December 17, 2008

Creative Ideas for Collage, ATCs, Altered Books, and Scrapbooking

The following are some ideas to play with when you have artist’s block or just need a starting off point.

  • Think of a favorite song—what images, colors, word phrases, remind you of that song? You could do the same with a poem.
    “I love about you…” Create an ATC for someone you love
  • Discovery: Ever make a find that changed your life? Ever learn something that turned your life in a new direction? Every been surprised? How could you capture this on an ATC?
  • Acrostic Journaling: Select one word, then write a phrase or sentence using the letters in the word. For example “LOVE”: Live in Love; One Family; View the Future; Evolve Together. Since these would be a lot to put on a 3.5 x 2.5 inch ATC card, I would try making four cards that capture each phrase and then, perhaps, frame them together. Whenever you have an idea that is bigger than what you can fit on an ATC, break it down into steps, phases, or basic ideas—and use more than one card, create a set.
  • Use a favorite quote as a starting off point.
  • Have a favorite color? Make a card with nothing but that color, in all its various shades (black added) and tints (white added).
  • Celebrate your pet.
  • Do a memorial-type ATC for a person or pet who is no longer with you.
  • Secret message: Embed a single word or phrase within your ATC. Use code. Or, use a paragraph from an old book and underline certain words in the paragraph to create a new sentence.
  • Celebrate a hobby
  • Create birthday cards; you’ll need them all year long. Purchase blank greeting cards (see my resources list) and affix the ATC to the front of the card with a glue stick. Now you are ready for birthday cards.
  • Forget the e-cards—everyone would rather have a “real” card!
  • Do the above, but make thank you cards.

If you run into a block with your creative efforts, remember the following:

  1. It doesn’t matter if you cannot draw. Being creative is not about being able to draw. Drawing is a technique. It is not the only skill needed to be creative or considered artistic. Put drawing out of your mind, and you will have more fun and be able to benefit from creative endeavors without self-consciousness hanging over your head, spoiling the fun.
    Feel free to use images you find all around you. If you want to sell your creations, become informed about copyright law (easy to research on the web, in relation to collage and art). I recommend Dover books, which are sold at JoAnn fabric and online. They have many beautiful images and come with CDs too, so that you can have the images in your computer. Dover allows the unrestricted use of 10 images from each book, even in work that is sold (check with them if there is any question, though, as I am not a lawyer).
  2. When getting things realistic feels “too hard,” explore and enjoy color, technique, and process. It is from doing, doing, and doing some more—shutting off your inner critic—realizing this time is for you and WHATEVER you create will be beautiful and worthwhile—this is how you benefit from exploring the creative.
  3. Money is tight for many people. Art materials can be costly. Explore recycled materials. When you begin looking at everything you throw away with new eyes—“Hey, this could be useful!”—you’ll soon have a box or bag full of stuff. Magazines, boxes, paper, ribbons—all of it can be used to make ATCs.
  4. Say Yes more than you say No.

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