Posted by: Robin Koontz | April 27, 2013

Computer Collage 101

I’m putting together an illustration presentation for elementary school kids. They want to see how I do what I do. The problem is, I do a lot of stuff and they only gave me 45 minutes.

Anyway, here is a quick lesson in creating collage with Adobe Illustrator. I’m messing about with some illustrations for a book about salmon. Note that your version of Illustrator might not look the same as this demo. I’m a poor artist still using CS4.

First I draw “paths” with the pencil tool in Illustrator.
bearcollage9
In real life, I paint a bunch of paper and scan the ones I plan to use at 300 dpi. These are placed in Illustrator outside the artboard.

Here I’ve done all the bear’s parts except the back leg. Drag the leg path over the swatch, make sure it’s in front. Then select both it and the swatch.

bearcollage1

Under Object, choose Clipping Mask and Make it. Or just hit Command 7.

bearcollage2
And here’s your collage leg!

bearcollage3

Drag it to its spot and move on. If you need that swatch again, just copy the leg and paste outside the artboard. Then under Object, choose Clipping Mask and Release it. Or just hit Command Alt 7. Or, just place the file again.

bearcollage4

I’m messing about with the fish next. I don’t like how it’s going. By the way, you can adjust color settings, etc. of your swatches using Adobe Photoshop or another program. And you can paint more paper!
bearcollage8

The painted swatches could be done using the computer. But there is something organic about pulling out the paints and making art on paper. I’ve always thought of the computer as a handy tool and a time-saver, but not a replacement for the real thing. Here’s the most recent version of this piece. I’ll be working on it for a while before I like it!

SalmonSketch2

So, that’s how I stumble along with computer collage!

UPDATE: Here’s the finished piece. You can figure out how I did it now that you’ve read the instructions!

SalmonSketch2


Responses

  1. Nice walk through. You are a busy blogger thee days! Nice to see!

  2. This is great and great explanation, I think all will be great for the school!
    Have fun.


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