To develop a library of collage materials, you may want to parse through what you already have, before purchasing anything new.
Before Iacono took up collage as his primary medium, he created sculptures. When he made his first collages, he used what was nearest to him: cheap craft paint that he used on his sculptural works. Since then, he’s moved onto using high-quality paint, but when he was beginning, the simpler materials were ripe for experimentation and a source of inspiration. In addition to art materials you may have, personal photos, old books and clothing, or recycled paper can all serve as great collage materials.
“My least favorite material is new, shiny magazine paper,” Chastain said. “It doesn’t take adhesives well because of the coating and can be frustrating, especially for someone just starting out.” She prefers to use periodicals from the ’60s and ’70s, and frequents library discard sales in search of inspiring books. Another way to scout out found photographs, is by using image libraries, such as the New York Public Library’s image collection, or sifting through open source images on Google, Flickr, and Wikimedia Commons.
You may prefer to create your own source materials. Iacono paints and cuts every piece of paper he uses in his collage. To create your own library, you may also want to cut up old artworks you are no longer attached to, print images on specific pieces of paper or fabric, or take photographs specifically for your collage.