Peony and Parakeet

Painted Paper Collage – 6 Tips for Intricate and Fun Art

A painted paper collage. A sketchbook cover by Paivi Eerola of Peony and Parakeet.

Here’s an 8-by-8-inch sketchbook that I decorated with painted paper collage. Even if all my art is not collage art, I love it. Painted collage art often replaces traditional sketching so that I paint and cut papers to grow the ideas that don’t feel mature enough for bigger work.

In this blog post, I share some tips that are handy for this kind of creative play.

Tip #1 – Organize Painted Papers by Size

I have a box for small paper pieces and another for bigger ones. I keep the papers rectangular in shape so that they are easy to browse.

Handpainted papers by Paivi Eerola of Peony and Parakeet.

Tip #2 – Add a Lined Adhesive to the Tiniest Pieces

I like to make intricate collage art so I have tiny collage pieces. Small hand-cut pieces are difficult to handle and get lost easily. Thermoweb has clear adhesive dots called Zots (affiliate), that come with two liners, and they are perfect for both storing and attaching small paper pieces.

Attaching small collage elements with Thermoweb Zots glue dots. By Paivi Eerola of Peony and Parakeet.

Zots are very flat compared to many glue dots, and they have two liners. Just remove the first one, attach the piece, and then remove the second liner when gluing the piece on a collage! Here you can see a close-up picture. This is the smallest size of Zots.

Attaching small collage elements with Thermoweb Zots glue dots. By Paivi Eerola of Peony and Parakeet.

Tip #3 – Make Clusters

Attach small pieces on the bigger elements and treat each piece as a small artwork!

A collection of painted papers cut to collage pieces. By Paivi Eerola of Peony and Parakeet.

I also like to decorate clusters by painting and drawing.

Painted papers cut to collage pieces. By Paivi Eerola of Peony and Parakeet.

However, I sometimes have elements that are so beautiful that they don’t need anything on them.

Painted papers cut to collage pieces. By Paivi Eerola of Peony and Parakeet.

Tip #4 – Group and Layer!

When composing the painted paper collage, use connecting lines and intersecting shapes. They make a more elegant and coherent composition than if the elements don’t touch each other.

Composing a painted paper collage. By Paivi Eerola of Peony and Parakeet.

Tip #5 – Add Shadows

For the sketchbook cover, I used grey Faber-Castell PITT Artist Brush Pens (affiliate) to color shadows on both the elements and the background.

Adding shadows to a painted paper collage. By Paivi Eerola of Peony and Parakeet.

Shadows add depth and make the elements look less separate from the background.

Tip #6 – Sealing

I like to attach the collage elements first with glue dots, double-sided tape, or some paper glue and then use gel medium for sealing. This way, my fingers stay fairly clean when I am building the composition. At that stage, I attach the elements only partly, and they get glued when I am sealing the work.

Sealing a painted paper collage. By Paivi Eerola of Peony and Parakeet.

For sealing, I use several layers of gel medium (Golden Soft Gel Gloss (affiliate) is my favorite), especially for the items that will be touched regularly.

A painted paper collage. A sketchbook cover by Paivi Eerola of Peony and Parakeet.

Painted Paper Collage – More Ideas

  1. For those who want to start by making some papers:
    Choose Kiwi, Arboretum or Romantic Doodles
  2. For those who like to play:
    Dolls in a Gallery – Paper Collage Step by Step!
  3. For those who need to dig deeper as artists:
    Draw Your Innocent Little Secrets!
  4. Class recommendations:
    Collageland
    Inspirational Drawing
    Modern Mid-Century

I hope you found these tips both practical and inspirational!

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Happy Valentine's Day by Paivi Eerola of Peony and Parakeet. Hand-drawn collage art composed digitally.

When like-minded hearts gather together, life feels wonderful.
What starts from a simple circle can grow wings,
and then support others.
Isn’t that what creating is all about?
Happy Valentine’s Day!

Start drawing your world of fantasy! – Subscribe to my weekly emails and get a free mini-course!

Hand-Drawn Collage Samplers

Squirrel Sampler by Paivi Eerola of Peony and Parakeet. Read how to create hand-drawn collage samplers!

I have been browsing my art archives lately, and it has been surprisingly inspiring. I have lots of art journals and a big box of paintings and drawings from my teenage years. Even if I have experimented with many techniques and themes, it all looks very similar now. Everything fits together and gets my approval. Painting “Icebreaker” gave me a new kind of confidence, and with that confidence, I am now blogging about a playful idea that I got from cross-stitching – hand-drawn collage samplers!

These samplers are composed of hand-drawn paper pieces so that they look like cross-stitch samplers. They have ribbons, many identical ornaments, tiny floating elements, and some symmetry. There’s also stiffness and order so that it looks like the elements are on a grid.

Paivi Eerola and a cross stitch project in progress

Cross-stitching is one of my hobbies, and even if I try not to think about art when stitching, I just couldn’t resist this idea! Here’s how I applied cross-stitching to collage art.

Print Tiny Scans of Hand-Drawn Collage Pieces!

It’s essential to have tiny decorations to make the collage look ornamental. I solved the problem by making collage sheets of scanned hand-drawn pieces. These collage elements were drawn for the classes Animal Inkdom and Magical Inkdom, and there are some jeweled flowers from the free mini-course for subscribers too.

