Do you collect pictures for collages? Maybe you’re a mother of young kids, who’s always on the lookout for pictures to use for craft activities or school projects. Or you could be an artist, who enjoys art journaling or mixed media.
Either way, you probably have entire drawers filled with photos, papers and ephemera. The big challenge is to find what we need when inspiration strikes, or at least put some semblance of order so our house doesn’t look like a paper recycling plant. Here are some tips on how to organize collage images.
Sort into categories
Do you tend to work more with color or by theme/image? Since I use the collage images for art, and my creative process involves picking a collage item based on how well it goes with my painting, then it makes sense to organize them according to color. For example, the ones with bright crayola-type colors go into one manila envelope; pastels in another. I also have a separate envelope for words or symbols (such as music sheets or interesting typography).
You may prefer organizing items by themes, such as ‘Faces’ or ‘Animals’ or ‘Flowers.’ I even know
couple of artists who organize collage items by mood: ‘Bright and happy’ vs. ‘Soft.’ It depends on how you work and what makes more sense to you.
I prefer envelopes over folders so that I can also store small ephemera and bits and pieces like ribbons, fabric swatches, tickets, stamps. Some artists use expandable envelopes so that everything is in one place, but I find those unwieldy. I have a small work space so it makes more sense to me to just bring the folder I need to the table, instead of a big, heavy and bulging portfolio. But, too each his own! The most important thing is that the storage is convenient and accessible, because if it takes too much effort to get it, you know you won’t!
Good places are under the bed, behind a book case, or in my case, a stack right underneath my table! I like keeping it within grabbing distance so I can store images the minute I find them. I could be reading a magazine, see a pattern, and tear it off right there—but instead of keeping it on my desk (where I’d eventually forget about it) I put it right into the folder, without skipping a beat.