Collage Dialogue

Workshop with Emily Evans. Collage: Dialogue using mixed media and image.

The brief for this project was very straight forward. Set out like a display of instructions. Numbered, lettered and some underlining. Choosing text, sketching some ideas and attempting to produce a mass of collage work in a given space of time.

A short, inspiring presentation by Emily to start with. Some great names come up, I took notes. Emily gave us various works to look at, from hand drawn, to cut and stick, colourful and graphic based. I took some good notes, worthy of keeping for future reference, if collage ever pops up again.

“unknown to a photocopier”

I decided to take a graphic approach. In my opinion, I cannot justify spending money to print out images, which I am to then cut up, which I might not even use. Not knowing what was in store for this workshop, I found it a little unnecessary to just collect a lot of ‘stuff’ that could well not be at all relevant. I have very confident Photoshop skills, I can manipulate images well. So I could easily cut up an image and rotate it if I wanted. Doing things digitally, nothing is set it stone, so I am able to easily adapt and change. I can blend images together, I have the use of filters and effects to create things unknown to a photocopier. Cutting and sticking, be it experimental, is not my way of working. I utilised my skills on Photoshop and took to collage in way I appreciate it more. Below are a collection of some of the work I produced. A few using no text or colour, then adapting them to use text and colour (more explanation in my sketchbook.)

 I did somewhat enjoy these pieces. I like to just float around Photoshop sometimes and make ‘HAPPY MISTAKES’. Sometimes not knowing how you did something can be a good mystery. On the other hand, I felt it quite a mundane job, as trying to find narrative and context in this style of work feels like I’m making Fine Art. Which is not what I do. I want to show my audience a clear narrative, something they can follow, read and easily understand, not confuse them and give them the wrong impression what they are looking at.

Not all is a loss though. It has made me look into whether there are any comic book artists who use collage to create comic artwork. I have come up with some surprisingly good results. I have come across some new artists, and some old. The use of collage in comic books is very different but none the less has the same elements. A use of different materials; pencil, inks, drawing styles, shapes, hidden narratives. From the works of Dave McKean who created, yes created, the covers for The Sandman comic book novel. Here he has an interview describing and explaining his work, which is a great read! Below are a few examples of his work.

Another artist I found who is using a similar collage approach, but much more illustrative, is J.H.Williams. One of my most inspirational artist of all time. Williams can make a comic art page into  masterpiece. With different colour techniques, page layouts and rendering. It feels like collage, but in a very controlled and beautiful way. Here are some examples of Williams’ work.

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