Only 5 days until my Blogversary! I started this blog on Sept. 18 last year and I am amazed at the way it has changed my life. Not only has it been incredible to be able to "journal" my journey into making my own art for the first time in many, many years it has given me so many extraordinary and unexpected perks! I have made hundreds of friends all around the world that have brought more to me and my life and this experience of making art than I could have ever imagined. So, thank you blog friends, new and old, for sharing this last year with me! Post a comment on this post and you will be entered to win this original collage or another prize! I'll be drawing names on the 20th! Look for other goodies throughout the week but you only need to comment this post!
copyright by Marsha Jorgensen 9/13/09. All rights reserved. You may NOT copy, print, download or use this image in any way without my permission.
This is a 5 x 7 collage using a face from keeperofthenest.etsy.com, a body from flickr's Suzee Que, and wings from greatmusings.com that were digitally place over a scan of vintage paper. The clouds, crown, moon, and stars were created and cut from either my own vintage paper or scans of my vintage paper. The background was made by merging a sky purchased with a commerical license from designer Nicole Young with text from designer Jen Ulasiewicz. The border was made with pieces from Crowabout.etsy.com digitally altered with text from designer Jen Ulasiewicz also.
Warning! Busy week ahead - something scheduled every single day and night. The school year and soccer season have definitely arrived!
I've had several people ask me about the way I work again the last couple of weeks and I am way behind in answering those emails. So, if you're a frequent visitor you can skip this part! Thought it easier to type it all once and direct people here instead of writing 6 or 7 separate emails. Well, most of you that have asked are just arriving to the mixed media world and congratulations! You will undoubtedly have a blast! I graduated with a BFA in graphic design nearly 20 years ago and after many jobs in the art world and teaching elementary art, I have to say I have had more fun in the last year than all those years combined. I arrived to this medium not long ago myself - almost exactly a year now. I had never worked in collage or mixed media in this respect. I don't mean to be ornary, but I haven't shared parts of my process with anyone yet, so you might find these points a bit disappointing. I am still perfecting things I do and what things I use to do what I do - maybe someday I'll feel ready to share. I am not an expert, don't teach classes or write articles either - I just explore how to get what's in my head onto paper. So here are my best unsecret tips and suggestions . . .
- When I started out with this art form I also entered blogland for the first time. I was far too shy to ask anyone how they did things so I bought a lot of books and magazines, spent thousands, and I do mean thousands, of hours on the internet looking at what other people made and how they did it if they happened to be sharing. Now I am rather thankful I didn't ask - I would never have discovered my style or my weird way of working had I not done the exploration myself. The failures or processes that didn't work led me to the ones that did. I truly believe experimentation takes you to places you will never find if you try to follow someone else's step by step.
- If you look below my artwork, no matter where you see it (here, flickr, etsy, etc.) you can always find exactly where I get my images. Next to making art, I spend more time looking for images than anything else. There are lots of places to find free images too - flickr groups like this one http://www.flickr.com/groups/collageimages/, the library of congress (just be sure to check copyright restrictions in the picture's bibliography, and sites like The Graphics Fairy. Check people's sidebars in their blogs and you will find lots of places for images.
- If you buy images be sure to check and see if you need a commercial license or other permission to use images you are buying that you intend to use in your artwork for sale. Some scrapbook sites do not allow you to profit from their images in any way. Some simply require you get permission and many require that you pay extra licensing fees.
- If it were me, I would not invest in any images you see that are from contemporary pop culture/movies/TV shows. Anything produced after 1923 is probably still copyright protected. I've been seeing lots of collage sheets with Twilight and Alice in Wonderland images from the new movie, for instance, and these images are not legal to use. For a great nutshell of fair use guidelines, you can check out this website Ask Harriete.
- I use Microsoft Publisher as a sketchbook for my work. Occassionally I will take pieces to Gimp or Photoshop (which I barely know how to use) to alter them digitally if needed - usually do this to layer images. I lay out my ideas in Publisher to get an idea for size and to pull all the elements together. Then I separate all of the images again and print my own collage sheet of sorts that I cut with scissors to construct the piece. It is not unusual for me to be gluing 10-15 pieces together to form a character.
- I use Quickie Glue pinpoint roller pen to glue my pieces. It might not stand up to a hurricane but it is the easiest for me to use without getting glue smears everywhere. I recheck all of my edges just before shipping in case something pops up, but this glue holds pretty tight. I know I can't take my pieces a part with destroying them! (And I know that from trying to fix and rework things)
- I don't seal my work. Since I use Pan Pastels and inks that don't smear, I don't really need to seal it.
- I work to a mat size. Well, actually I work to the opening in a standard mat. I have found that people really appreciate it when you work in standard sizes so that it doesn't cost a fortune to frame.
- I used to use liquid watercolor to make my own backgrounds but I have since started using almost all digitally created backgrounds. They are easier to maniuplate and use in different ways, faster to make and lot less messier. However, I do find myself very impressed by other people's acrylic and watercolor backgrounds so I'm not saying never. I may revisit this way or working again soon. I am finding my own way through Gimp and Photoshop and it's taking forever but I make out okay to do what I am ready to do. It's all about the process and perfecting and learning more for me.