Collage Materials: Drawings
Updated: Oct 27, 2019
Creating collages is one of my favourite activities because it brings together so many ways of working. First there is the making of the materials themselves, some of which are created specially for a particular collage, others being part of a collection for use when needed.
As someone who loves drawing, I like to build up a collection of different types of drawings that can be torn up. Often they will no longer be identifiable when collaged, and sometimes they may get covered over in due course and hidden, but to me they form part of a rich palimpsest, firmly rooting the work in the experiences that gave rise to them. The drawings are the tangible equivalent of the memories.
Often these drawings are of favourite places where the act of drawing is central to my attempts to internalise my sense of place, so that I can carry it with me for ever. Being able to photograph my drawings makes it less painful if they end up being covered over but sometimes I enhance them on the computer and use the prints.
Charcoal drawings can be fixed by spraying gently with water or fixative, then coating with acrylic gel.
By scratching into the surface of the paper before drawing it is possible to create a web of marks in the underlying colour that shows through. The technique, known as 'Scraffito' can also be used with acrylic paint and with oil pastel, and creates interesting textures to use in collage.
Before creating the collage below I spent many hours drawing in my favourite spot where we have a ring of log seats on the grass under the trees down by the stream. Even though only a few of the drawings were used in the collage, the piece evokes rich memories of creating them in all kinds of weather and seasons.
While some of the drawings I use are quite detailed, others are quick attempts to gather a sense of pattern or rhythm, or to record a specific event. This one recorded a BBQ.
I wanted these drawings to be quirky and light-hearted, to capture the fun of the occasions.
The thick part- dampened water-colour paper that I used makes the shellack ink run in interesting ways and can later be soaked off the back to create a thin skin while retaining the texture.
Integrating these sepia drawings proved more difficult than using the flower and landscape ones had done. When the bolder drawings were first added they were often far too obvious. To soften them I sometimes dissolved the back off the paper to the point that they became semi-transparent.
In due course the drawings got almost obliterated. The Pimms jelly is still just visible, but only just. Two of the boiled eggs got introduced in paint. The work changed a lot in the process but I hope that I captured a certain sense of fun and celebration. At times I have been saddened to lose drawings that I was fond of, but I console myself that they are not really lost, but firmly embedded in the spirit of the piece. Nevertheless I plan to return to attempting ways to integrate such drawings more successfully in future as they give me such pleasure to make.