Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Making a Dragon

Some people have asked me how I put my collages together, so I thought I would post a little collage creation photo series. I know I'm always really interested in how other artists work - I like seeing pictures of studios and work in progress. So, hopefully this is somewhat interesting.

STEPS 1 & 2: I always start from a sketch. In the case of this dragon, I had already made the piece once before, so I had a picture to start from. Usually I scan my pencil sketches, size them to whatever size the collage will be, and use that printout. I then trace each shape that will need to be in the collage.

Step 3: I pick out all the paper I will be using in the collage. These here are dragonish papers.

Step 4: I use a thin, mostly wet coat of rubber cement and glue each piece of paper to the traced image.

Here you can see all the papers cemented down onto the tracing paper. There are some strips of paper there as well, which I will be using on one of the layers.

Step 5: I let the cemented paper sit overnight so it doesn't slip around while I am cutting it out. On the back of each piece of paper you can see the shape I traced. I use this as the guide for cutting out the shapes.

Step 6: After the shapes are all cut out, I peel off the tracing paper (since I only used one layer of wet cement, it is only a temporary bond) and remove the excess cement with a rubber cement removing block thing.

Step 7: Assembly. All the shapes are clean and ready to be glued. I assemble the pieces one at a time so I can trim straggly edges and stuff like that. When the basic character/creature is together, it gets pressed under a huge stack of heavy books and old printmaking blocks overnight so that it's firmly together and everything is flat.

Step 8: While the dragon is being flattened, I usually start working on painting the background. This sets overnight as well so I'm sure the paint is dry before I start gluing collages to it.

Step 9: Once the dragon has been suitably pressed, I add the details. Here I'm cutting out spots to go on his back. Usually I'll press the collage again overnight if I add details like this.

Step 10: The little guy is all done. Time to glue him to his background.

Step 11: The piece gets pressed overnight again when I glue the paper to the painted board. Here you can see my pressing system. Lots of ridiculously heavy college books going to good use. Someday I intend to buy a book press or something like that.

And there's a completed dragon. Just needs to be sprayed with an acrylic UV/waterproofing finishing spray, matted and framed. Usually my desk is pretty messy by this point. Especially since I usually have 4-5 pieces in production at one time.

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