketches and redrew their sketch on large format paper.  It was then simply a matter of choosing what collage papers to use, cutting them carefully to the correct shape and gluing them down.  

Simplifying a drawing is harder to accomplish than you might think but students managed to keep themselves in check and retain a sense of control in their collage art works.

Collage papers consisted of corrugated card, newspapers, magazines and tissue paper.  Caroline Johnson selects papers from all sources and tends to use them for their tone, colour and shade.  Paper with text or images is used not so much for what it says but for the tone and shade it creates when looked at from a little distance.  This is the art of collage – knowing how to select the right piece of magazine or newspaper cutting that when included in your art work will give the correct effect – suggest brickwork or hint at being a tree or window reflection.

After all the collage papers were glued in place students used black marker pens to add in the details and pull the collage together as a finished art work. Students achieved some truly wonderful results, especially as this was only a taster workshop.

Collage worked on as far as possible during the taster workshop.
Collage worked on as far as possible during the taster workshop.
Collage completed after a little extra work at home directly after the taster workshop.
Collage completed after a little extra work at home directly after the taster workshop.

Time, as usual, just flew by. The full 2-day weekend course will allow students to get fully involved and achieve even more than they did today.  We will explore more collage styles and technique and students will go home from the Cityscapes + apertures courses eager to explore collage further at home. This course has now (June 2017) changed it’s title to Cityscapes: urban sketching techniques and details can be found here.