I purchased Jane Davies' Collage Journeys last year and it has never made it onto my book shelf. It follows me from room to room and I dip into it all the time. It's the kind of book that you discover something new in every time you read it.
What sets Davies' book apart from the many others on my shelves, is that she teaches practical collage techniques while at the same time guides you on your own journey of discovery. She does not want you to create collages in her style, gorgeous as it is, but encourages you to find your own voice.
In the first two chapters, Davies addresses the gathering of materials and generating of ideas for collage, as well as giving a brief discussion of digital alterations. Davies also highlights different working styles, gives ideas for overcoming creative block and moving outside your comfort zone.
The ensuing chapters get to the nuts and bolts of collage by exploring the use of color, layers, text and images in your work. Chapter 6 digs a little deeper into the use of metaphor, symbols and personal iconography.
Scattered throughout the book are 17 hands-on exercises and projects that encourage the reader to flex their own creative muscles. I do have some bits and pieces to share from my own journal, but bear with me because it's just play and not 'finished' work.
I tried an exercise from Chapter 4 called 'Tissue Paper and Paint Layering'. This page started as pieces of random tissue paper, but ended as a great, complex background for some tags I'd been experimenting with.
Using 'Text as a Visual Element' from Chapter 5 was the exercise I followed to create this rather creepy looking guy. This 4" x 6" sheet of watercolor paper started off covered with scraps from my desk and became this rather grotesque looking piece. [I like him, but my family is totally creeped out by him.]
Davies ends the book with some different journaling options from altered books to handmade journals and gives ideas for several journaling projects.
I highly recommend this book if you're interested in exploring the world of collage. The subtitle of the books sums up her intention "A Practical Guide to Creating Personal Artwork" and she definitely succeeds in her mission.