I work with kids, and have tried many craft and art projects with them. Collage is a generally popular art project, however, I noticed quickly that I approached it in a completely different way. The kids I work with were significantly more creative than I was. They made abstract pictures using words and overlapping pictures. I love their creativity. I have a more direct mind, not nearly as creative. I used cut out colors, textures, and designs to make pictures (e.g. the lion and turtle in the pictures above). However, I refined it in time to making portaits of family and friends.
Note: I worked at this portrait from a picture of some friends. If they approve it, I will include the picture, but I did not include it yet.
Step 1: Prepping for the Project
I didnt' take a picture for this step. However, before starting to make the picture, I gather at least a dozen magazines. I flip through the pages and look for colors that match skin tones, clothings colors, or background colors. Anything and everything that I thought might work, I ripped out (I didn't use all of them, and eventually I had numerous manila envelopes with different skins tones or background colors). I put all of the pictures that match even loosely into a single manila envelope. I also grab a smaller white envelope, that I used during the process. Whenever I took a picture out of the manila envelope to use on the project, I put the left over pieces into the white envelope for ready use.
Step 2: Outline and Base Colors
Once I prepped the project, I drew a loose outline of the subject matter. I found that it was a lot less frustration in the process to have guide lines. Note: the lines don't have to be perfect, and collage is a VERY forgiving art--you can always glue over each piece with another piece.
Once I outline the subject, I lay down a base layer. I cut out pieces of color from the magazine clippings that match the general shape of the outline and glued it in with a glue stick (don't use elmers, it can wrinkle the paper). In the picture, I found that his skin was more reddish underneath than hers. So his skin has a more red undertone. Don't worry about shading and color variation at this point. This is only a base layer and will be covered significantly (if not completely) by later clippings.
Step 3: Dark Undertones
I then laid the darkest undertones in place. This included the shadows, hair, and darker areas of skin. I continue to cut out clipping in the shape of the color variations and skin tones in the picture, overlapping each piece.
Step 4: Work Lighter on Lighter
I then laid lighter patches over the darker ones, layer by layer, trying to match up the correct skin tones for each area. Note: I've only been working on the actual skin of the subject matter, no clothes and no background. It is easy to fix areas where the lines are not perfect by overlaying the background on top.
Step 5: Continue...
Continue to lay down lightening layers of shadows and skin tones. ALWAYS cut the pieces to flow in the direction the skin flows. Direction should match to give perspective and flowing motion.
Step 6: Continue to Lay Layers
Continue to build on the base layer-darker to lighter. At this point you may have to add smaller dark section over the light for accent and ease.
Step 7: Create Variation
I included these pictures to see the variation in skin tone and lighting. I decided at this point to create her shirt through negative space instead of actually putting any clipping down for it.
Step 8: Background
For the background I found a series of ads in a magazine with a beautiful golden fade out. It matched the picture well and create the effect I was hoping to create (slight halo effect).
Step 9: Clothing
At this point I started to work on the clothing. (Yes, I forgot about his hand until the end). I picked various shades of textured greys and tried to recreated the direction and flow of his cap. It was the same process as the faces, i.e. i laid down an undercolor to cover the whole surface, then applied the darkest layers, the applied ever lightening clippings.
Step 10: Clothing Continued
For his shirt, I wanted it very simple and only suggestive of direction and flow. I put down a big dark section with on a lighter section for the reflection off the shoulder.
Step 11: Finishing Touches
So I realized at this point that I had neglected to do his hand, so I went back through and repeated the processes. I laid down the darks, then ever lightening layers on top. Once everything was done to my taste, I lightly sprayed a spray adhesive to add permanence, and signed the picture. It was eventually put behind glass in a frame, but I haven't got a picture of it yet.