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30 Dogs 30 Days - How to Make a Mixed Media Dog Portrait

Here's a fun project to do with your kids or a group of friends or a group of kid-like friends. This is a workshop I've done with elementary students as well as adults, and it's always a good time.

Materials needed:
substrate (paper, a journal/sketchbook page, a panel, cardboard, whatever)
collage papers/magazines to cut from
a photo of your dog printed to the scale you wish to use
paint pens/opaque markers
acrylic paints and brushes (optional)
  1. Choose a substrate of the desired end size. Plan ahead if you are thinking of framing this, and work in a standard size so that you can slip the piece right into an off-the-shelf frame. OPTIONAL: Paint the substrate one solid background color using the acrylic paint (in my example, the background was first painted teal).
  2. Cut your dog photo out so that you have the silhouette of his/her body
  3. Brainstorm a list of your dogs' favorite commands/words. Using a different colored/patterned collage paper, cut out thought bubbles for each command. You can size/shape these however you wish.
  4. Cut out a banner/strip piece of collage paper to use for your dog's name. You can size/shape this however you wish.
  5. WITHOUT GLUE, play with the placement of your objects on the substrate. Experiment with overlapping the various shapes. Cut out/create new shapes as needed. Pay attention to the colors you are using as well as any patterning. Move things about until you have an interesting design. Use your phone to take a photo of the design.
  6. Glue your pieces into place. Refer to your phone as needed to recreate the placement of each piece.
  7. With acrylic paints/paint pens, add any desired detail to the background spaces (I have used a harlequin pattern and some dots)
  8. Add lettering to your thought bubbles. Vary your lettering for added interest. If you don't like your handwriting, use stamps or cut out letters from a magazine. In this example, the thought bubbles are lettered with a black sharpie, the dog's name with paint pens.
  9. Scribble a perimeter of color around your dog's silhouette. I used an opaque paint pen.
  10. Add decorative borders to your thought bubbles with paint pens/acrylic paints. Consider adding rays around the word/command that is his/her favorite, like I did with "frisbee"
  11. Connect your thought bubbles to the dog's head with a trail of dots, graduating from smaller (closest to his head) to larger (at the thought bubble)
  12. Sign and date the piece - if you don't want to do this on the front, that's ok, put it on the back. Trust me, you'll be glad it's there down the road.
Share you collages with me, either by commenting on the blog or adding them to the thread on Facebook. I'd love to see them, as would others!

Warmly, Kim


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