Design Elements of Two Collage Pages for Memory Book

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our afflictions, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.”

– 2 Corinthians 1:3-4

Color and style

Grandpa’s banjo music.

For those of you new to this blog, I have begun a project of making memory books about my father and mother to pass along to my children/grandchildren. I designed and created two pages last week and one today for my father’s memory book. Here I am showing two. In the book, I am also including a short biography of my grandparents, who were my dad’s parents. Above is the page I designed to illustrate my grandpa’s love of banjo playing. For a short time, he played with a jazz band that toured music halls throughout Colorado in the 1920’s. My grandfather knew and played with Glen Miller before Glen became famous nationwide for his popular jazz band throughout the 1930’s and 1940’s. I used a banjo template purchased at Stencil Girl Products, which I placed over a gel printing plate. Then, I added dots of blue acrylic paint in random patterns and used a brayer to roll out the paint. Paper was placed over the damp ink and rolled with a brayer that transferred the paint and relief image onto the paper. I used a portion of the page gluing it onto the collage. Some of the elements of design I used were balance, composition, color (which determines a calm mood). There is also a casualness featured by controlled messiness, natural cotton paper, torn edges and random patterns.

I found some guitar sheet music that my husband hand printed and tore the sheet so it fit the design. Then, I found some other scraps of gell printed paper in violet which I glued to the page giving the design some depth, pattern, and variety. I wrote a sentence about George’s career in music.

Content and Pattern

Emotions of a quarantined sick boy depicted in collage

This collage page illustrates what I imagine were the emotions of my father, Keith, who at 17 was struck with Rheumatic Fever that attacked his muscles and heart. He was bedridden and quarantined for several months. As a result missing school, he was not able to graduate thereby having to take his senior year over. When he was no longer contagious, Keith was allowed visitors so his friends including my mom, who was his girlfriend, came by to comfort and cheer him. His view for hours each day was the garden he could see out the window from his bed. To make the page, I planned the size of the colored page of the ocean scene to accommodate the template size and the book page size. I used three blue and one yellow Prismacolor watercolor pencils to color the print I made of a page of Tula Pink Coloring Book. The page was titled “Saltwater – Sea Debris”.

I placed the window template where I wanted it and then applied cerulean blue to the areas outside the template area to depict a blue sky and a background to my text. When that dried, I placed my template over the page and colored the spaces within using a combination of water-soluble distressed crayons and water-soluble wax crayons. I used a small watercolor brush to paint water over the crayon marks.

I glued the sea print to the page then used acrylic ink to write my text in the area I painted cerulean. The bright colors of the window view, and blue sky indicate hope, but the contained design of the window emphasizes something beyond reach, or it can also mean protection. The scene of the stormy sea with a red life ring being tossed about offers a contrast mood that I titled ‘Shipwreck Dreams’. A sick boy who is secluded away from friends and achievement has a feeling of doom, despair, and loneliness. Yet in my text, I mention that towards the end of his confinement, the boy is visited by close friends restoring hope and comfort.

Here is a picture of the materials I used to create the page above. 

Some materials used in creating collage pages.

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