Collage Characters

By Nick White

Create a collage self portrait with just one rule – you’re not allowed to use any facial features!

Push yourself to think outside of the box – can wheels be your eyes? The Great Pyramid of Giza could be your nose, and could baked beans be your hair? Look at textures, shapes and colours – be playful!

Don’t forget to share your collages or post online and tag @natsatclub



Collage is the method of using different pieces of media, cut out and stuck together to form a new composition. It doesn’t have to just be paper – artists use a wide range of materials to make collages including photographs, fabric, packaging, newspapers. Using these found materials, collage enables you to make something completely unique; it can be abstract, playful, surreal, evocative – anything you want it to be!

This activity is based on the fantastic Collage session that artist Nick White has run with our Club at Kingston University for the last few years. Check out his brilliant work here:

This activity usually takes about 2 hours, but if you’re enjoying it, why not try and make some portraits of your friends or family?


Materials needed

  • Scissors
  • Old books/ magazines/ newspapers/ photographs/ packaging (make sure these belong to you or that you have permission to use them!)
  • A4 paper (white or coloured)
  • Pritt stick/ glue


Sourcing your material

Have a look in your house for any old books, magazines, flyers, photographs, or anything you find that interests you! You could look in your recycling bin for bits of card or interesting packaging. (Make sure you’ll allowed to cut it up!)


Cutting things out

Start looking through your collected imagery and cut out anything that could represent part of your face. Remember, at this stage you’re just collecting material – just cut everything out roughly and don’t stick anything down yet!


Placing your materials

Once you’ve cut out lots of materials, have a go at placing them on your piece of paper. The wonderful thing about collage is that there’s no right or wrong way to create an image – try several different arrangements, moving your pieces around, replacing them with other things and looking for different possibilities. When you feel more certain of your composition, you can cut out your material more carefully.


Getting stuck down

When you start to feel confident in your positioning, stick them down and keep building them up until you have a full self-portrait! Remember to think about your background and making your portrait really fill the space on the page.


Using your scraps

By cutting out lots of shapes you find interesting, you’ve likely created a lot of mess, but also a lot of really interesting cut-outs without even realising it! Use your scrap / leftovers to create one last collage (give yourself around 5 minutes). This is a fun challenge to set yourself at the end of the session, and will leave you with less to clean up!


Thank you for taking part in the Kingston University London Saturday Club Workshop.

Share your images or post online and tag @natsatclub

Contributed by Nick White, Kingston University London Art&Design Saturday Club

The Kingston National Saturday Club is run by Ellie Wyatt, Ellie Pritchard and Louis Caseley who represent a wide range of art and design practices and knowledge. This session has been run by artist and illustrator Nick White for the last three years of the Club.

Nick is an Artist, lecturer and member of Owen And The Eyeballs (They are a band). He lives and works in London. He makes his work using parts of his body such as his Brain (ideas), his Fingers and Thumbs (cutting, sticking, drawing, painting etc) and usually his Eyes.


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