I’ve taken a short break from my dessert-inspired collages to return to one of my favorite subjects, animals. This time I thought I’d tackle something I’ve never collaged before, a cheetah. I enjoyed working on the patterned background, as well as cutting out all the intricate shapes for the cheetah’s spots and whiskers.
After completing this piece, I realized that there’s a pattern with the color palettes I use. A lot of my animal pieces use oranges and greens. I suppose I’m drawn to the color green when it comes to the background for my compositions. And I’m looking forward to experimenting with something a little new for my next pieces.
Sketchbooks are a great tool for artists to practice their craft. You can think of sketching as creating a rough draft of a work of art. Sketchbooks often hold a collection of sketches or ideas for new work.
Here are a few reasons why artists keep sketchbooks:
Sketchbooks can be used to master the art of drawing something specific, like the figure.
2. Exploring Ideas
Before committing an idea to canvas, or whatever the materials are that the artist is using, the idea can be explored with a series of sketches. That way the artist can determine beforehand what the piece might look so she or he won’t waste materials.
3. Troubleshooting Layout Issues
If the composition for a work in progress isn’t quite working out, sketching can help figure out possible solutions to the composition’s layout.
They can be used like a visual journal where an artist can sketch out his or her thoughts on a daily basis (or however frequent is necessary).
Through the sheer force of practice, if an artist forces his or her self to frequently sketch or do different exercises in a sketchbook, even when feeling uninspired, it can help spark inspiration.
6. Works of Art
Other times it’s simply an easy way to store polished works of art.
If you’ve used a sketchbook for some other creative reason, feel free to share about it in the comments below.
If you want to start exhibiting or selling your artwork, it’s important that you build out a portfolio so people can sample the work you’ve done, or see the work you’re capable of doing. Review the artwork you’ve made thus far, and select the strongest pieces. How do they compare when they’re grouped together? See if you can meet these requirements to ensure that you have a good portfolio:
Is there enough variation?
Do they show that you have range?
Are they consistent?
Is each piece memorable in its own way?
Do you have at least 10 pieces?
If you weren’t able to meet all the requirements, or if there were any pieces you weren’t thrilled with, you can make more art so you can fill in any of the gaps. Your portfolio should be a body of work that you’re proud of, so you should replace anything that you’re not crazy about with newer, better art.
If you’re compiling a portfolio to apply for an exhibit:
Make sure the artwork speaks to the gallery – meaning do the research on what they’ve exhibited previously, and if your art looks like something they’d show there.
Make sure it fits the requirements.
Organize the art in such a way that it flows nicely – that each piece can call attention to itself and that there’s a good balance of color.
Have someone look over the portfolio and provide feedback. Often times it’s easy to stare too long at our work and get to a point where it’s difficult to curate or edit the pieces.
Provide supplementary information with your portfolio, like an artist bio, artist statement, resume, and any good articles that have been written about your work.
When it comes to pulling together a portfolio when you want to sell your artwork, you’ll want to use it to mainly market your work:
Make sure the portfolio has a good sample of the work you want to sell
Have someone take a look at the art you selected and provide feedback. Does the work make them want to see more?
Come up with a strategy for how you’d like to market your art from your portfolio. How will you share the images?
Have an online store where you can direct users to.
As an artist, you’re never done building your portfolio. You will constantly review the new work you’ve made and update your portfolio when needed to keep it current.
Back when I was a senior in college, I created my first cohesive body of collage work where I made collages entirely from magazine strips. My senior thesis exhibition included a series of portraits, with several inspired by my family. At that time, I wasn’t interested in making portraits of famous or well-known figures, but figures that were well-known to me.
The image above is a collage, “Bill,” that was inspired by my father. I had taken a series of photographs of him and ended up working from a few reference images in order to complete his portrait. I wanted to make a portrait of my father because I’ve really appreciated how he’s influenced my interest in art. When I was a kid, I remember that he used to paint landscapes and still life scenes when we went on vacation. And over the years, he’s been an avid photographer.
“Jean” is a portrait of my mother that was also part of my senior thesis exhibit. I remember that my mother’s portrait was a bit of a challenge because of all the details involved with the background – the windows, the bookshelf, the faint hint of color variation for the blinds, and of course, the detail of her shirt. Over the years, she’s worn many hats, one of which I’d like to think of as her counselor hat, being helpful in giving me advice in life. She seems a bit serious in this portrait, almost as though she’s about to impart some advice.
“Bren” is a portrait of my brother. I’m realizing that he’s appeared in several of my figurative collages over the years. What can I say? My brother has always had a tendency of being great at making expressive faces. He is also pretty artistic, and growing up, I was inspired by the artwork he made. He studied animation back in college, and currently works as an animator/3d artist.
“Ali” is a portrait of my cousin, who I like to say seems more like a sister to me than a cousin, simply because we spent so much time together when we were growing up. Like my brother, I feel like she can be pretty expressive, and she’s appeared in a couple of my portraits.
“Scott” is a portrait of my cousin who passed away back when I was in high school. When I was in college, I really wanted to create a work of art in memory of him. I remember that I struggled with this portrait, since I really wanted to make sure I could capture his likeness. This portrait was also part of my senior thesis exhibition.
