Collage
Background Information & Activities

Help children explore and interpret art and encourage them to create their own works using what they have learned. This movie will explore the art of collage, introducing different forms and identifying a few key artists who have utilized collage. It will also explore how symbols, colors, and textures are used in collage to communicate ideas, thoughts, and feelings.

Review with children that a collage is an artwork created by joining different materials together. The word collage comes from the French word coller which means "to glue." We can create collages by attaching different pieces of paper, such as newsprint or magazines, to a canvas. We can use stamps and stickers, wood or parts of plants, fabric, or even found objects in a collage, and we can also draw or paint to add to a work. Help children understand that they can pretty much use anything in a collage. Some children may be familiar with scrapbooks, which are types of collage. Look at different collages together and analyze their elements. You may want to share the works of Kurt Schwitters, who incorporated bits of debris in his art.

Many children's book illustrators incorporate collage into their works. For example, the collages in books by Eric Carle and Ezra Jack Keats bring the stories to life. They mix paper of different colors, shapes, sizes, and patterns. You may want to screen our movie on Ezra Jack Keats for an extension. You may also want to compare and contrast collages by different illustrators. How are they alike or different? What materials were used? What mood or feeling do the illustrations communicate?

There are several forms of collage: encourage children to explore different types. A photomontage is a collage made out of photos. Explain that the photos together can be more powerful than each photo displayed alone, and help children understand how a photomontage can communicate an idea or feeling. A wood collage can explore texture, shape, and color, and it can easily be done in the classroom or at home using found scraps of wood or plant matter. A film collage is created by mixing parts of movies, such as feature-length films, commercials, or found or archival footage. A sound collage is created by mixing sounds and clips of songs. Some children may recognize that hip-hop music is a form of sound collage.

Help children understand that collages communicate feelings or ideas through symbols. Review different symbols together. For example, a heart is a symbol of love and a four-leaf clover is a symbol of good luck. Items or materials used in a collage can be symbols of an idea.. Explore different collages together and identify various symbols used in the work.

The use of color and shape can also communicate feelings. French artist Henri Matisse cut out paper of various colors to create collages that communicate a wide range of emotions. In his Jazz series, he used bright colors and shapes to communicate the playfulness of music. Bright colors communicate joy while wavy lines communicate energy or improvisation.

As children create their collages, encourage them to think about the elements they incorporate into their works. Have them explore different shapes, colors, and textures and juxtapose objects that seemingly do not go together. Have them think of a clear idea they want to communicate and create a work that shares that idea.


BrainPOP EducatorsSee more lesson plans and resources: BrainPOP Educators.


Collage Teacher Activities

Scrapbook

Have students create a scrapbook. Encourage them to select a theme for a page in their scrapbook and create a collage that explores that theme. For example, they may want to explore the theme of friendship or create a scrapbook collage that commemorates an event at school or at home. Have students incorporate different elements into their collage and pay attention to what materials or items they use. What does each item symbolize? What feeling or idea does it invoke?

Collage Artists

Have children create a collage on a specific theme, such as the environment or the city. Then have them create their works. Remind them to pay special attention to symbols and choose their materials carefully to explore the theme. Have students share their works with the class and describe their collages. How are the collages alike and different? Help students understand how collages can look or feel different but still explore the same theme.

Collage Family Activities

Wood Collage

Research different wood collages together on the Internet. Point out the use of texture, shape, and color in the collages. Then have your child create a wood collage! He or she can collect scraps of wood from a yard or park. What idea or feeling does the collage communicate? How?

Found Objects

Remind your child that found objects can be used in a collage. The artist Kurt Schwitters incorporated candy wrappers and pieces of cork or metal into his works. Have your child create a collage using only found objects. What do the objects represent? How might the placement of an object on a collage change the work's overall look or feel? Encourage your child to be creative with the placement of the items. He or she might want to flip something upside down or alter the object in some way. Then have your child share the collage, along with other artwork, with friends and family in an art gallery show!