Collage is often the first introduction students and artists have to using mixed media. Collage is a type of mixed media art that combines different materials like strings, newspaper and magazine clippings, photographs etc. to create a new art piece; one from many. Artists can also paint, draw, and write on their collage. This adds more detail and subject matter for the viewer.
Collage deals with multiple layers of materials and mediums. When using collage in the classroom, think about what materials you would like students to be working with and the techniques they will be using to create the actual collage.
For beginners and minimal collage artworks, school glue works fine, especially if they are collaging on paper, cardstock, or other similar materials. Glue sticks should only be used if they are working with thin paper and only paper. Older students may use Mod Podge for a more finished, protected, and flat collage.
Keep in mind that the heavier the objects they are attaching, the stronger their collage background needs to be. If students are collaging with photographs, string and buttons, their weight of these items, glue included, needs to be supported. For this example, consider using thick cardstock or cardboard as their base. Allow for longer drying times and provide a flat drying surface for students through the collage process.
In collage, artists also can incorporate painting, drawing and writing. Instruct your students to think about their layers and the materials they have planned. They may want to paint or write before glueing larger objects. They will need to have the previous layer dry beforehand in some cases; sequencing is important.
Magazine, newspapers, and other printed image and text media offer a range of subject matter for students to collage with. Given a prompt, students can use the available materials to communicate their understanding and ideas through collage.
To take collage to the next level, Sax School Specialty offers a lesson plan called “Creative Collage”. In this lesson, students create a low profile collage with various textured materials and their own monoprints. See the full lesson idea here.
Blick Art Materials has many new lessons for mixed media. “Printed Pattern Portrait” is a mixed lesson on portraits modeled after the artist Kehinde Wiley. It combines printmaking and drawing. This is a great way to incorporate ideas on identity and portraits while using a contemporary artist. See the full lesson here.