Illustrative Experiments: Acrylic Collages

Today I’m rounding up month six of the Crafty Moods Project. That’s right: we’re half way already! After experimenting with washi tape, ink, pencils and embroidery I figured it was time to get my hands busy with some good old-fashioned paint. Acrylic paint!

The start of this project was a bit of a struggle. I’d sketch something, started painting it but simply felt I had too little experience with acrylics. I was spending lots of time on little things, leaving me little room to get comfortable with the materials. So for a little while, I blocked.

That’s when I remembered a blog post on Flow Magazine where illustrator Kate Pugsley writes about a collage exercise in which you create illustrations with randomly painted pieces. A perfect activity for when you’re blocked, like I definitely was. I gave it a try, got very into it and – with some tiny adjustments to the steps – ended up doing the exercise for the rest of the month.

The best part of this project was the freedom. I let go of all the ideas I had built up in my mind and simply painted things I felt like painting on that specific day, without any fear of failing. I actually made it my goal to work as randomly as possible without focusing on any end results. It felt amazing!


Sandra Apperloo

The project got me through 3 steps:

1: Painting heads

I filled two paper sheets with all kinds of tiny faces, hair, eyes, etc. I selected my favorites and cut them out to use for the collages later on.

Sandra Apperloo

2: Painting & cutting very random things

As much as possible, creating every color, pattern & shape I felt like. I used an entire paper block filling up sheets with paint. Some with one color from top to bottom, others with figures and more details:

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3. Making the collages

I collected all the heads and figures together and laid down empty papers on the ground. I spent hours moving around the pieces on the papers trying out all kinds of combinations, which was an amazing process.

I was nervous when I started doing this. I worried things wouldn’t fit together. But really, the possibilities were endless! The more I moved things around, the more I got into it and started seeing things come together.

These are the results:

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(For this last collage I used a body I painted before I started the collage project. I figured the triangle would make a nice skirt on her)
Sandra Apperloo