Sheets of scanned hand-drawn collage pieces. By Paivi Eerola of Peony and Parakeet.

The original size of these pieces is much bigger than in the printed sheets.

A hand-drawn collage piece and printables. By Paivi Eerola of Peony and Parakeet.

Use All Kinds of Hand-Decorated Papers!

Samplers have a variety of designs, so every little doodle is a potential sampler piece. I have a box of hand-decorated and painted papers (mostly leftovers from Collageland) and two boxes of hand-drawn collage elements. I have also cut some old art created in the 1980s. All these are a good addition to small printed pieces.

Boxes of hand-decorated papers by Paivi Eerola of Peony and Parakeet.

Of course, you can also use store-bought die-cuts, pictures from magazines, etc. but if all the elements are handmade, they will all fit together much better because they are all YOU!

Perfect Project for Hand-Painted Background Pages

If you are an art journaler, I bet your journal has a lot of pages that are more like backgrounds rather than finished pages. You can use them for collage samplers!

The background of this sampler was busy and bright, but I just added brown over some of the areas and let the colors speak, or should I say shout!

Rabbit Feeders by Paivi Eerola of Peony and Parakeet. Read how to create hand-drawn collage samplers!

I attached the pieces with paper glue and some larger elements with double-sided tape. I usually use gel medium, but it’s messier, and it’s too difficult to cut all those tiny pieces with sticky fingers.

Self-Expression with Hand-drawn Collage Samplers

Sticking paper pieces can be just a relaxing hobby, like cross-stitching. But samplers can also tell stories!

My first page is called Squirrel Sampler, and it has all kinds of little treasures that Paivi the Squirrel has collected.

Art journal page spread by Paivi Eerola of Peony and Parakeet. Read how to create hand-drawn collage samplers!

The second page is called Rabbit Feeders. It refers to women’s status and importance in Virginia Woolf’s novel The Voyage Out. An isolated woman looks at herself from the mirror and questions her importance for the world. I read Voyage Out as a teenager, and this allegory, even if it’s just a few rows in the book, touched me deeply.

Art journal page spread by Paivi Eerola of Peony and Parakeet. Read how to create hand-drawn collage samplers!

It often happens that creative play evokes feelings and stories that are too big to express in any other way. I hope you’ll enjoy making these samplers!

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Drawing on Fabric – Illustrated Quilt Blocks

Drawing on fabric with Copics by Paivi Eerola from Peony and Parakeet.

This week’s blog post is for all who love fabric! I have started building a new class, a magical sequel to Animal Inkdom! I want these “Inkdom classes” to be as versatile as possible so that you can use your illustrations in gifts, everyday items, and whatever you like to create. This goal perhaps brings out the designer from me – always seeking for ways to get the most of the beautiful pictures.

Brainstorming when Making a Quilt

My best ideas come, when I am taking a break. Last week, I had to stop the class development for a few days, because my beagle Stella had been waiting for her quilt far too long. The old ones were so worn out that she could barely carry and wrap herself in them. I had almost finished the top of the new quilt but there was still quite a lot of work in quilting and binding it.

Quilting with a sewing machine

So I put the art supplies away, bought pink fabric for the back, and started stitching. The blocks had printed photos, crocheted doilies, ugly leftover prints, experiments that had piled up … I had just sewn them all together! But the more I worked on it, the more unique the blanket felt, and the improvisational way of working kept me energized. Just like when drawing!

Finished quilt by Paivi Eerola from Peony and Parakeet

So it hit me, that it would be wonderful to build bridges with this kind of fabric play and drawing.

Finished quilt by Paivi Eerola from Peony and Parakeet

See how full of “doodles”, improvised quilt patterns, the top has!

Finished quilt by Paivi Eerola from Peony and Parakeet

I doodled a bit with the embroidery floss too. But that’s a lot of work, and it doesn’t feel the same as holding a pen in hand. I missed my markers!

Finished quilt by Paivi Eerola from Peony and Parakeet

Drawing on Fabric with Copic Markers

Once Stella’s quilt was finished, I went to my Copic markers. I ironed a piece of natural white cotton fabric that had some print patterns. To make the patterns even more subtle, I drew on the wrong side of the fabric. So I had a lively background that wasn’t too busy. First, I made a line drawing with thin-tipped black pens. They were Copic brand too.

Then I started coloring and making the drawing more detailed.

Drawing on fabric with Copics by Paivi Eerola from Peony and Parakeet.

Here’s the finished piece. I loved the easiness, the softness of the lines, and that I now have a unique quilt block. I will certainly draw some more!

Drawing on fabric with Copics by Paivi Eerola from Peony and Parakeet.

Here you can see how the lines, fabric and color blending go well together.

Drawing on Fabric by Peony and Parakeet - a detail.

When I look at my fabric stash, this hand-made piece is definitely what I love the most.

Hand-drawn image on fabric by Paivi Eerola from Peony and Parakeet

My art studio looks so happy now! The best thing is when many things that I love to create come together.

Fabric and art studio by Paivi Eerola from Peony and Parakeet.

While I am preparing the new class, tell me, what kind of ideas and instructions have you been waiting for building bridges between your arts and crafts!

Paivi Eerola from Peony and Parakeet holding her hand-made quilt.
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