Monday, November 21, 2011

Character Collages

I've recently been delving into the world of mixed media art. I've always loved to collage, so this is the perfect medium for me. I can combine lots of different objects to create a truly unique form of art.
A sample of a collage - I love this piece!
Over the weekend, I made a few items for pure enjoyment, but I also incorporated my next novel into my artistic endeavors by making character collages. This has been a fascinating way to get to know my characters.

What is a character collage? Simple. It's an art piece that represents, describes, or otherwise shows who and what your fictional character is all about.

For me, it's important to find a picture that most closely fits what my character looks like in my mind. Since my novels are set during the 1940s, browsing film stars from that era is a favorite way for me to find a look-alike for my characters. Once that is done, I print out a few photos, then start looking through magazines, newspapers, and using other materials to find things - whether they be objects, beliefs, sayings, etc. - that describe my character.

As I put together my collage, I discover lots of different aspects to my character I never knew before. These are often sparked by a picture or a phrase that jumps out at me as representative of my character.

I love the artistic challenge of putting together my collage, of creating my own vision of who my character is. It's also a great way for me to tap into a different type of creativity apart from my writing.

So yes. My writing office is now strewn with bits of paper, magazines, paint, stickers, assorted odds and ends, glue, beads, and just about anything else you can think of. My cat is having a field day.

But I'm enjoying it, and have now found a new tool to enhance my writing process.


  1. I took a Collage course in the spring and it was very interesting. Your collages would make fun covers or inside illustartions.

  2. What a great way to layer your characters, giving them that visual dimension. Do you find too that dabbling in the visual art actually inspires the writing muse?

    I like the first comment here, and the idea of using those collages as inside illustrations. That would be very unique!

  3. What a clever idea, I've never thought of doing a collage.

  4. I've been collecting old photos for an upcoming novel, but yoru method sounds more fun!

  5. I love mixed media art, too. I don't have an art room any more, though, so I've had to cut back. Some day.... Some day I will have another place to make my messes! I've asked my husband to create a little art room for me in the basement this winter. I hope it becomes a reality.

    Are you acquainted with Laura Frantz's historic novels? She frequently posts photos on her blog of people who resemble characters in novels as she writes them. She really gets into period clothing, too. It's fun.

    Happy Thanksgiving!


  6. I think that's a great idea. I just wish I was more creative.

  7. Taht sounds a really great idea - I love it!

  8. Beautiful idea! Seems like it would be very inspiring.

  9. Melissa-brilliant idea! I never would have thought of doing that but it makes so much sense. You are one clever girl!!

  10. Thanks for all the comments, everyone!


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