It’s harder than it looks. Collage I mean.

First attempts were just a mess.  For instance, this awful, too busy example – I started by making too many ink marks, tried to add larger solid areas but then in desperation put other shapes on as well.  Looking at it dispassionately (sort of) I realised that the one acceptable thing is that it is dynamic and the eye is moved around the space.

Another failed attempt used shapes that were unrelated to the frottage underneath, and the colours were unrelated to each other. (See below).  I added ink in an attempt to connect them somehow, then decided to use one of the shapes from the frottage in a related colour.  Suddenly those shapes in the frottage leapt forward. Previously the whole frottage was just a hazy grey background, but now individual parts gained significance.

Sometimes desperation gives you a good solution. The following image was really boring and repetitive until I noticed some brown cigarette paper that I bought for miniature printing.  I glued it on and although completely unrelated it provided immediate contrast and interest.

In an attempt to try the opposite of a crowded page I tried a minimalist approach. The frottage pattern is clearly seen, and the ink marks have prominence. The gold disc responds to the ink marks and the eye is taken by those marks to the colour on the right. However, although that strip is curved it would have been better had the curve been much more obviously curved.

Finally I created an image that I felt was satisfying in terms of colour, shape relationships, line and background marks. The red circle is a good contrast to the mid-tones, the ink links all the parts together and patterns in the frottage are echoed in the marbled paper.

I still have a lot to learn but each of these attempts has added to my knowledge of what ‘works’ in a collaged image.