Collage Bookshelf

What’s on your collage bookshelf?


STRANGE DIARY or How to Make a Collage

by Amy Tingle

I just finished a mini lesson on working in series as part of the Collage Alphabet online course. And I remembered this fabulous book with collages by Amy Tingle (who, along with Maya Stein, founded the Creativity Caravan).

“Strange Diary” features 52 of Amy’s collages, started as part of a 100 Day Project. The collages all feature paint chips, from the hardware store, and the titles often draw upon one of the paint color names for inspiration.

The collages offer:

encouragement “Sea Life, or how to stop doubting yourself” and “Exuberant Pink, or how to let go”

whimsy “Buzz-In, or how to greet a bear in the forest” and “Butterfield, or how to dust your crops” or “Meteorological, or how to set the night on fire”

a history lesson “Abstract, or how to prepare a feast”

and powerful messages “Cheerful Tangerine, or how to save the environment” and “Billowy Down, or how to end racism” and “Smiley Face, or how to stop rape, child abuse, racism, and war”

or the truly puzzling “Wizard’s Potion, or how to unclog your toilet when you’ve accidentally flushed pickle down it”

Tingle’s collages are thoughtful and you will find yourself taking a second look at the paint chip and the names of the colors, but her titles, and accompanying text make for a delicious and satisfying treat!

Purchase here:


Last month, I put together a workshop for Art Educators. I love teaching collage because it is so accessible. I love encouraging art teachers to introduce their students to collage because it is so accessible – not just from a “I’m not an artist” standpoint, but from a realistic, budgetary standpoint, with funding cuts to art programs every year in this country. Students can fully participate in making collages with very few resources – some magazines, junk mail, even, plus scissors and glue.

So, this year, I decided to introduce these teachers to the many and varied forms of Collage Collaborations. As I researched the topic, I discovered collaborative projects that I’d never heard of. It was an eye-opening experience to learn of so many forms of collaboration within our field!

I shared projects, websites, magazine articles, and a few books with my educator-students. One book that really stood out to me, and that I will revisit often is “We Said Hello and Shook Hands” by Zach Collins. The book is pure eye candy for the collage enthusiast, and a great study of how artists collaborate. Over 400 collaborations are featured here, both analog (cut and paste) and digital collage. Perhaps one of the most interesting aspects, to me, is when Collins sent the same “starter” collage to both a digital and an analog artist – both “finishes” are showcased, and the differences are powerful.

Do yourself a favor and check into some collage collaboration projects for a personal challenge and a way to reach out to other artists (especially as I am writing this during the COVID-19 crisis/lockdown/pandemic that has changed the way we reach out to people in our day-to-day lives….) For more inspiration, I highly recommend thumbing through “We Said Hello and Shook Hands” whenever you feel stuck or alone. Be well!


Follow Zach Collins on Instagram. Also by Zach Collins: Acute Angles, Big Bang (with Scott Neff), and Recycled Trophies (with Aaron Beebe).