Attempting to Collage an Entire Sketchbook [blog + VIDEO!]

If you read my last blog post, then you know I just recently submitted my very first sketchbook to Brooklyn Art Library! Well, turns out that I loved the process so much that I’ve decided to have another go at it. Last time, I filled my sketchbook with drawings of the places I’ve lived in through out my life, but this time I decided to try something COMPLETELY different! I’ve never done collage before really, but I saw so many amazing collage sketchbooks in the library that I had to give it a shot.
To figure out what kind of materials I wanted to gather, I started crafting a story in my head that the sketchbook would be based on. Even when I was growing up, I was obsessed with the idea of special agents and secret organizations. That has developed into a passion for learning about true crime, and especially about cults, so I decided to make my book into a sort of pseudo-handbook for someone being initiated into a secret society. Basically I just wanted to indulge the “conspiracy theory” side of my brain.
The inside front cover and a mini page I made out of an old fireman’s log book
Title page for my sketchbook

I by chance starting finding a lot of pieces of ephemera with candles, matches, and flashlights on them, so I decided to make those the symbols of this “group”. I snagged two Time magazines from the 80’s at a junk store which were both PACKED with great material, including the sub-headline “Agents of America”. I couldn’t have dreamed of a better title for this book.

100 hours of x-acto knife hell, and this page still isn’t full

I wanted this page to be a sort of “Meet the Members” page, with it being completely full, edge to edge, of people. I still have a lot of people I need to add to get there, but right now I’m happy with how it’s coming along. But man, it takes a LONG time to get each person perfectly cut out of their picture with an x-acto knife. I also like the illustrated people being mixed in with the photographs – I think it adds to the creepy factor.

 

“Hello Dany…. come play with us!”

Dialing the creepy all the way up with this page, I decided to put on my tinfoil hat and dip into one of my favorite topics: aliens. The background on this page is an aerial image of everyone’s favorite government conspiracy breeding ground, Area 51. The yellow strips are taken from a vintage radio handbook, and filled in with a highlighter to get the color. And the two wonderfully spooky girls are taken from a 1950’s reading/writing exercise book that I found. This might honestly be my favorite page in the book so far, and lucky for me, it only took around 3 hours to make 💀

This page is mostly here to reinforce the themes I want to keep going through the sketchbook, mainly the idea of a light (here, a flashlight), a globe, and the word “ultra” (a nod back to one of my favorite TRUE conspiracy theories, MK Ultra). The ominous Man in a Suit is really just the icing on the cake here.

SPEAKING OF ULTRA, I made this spread right when I was starting this sketchbook, but now I feel like my idea for it has evolved and changed too much, so this will probably get turned into scraps. I’ll save the “ultra”s, but definitely get rid of the eyes. Best part about using magazines from the 80s was that it was still legal to market cigarettes in them back then, so there are plenty of pages with the word “ultra” on them to mine from.

 

And that brings us to my latest spread! I have been obsessed with these flame and flashlight cards ever since I got my hands on them. I think they were part of an english/spanish learning kit, where you match the word to the picture? Either way, now they’re mine. The background is just a shot of a random town from the radio magazine I mentioned before, and I combed through an old book I had for the text that appears underneath. You can actually see my whole process for making this in the video below!

 

What do you think? Have you ever tried using collage before? Where did you go to look for materials to use?

MATERIALS USED:

X-ACTO Knife

Metal Straightedge, because I can’t cut a straight line on my own

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