After college, I started exploring different ways of tackling portraiture. “Boy with Dog” was one of my first pieces that looked at portraiture involving a person and a pet. This piece was also inspired by one of my younger cousins, Drew.
Later, I started creating images where figures were interacting more with their surroundings. “Sightseers” is a piece that was inspired by my mother and brother when we were on the rooftop of a building in New York City, admiring the view.
For several years, my family went to West Virginia for Thanksgiving. We’d rent a cabin, and it usually snowed at some point during our stay. “The Hikers” is inspired by the walks I’d occasionally take with my family in the snow. For this piece, I explored using more abstract shapes, as well as fragments from photographs of nature.
Growing up, my family spent a few summers in Maine. Sometimes my brother and I would go snorkeling in the ocean, and since the water was always so cold, we’d wear wetsuits. “Snorkeling” was inspired by those summers spent snorkeling and exploring tide pools.
I have my family to thank for inspiring a lot of my earlier portraiture work. I actually haven’t explored figurative collages in a while, and I suppose you could say I’m well overdue for that. Perhaps I should turn to my family and friends again, and see how they can help inspire future works of art.
Over the years, artists can accumulate a lot of artwork. We make art when we take classes, experiment with different mediums, and create different bodies of work for a series or exhibit. And an artist might want to find ways to get rid of that older work since it can show visual inconsistencies with her or his inventory.
So if you’re an artist looking to get rid of older work, here are a few ideas of things you can do:
1. Sell it Online
Create a separate site or section of your site to market and sell your older artwork (especially if the style varies greatly from your current style).
2. Donate it
Donate your work to a charity art auction. If you’ve grown tired of your older pieces, and have no desire to market and sell them anymore, why not give them to an organization that can benefit from your art?
3. Run a Giveaway
I think giveaways are an excellent way to declutter your studio by removing artwork that is no longer relevant to your visual style or career. It also helps generate some excitement for your fans who follow your work. And people who are truly interested in a piece will enter, which is much better than giving away your work to just anyone.
4. Rework it
Try revisiting your older work to make it better. You can turn one of your older pieces into a newer work of art by working on it again. Who knows, you may even improve it in such a way that you’d want to proudly feature it in your portfolio.
When you’ve gotten tired of your older artwork, or want to clean up your studio a little bit, there are plenty of ways to find a new home for your work. Or if you don’t want to find a new home for it, you can always revisit and rework it.
I’m having a sweet time making all these dessert collages. With this piece, I enjoyed incorporating more texture for the background, cupcake base, and the cherry on top. However, this collage was more of a struggle for me – I felt like I was overworking the surface for the frosting.
If you take a look at the collage in-person, you’ll notice that some parts are built up more with quite a few layers of paper. Whenever there’s more paper layered in a particular area for me, it means that I was struggling with getting a certain section looking the way I wanted it to. Although, that’s making me think that it could be interesting to build up different areas on purpose to see what happens.
I was an art major in college, and part of our curriculum was to take a couple of studio drawing classes. This Indian ink drawing was a piece I completed for one of those courses.
Back in college, still life always seemed to be a bowl of the same plastic fruit that had been in the art department for years. Occasionally other objects were thrown in, although usually I was pretty bored with the subjects we tackled. For this piece, I thought it was pretty unique that we drew from a block arrangement. Using Indian ink made the composition even more interesting, since we had to focus closely on the variations in contrast for the highlights and shadows.
Bosty wanted to get away for the weekend, but didn’t feel like traveling too far away from DC, so he decided to visit Chincoteague in Virginia. Chincoteague Island is in Virginia’s Eastern Shore, and is known for its beaches and wild ponies.
Aside from bird watching by the shore, Bosty also did some strolling along the beach.
And when he grew tired of the sandy beaches, he decided to watch the kayakers before doing some kayaking of his own.
He was only able to see some of the wild ponies from a great distance away, so for all his touristy pictures, he had to pose alongside a horse at one of the local farms.
During Bosty’s last night in Chincoteague, it got really foggy outside. He thought it looked almost like an enchanted storybook when he wandered around the town.
Lemon meringue pie is my favorite type of pie, so I just had to make a collage of it. Getting the texture for the top of the pie was the most challenging part of this piece. I had a lot of fun using different yellows for the filling, and of course creating some abstract shadows on the plate.
I’m really enjoying tackling different desserts for my new still life series. I suppose previously when I tried to approach still life, I often got bored since I kept tackling floral arrangements. When you try to approach different subjects, it can really change things up, and make something that you typical found too ordinary, much more exciting. I’m planning to create a few more pieces for this series before I tackle another type of food for my still life work.
Back when I was in college, I worked on collages made from magazine strips in my free time. I was studying painting at the time, but I still tried to make time for collage. I also often tried to work in collage with my paintings, and this piece is an excellent example of just that.
To make this piece, I used two different canvases. One of them was stretched, while the other wasn’t. I created two paintings on both canvases, and then cut up the canvas that wasn’t stretched and stitched the pieces of the painting onto the stretched canvas. Thus I created a collage of two paintings. The piece was made with acrylic paint, some magazine strips that were adhered to the canvas, and thread.