Release into the Power of Play...
Last month I encouraged you to:
Ok, so this month, we’re returning to the glory of cutting and pasting. I forever find myself returning to this brilliant game. And once I begin it’s so hard for me to stop. Just playing for a long moment for this demo had me all charged up and dying to investigate further. Paper and pencils, glue and scissors-freedom at my fingertips! Something happens when we play. Just like when we were children, when we play, we learn. Returning to the tools of childhood provide us with a familiar door back to the creative wisdom we were born with.
This project is a great way to begin playing with the empty page. Cut out a bunch of elements and then play puzzle with them. See how things look this way and that. Experiment with layering a figure into place. You don’t have to have the whole body figured out. You could have legs and arms, and a head and a body and move them around or cut more pieces until everything feels just right to you. Create characters, explore background, experiment with style, show movement. The sky’s the limit!
You can see, I like big hair and big dresses! I have since I was a wee nibble. So you too get to do whatever YOU LIKE! Maybe it’s the thing you always drew when you were a kid, like mine is.
I got a little fancy with the cutting part. I whipped out my trusty die cut contraption. I have a Cuttlebug, which I love (It's that green thing in the picture above). I love the circle dies. I have hearts and scalloped ovals, but there’s something about the circles. They’re so round :-). Only recently have I found out about the tools that exist because of the new craft genre of “scrapbooking.” I love discovering this whole new world where “scrapbook” is turned into a verb and through the transformation is elevated to crazy heights of fabulousness. A far cry from my old photos in cellophane pages in a cardboard binder.
I warmed up for this project by cutting circles in colored paper. This got my imagination stirring. I had an old art journal and the ever collage-ready National Geographic, which I barely used. I went through each page, ripping out whatever caught my eye. The art journal turned out to be the best because it had all this patterned stuff, (which reminded me of the great paper you can get for scrapbooking.) I cut arm-ish looking limbs and boots and dresses and a wig or two. I cut more than I needed. I cut until I felt done cutting.
I laid all the elements out on a piece of paper and scooched them around until something fell into place. Sometimes I had to cut something else out. Then I glued everything down. I used color pencils, a permanent black marker and a white acrylic pen over everything and I decorated the sleeves by putting holes in them with my multiple size hole punchers! On the one I above that I fully finished, the face is construction paper and the ear is cut from the page of a dictionary. I had so much fun. I loosened up and relaxed. I played. It was awesome. In fact I had so much fun, I’m thinking I want to illustrate a book using this style now. My mind is exploding with ideas. Join me? Got paper, glue and scissors? Then freedom is yours!
You are an artist. I know.
P.S. Did you gather images last month? Did you scribble? Both of those things will come in handy with this project!!! And let me know how it goes!
Here's some more samples from my playing...(click images to enlarge)
Maya Gonzalez is largely self-taught. She has illustrated over 20 award-winning multicultural children’s books and written 3 with, not an end in sight! Her latest book, Call Me Tree, set to come out next year with Lee&Low Books, is her most recent labor of love! Her fine art has shown internationally and appears in numerous books about the contemporary Chicano Art Movement including on the cover of Living Chicana Theory and Contemporary Chicana and Chicano Art: Artists, Works, Culture and Education considered to be "the Bible of Chicano/a art." Ridiculously creative, she’s probably making art as you read this or thinking about making art if she’s driving a car or using the stove. And one of her ultimate passions is inspiring others to create books, because she believes that creating children's books has the potential to be one of the most radical things you can do!
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