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Notes for Watercolour Collage with Jean Duncan


Support, this should be heavier than the paper you are gluing onto it, to resist buckling.

Hardboard, mounting board, Bristol board, heavy watercolour paper or canvas.

Paper: Toilet tissue, paper napkins or towels, paper bags, envelopes, tissue paper, Japanese washi papers.

Glues: Matte medium, watered down PVA, wheat paste, rice paste, wallpaper paste.

Brushes: Flat bristle brushes for gluing, watercolour brushes, water containers.

Paint: Watercolours, gouache, water soluble pencils and crayons.

Finishes :Matte varnish to seal the finished collage.


Links to paper and glue suppliers

Shepherds & Co Bookbinders, have a stock of Gampi it’s expensive but if you feel you might use this technique regularly it’s worth it.


Jacksons Art,

Have Wheat Starch and Methyl Cellulose paste, both allow papers to be moved and rearranged, also they will not stain over time, however watered down PVA or Wall paper paste will work fine for this.

Making a Collage

I hope that you will think of collage as an alternative way of working with a familiar medium and that it can become a technique you use to supplement rather than replacing your current techniques.

Any subject matter will work with this technique for the video I have chosen a simple still life with pomegranates to practice the technique. We will start by colouring tissue and fine papers with watercolour and letting them dry. The outline of shapes is drawn with a fine waterproof fibre tip.

Then the fun bit of colouring in!

If there is time I will also show you another approach where colour is applied to the paper after it is stuck down.


  • Gather all your materials together.

  • Arrange and rearrange your composition until you are happy with it.

  • Draw the outline of your composition in water resistant pen.

  • Tint your tissue with the range of colours you will need.

  • Trace around the edges of shapes and cut out the background.

  • Fill in the pomegranates with tinted paper

  • Work into the shapes with watercolour pencil, washes or dry brush strokes.

  • Crop if necessary.

  • Start with the lightest colours gradually working up to darker tones, always protecting your highlighted areas.

  • You can add transparent colour to darker tones but make sure the brush isn’t too wet as this will lift the background colour.

Another approach would be to make a wash drawing then cover the whole area with torn pieces of tissue, let it dry then work into that.


Looking forward to hearing how you get on and any queries contact me on

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