The Beholder’s Eye

This is an acrylic self portrait that I made back in high school. For the background, I used thick layers of paint and then scraped away at the paint with a palette knife. I painted this portrait a little bit after the first self portrait painting that I made when going through a program at a local gallery.

Self Portrait Drawing from High School

Megan Coyle self portrait she made in high school

This is a graphite self portrait drawing that I did back in high school – I think I was around 16 at the time that I made this. I remember that I had a mentor at a local gallery back then, an artist who gave me feedback on a few of my works of art. This portrait was made during the mentorship program, and the last piece I created during the program was this self portrait painting.

In general, I think that self portraits are really difficult to do. It’s really tough to portray yourself, especially since we have so many assumptions about how we look based on the everyday routine of looking in the mirror. It’s difficult to take a step back and peer at yourself like an outsider in order to create a portrait. As a result, I feel like most of my self portraits don’t entirely capture the way I look, however I do like to refer to them as portraits that are version of myself.

Feeling Blue

Feeling Blue by collage artist Megan Coyle
“Feeling Blue.” Mixed media on paper.
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Here’s another collage that I made back in high school. This was during my phase where I was focussing a lot on figurative art and also liked to draw on top of my work with oil pastel. As you can see here, the figure was drawn almost completely in oil pastel. There was actually cut paper underneath all that drawing. It was during this phase when one of my classmates asked me why I always covered up all my hard work by drawing on top of it. It was at that point that I realized I should try to make works completely from paper – and see how I could accomplish adding shadows and highlights just by manipulating cut pieces of magazine strips.

I Dream on Sunsets with my Head in the Clouds

“I Dream on Sunsets with my Head in the Clouds” is a collage that I completed back in high school. This was back during my phase where I’d draw on top of my collages with oil pastel – which you can see a little bit of here.

This piece is a little more abstract than the other collages I was making at that time. And yet again I find myself getting inspired to make new work as I sift through pieces I’ve made in the past.

M. Ward

M. Ward by collage artist Megan Coyle
“M. Ward.” Collage on paper. 5″x7″
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It’s been a while since I’ve completed a collage during this hiatus of mine, but here we go – the first collage in a while. And this is also my first attempt at tackling a portrait of M. Ward. I’m thinking that I’d like to work on a series of public figures to help me sharpen my portrait collage-making skills. It has been a while since I’ve done a series of figures, and I’ve been a bit rusty after all these animal and landscape collages.

Anyway, I’m off to sketch out a few more portraits for future collages.

It’s Over There

It's Over There by collage artist Megan Coyle
“It’s Over There.” Collage on paper. 5″x7″
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Here’s a piece I made a couple months ago. It was for a fellow artist and Elon alum. I realized I hadn’t posted this one yet – so here it is!

At the moment I’m taking a break with making new collages, but once I get back to work I’ll make sure I post any new pieces.

Arrested Development

Arrested Development the Bluth Bunch by Megan CoyleI like to think of the Bluth family as a dysfunctional version of the Brady Bunch.

Arrested Development was a TV show that aired from 2003 until 2006, and it follows the story of a dysfunctional family. The show is going to be back for another season, and the above collage is my submission for the Arrested Development and Netflix contest.

The Concept
I wanted to make a collage portrait of one of the Bluths but couldn’t decide which one. So I thought it would be better to make a collage that included all the main characters. I wanted to find a creative way to incorporate all the portraits, to tie them all together. I thought about how many main characters there are. Then I thought, “there’s a bunch of them, sort of like the Brady Bunch.” When I remembered Tobias’ character Mrs. Featherbottom, I realized Arrested Developement had their own bizarro Alice. So I had to go ahead with the idea…

The Bluth portraits would be reminiscent of the Brady Bunch opening credits that include blue squares with video portraits of each family member. My collage would mimic the Bradys so the Bluths would look like portraits of a Brady Bunch gone wrong – the complete opposite of the memorable wholesome family from the 70s.
Placement of Characters
Since the Bluths consist of four kids and two grandkids, with only three women, the arrangement would be slightly different than the Bradys. Mrs. Featherbottom would obviously go in Alice’s position in the center. Lucille would go above Mrs. Featherbottom while George Senior would go below. The first row would be arranged just like the Brady’s by including the mother and the oldest son and daughter. To the left of Lucille would be Lindsay and to her right would be Michael. Maeby would go below Lindsay to follow the Brady’s model of having all women in the first column, and also since she’s Lindsay and Tobias’ (aka Mrs. Featherbottom) daughter, she would be closer to their portraits. Plus her facial expression works well next to Tobias. George Michael would be below his father Michael, but above his uncle Gob. This is so George Michael would be near his father and in the all-male Brady column. He’s above Gob since he definitely the more mature of the two. Since there aren’t as many women as there are men, in Cindy’s space is Buster’s portrait. I thought this was very fitting since Cindy had a lisp and Buster has a very distinct voice.

The Process
I cut out nine 5″x5″ squares of watercolor paper. Each square was used as the support for each collage portrait, where I used my “painting with paper” technique. With separate squares the composition can now always be rearranged for fun:

Arrested Development the Bluth Bunch by Megan Coyle
Arrested Development the Bluth Bunch by Megan Coyle

The portraits can also come apart and be viewed as separate works of art or put together to form one large work of art.

This idea came to me a few days ago so I only had this past weekend to complete the piece. It usually takes me about a day to complete my smallest portrait size. I don’t know how I managed to finish this before the deadline…

Grandfather and Grandson

Grandfather and Grandson by collage artist Megan Coyle
“Grandfather and Grandson.” Collage on paper. 9″x12″
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Here’s one of the holiday commissions I completed a couple months ago. My client wanted me to make a collage of her friend with his grandson. Since this piece wasn’t the smallest size I work in, it wasn’t as difficult to collage two figures on the 9″x12″ area. However, since 9″x12″ is still somewhat small, it was a bit of a challenge to get the likeness down properly for the grandson. I did have a bit of fun collaging all those colorful badges on the grandfather’s jacket.

I have a few more collages that I completed this year that I’ll post in the next couple of weeks. Anyway, I hope everyone is having a great December!

Illustration on Conan O’Brien’s Website

Conan O'Brien by collage artist Megan Coyle
“Conan.” Collage on mat board. 7″x5″
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Today the Team Coco crew let me know that my artwork is now on Conan O’Brien’s website. I put together this mini collage the other day as part of my effort to start up a series of famous faces. I’d like to sharpen my illustration skills with capturing the likeness of well-known figures.

And I thought I’d share my favorite Conan quote with you:”Nobody in life gets exactly what they thought they were going to get. But if you work really hard and you’re kind, amazing things will happen.”
— Conan O’Brien.Anyway, I’m off to start the weekend. Looks like I’ll have a chance to put in a few hours of studio work too.

Conan O'Brien by collage artist Megan Coyle

Ryan and His Sweetheart

Ryan and His Sweetheart
“Ryan and His Sweetheart” Collage on mat board. 5″x7″

I like the story behind this collage: Recently the guy who owns the domain contacted me. I wanted that domain when I first put my website together, but had to settle with since another Megan Coyle had a site up and running on So the owner contacted me, telling me that his client, another Megan, no longer used her website. Thus the web address wasn’t being used and was pointing to an error page, although the owner was still paying money for the domain. So he offered to do a trade – he’d transfer the domain to my account if I made a collage for him.

Above is the collage that I made for him. The challenge with this piece was that it was one of my smaller sized collages, and I wasn’t doing a portrait of one, but two people. I had to cut the magazine strips pretty small, but I’m pleased that it came together in the end.