Friday, January 12, 2018

Sketch Collage

Stillman & Birn, Beta, Size 8.5 x 5.5 (open flat, 8.5x11inch)
Do you remember the old movie posters that had multiple images that gave you the highlights or teasers to the best scenes in a movie? I do. They were beautiful! They were called a montage. The process or technique of selecting, editing and piecing together separate sections of a film to form a continuous whole. 

Have you ever visited a location, spent a day with friends, went on a trip... and felt one image wasn't enough to tell the "story"? Me too! Many years ago people noticed how I sketched multiple images on a page to tell a story. I started calling them a "Sketch Collage”. But I suppose sketch montage would of worked, too. 

The challenge is arranging elements in a way that the page has a flow and balance. Here's a few tips and ideas to help you.
11 x 10 Sketchbook
*Themes: Travel, garden, cooking, animals, vacation...the list is endless. 

*Complete the sketch collage in one sitting or add images to a page over the span of the trip. 

*Don't worry about objects being true to size in relation to each other.

*Have objects such as people, signs, road…pointed in and not out of the page.

*Overlap objects or scenes.

*Border or boxes help tie images together.

Next time you are looking for a way to tell a bigger story I hope you'll give this technique a try. 
Stillman & Bin Beta 10x8  (open flat, 10x16 inch)

Most of the Sketch Collages I create are in the Stillman & Birn sketchbooks. My favorite surface is the Beta, soft cover. I use a variety of sizes.  You can learn about the two types of sketchbooks I use here, Sketchbooks: Size, Paper, Cover & Binding

Happy Sketching!

P.S. If you'd like to join me in one of my workshops in 2018 I only have a few spots left. If you've ever dreamed of sketching Tuscany in the Fall I have one spot open. A dream trip!!!  Workshops Here 


  1. A friend, artist and Urban Sketcher (Michele Cooper in Marysville, WA) refers to it as a montage so that's the term I've been using.

    See you in Seattle in August!

    1. They're a wonderful way to tell a bigger story. Looking forward to seeing you again!

  2. Love this technique (that I learned from you!) I recently used it on a trip, adding items as we walked and toured around town!

  3. Diane, Glad you've enjoyed using this technique. ~Hugs

  4. I have also heard the term, Vignettes, used. This technique is helpful for me when I feel overwhelmed by a scene or page. Just capturing part of something makes it all seem "Doable".

    1. Hi Elizabeth! Thank you for the comment. Hope you're feeling better. Sounds like you had a touch of the flu.
      Vignette's are different... Here's a post on them.Copy and paste the link.