For me, the hardest part of an art project is getting started. (Can I get an "amen!" from all the perfectionists out there?) When doing collage art, I get the most stuck at the beginning, figuring out where to start with the background. After all, the background is what an entire art piece rests on - and while it can't be too plain and uninteresting, it also can't be too busy that the text and images layered on top aren't readable. So how do you choose background papers for a collage? For me, the real answer is "I just choose what feels good!". Which is a supremely unhelpful answer, I know. But if I analyze what makes me feel good, here's what I look for when starting a collage:
Look for backgrounds that will allow you highlight the focus of your piece. For me, the quote is always the focus. If the letters are going to get lost against the background, then the piece as whole won't work.
Look for interesting textures, patterns, and colors. Visual interest is important! I love the richly layered look of collage art, and finding neat background materials that jive together in a pleasing way pretty much rocks my world.
Look in unexpected places for background images. I found this vintage map of New York in my old car that was passed down from my grandma - it had been in the glove box for years. Old dressmaker patterns have beautiful graphic designs, and are transparent enough to allow layers to show through. Vintage books have beautiful illustrations and gorgeous pages of text. Wallpaper samples can be bursting with pattern and texture, ranging from bold to subtle. A printed paper placemat from a kitchsy diner has retro appeal. Keep your eyes open - you really can find great art supplies in places you'd never expect.
One last thought when starting a piece of art...
Trust your gut. Trust that you know what you like. Trust that you know what feels good to you. Trust in the experiment. Trust in your awesome creativity.
To see more of my art (finshed art! Not just backgrounds!) you can visit my Etsy shop.
PS. If you're selling your collage art, choose images that won't get you into trouble! Your own photography, messy painted textures, layered grocery receipts, and vintage book pages all make beautiful backgrounds. If you are using someone else's images (such as scrapbook paper), make sure you're altering it to make it yours. (More on the topic of copyright and fair use in collage art later!)
This week: finding beauty in the peeling paint and graffiti of Los Angeles; hanging out with some of my favorite people and a couple guitars; and serving the community by giving out free coffee on Sunday mornings at Mosaic Hollywood. Oh - and finally getting my green card! (Woohoo!)
How was your week? Have any big plans for the weekend? Nate is out of town at the Sundance Film Festival (lucky!) so I'm kicking it solo for the next couple of days. I see sleeping in, microwave popcorn, How I Met Your Mother marathons in my future.
+ How to take photos in low light with an iPhone.
+ More photography tips: how to make an affordable and easy lightbox
+ I've always been a fan of layered, eclectic interiors, and I love that it's becoming more popular! Read about the art of mixing patterns and mixing styles for a curated interior. Also, I love this house!
+ Chevron rugs make me happy, but rugs can be so expensive. Ikea Hackers has a creative chevron rug DIY that won't break the bank.
+ An oldie but a goodie: 50 things every creative should know.
+ Here are 2 letter combinations that actually count as words in Words with Friends. Woot!
Good morning friends! Nate and I have been busy preparing for my US immigration interview today (eek!), but thankfully I still found time so squeeze in this pretty post with artwork by the talented (and incredibly stylish) artist, illustrator, and designer Jordan Clarke. I absolutely love her vintage rockabilly illustration style, and this series of tarot card designs is pure collage perfection.
+ I love this living room.
+ Holly Becker of Decor8 shares her inspiring design resolutions.
+ Documenting vacations with feet photos. Cute!
+ Lost & Taken is an incredible resource of royalty-free hi-res backgrounds and textures for personal and commercial use - free. (This set of summery textures is my favorite.)
Andrew Saftel on Mae Chevrette's blog yesterday, and I just adore his style. It's no secret that I'm a sucker for layers of texture and color, so really, I was smitten from the start.
[Artwork by Andrew Saftel]Happy Tuesday!
I've seen post after post with headings like "The Top 5 Productivity Tools You Really Should Use" and "Productivity Tools You Can't Live Without or You Might Be Ostracized From Society" (okay, not really), and while most of these posts have some useful resources, I've never come across anything that's ever really made a big difference to how I work.
But seriously...this one has. This is definitely my must-have productivity tool, and it's changed how I organize my life, my blog, my business, and all my to-do's.
Friends, may I introduce you to...WORKFLOWY. Workflowy is so deceptively simple, it's magical. See?
Workflowy helps you organize your tasks into simple, manageable lists. You can create top-level categories, and then create lists within those categories to capture notes, ideas, and to-do's. I have top-level categories to organize big general chunks of my life (like Personal, Blog, Business, and Work) and sub-categories to break down tasks and projects (like To Read, Blog Topic Ideas, and To Watch on Netflix).
The beauty is that I use to collect and organize ideas and to-do's for both my personal life and business - but I can choose to view only what I need to and hide the rest until the appropriate time. For me, this means that I can capture all my random thoughts, ideas, and tasks when they're fresh, but I'm not overwhelmed by everything on my plate - I can choose to focus on a select task and know that all my notes for other projects are easily accessible when it's time to focus on them. And when a task is finished, there's the satisfaction of marking it as completed, and seeing a nice line strike though it as it disappears from your list. Booyeah.
Want a better, more practical (and less romantic) explanation of Workflowy? Check out this brief and simple overview here.
Do you have a productivity tool that you can't live without?
This week: being inspired by simple editorial outfit spreads; appreciating some of the fantastic original art I own (these pieces are by the awesomely talented artist Sarah Feehan); working on my 12 Goals for 2012; and happily coordinating all my electronics (my iPhone matches too!).
Happy weekend! How was your week?
+ When I'm hungry, I get...well, unhappy, to say the least. Do you?
+ Dr. Seuss' 7 social media lessons is wisdom beyond his time.
+ Was Marilyn Monroe fat?
+ Not sure what the deal is with the new Facebook timeline? This will help you get acquainted.
+ Love this sweet and cozy house tour.
+ A photographer took a year-long exposure of Toronto's skyline. This is the gorgeous result.
+ 21 random ways to make 2012 a better year.
[From Pinterest; original source unknown. If you know where this is from, please advise so I can give credit.]
Sometimes, when you're having a challenging week, you just need to hear some truth that's good for your mind, body, and soul.
Happy Wednesday, my dears.