Illustration Exercise: Statement to Collage

Illustration Exercise: Statement to Collage


This exercise helps the delegates practice visualising a given statement. In the process they will practice composition, working with limited resources, working under time pressure, making a visual story and get to exercise their creative expression and style.


Interpret a given statement visually by making a collage using the cut outs and resources provided.

What You Need

  • A number of cut outs of pictures. These can be anything you want as it allows you set the level of difficulty of the exercise. Consider the following:
    • Pictures of people in various poses, like running, sitting, sleeping, fighting, arguing, walking, waiting, etc.
    • Different facial expressions such as laughing, anger, boredom, smiling, crying, etc.
    • Pictures of different animals, trees or other life forms.
    • Pictures of inanimate objects such as chairs, beds, tables, lamps, pots, dishes, etc.
    • Unusual pictures for potential dramatization such as a dragon, unicorn, orc, bigfoot, dinosaur, alien or other mythical creatures.
  • Glue
  • Scissors
  • Small cards similar in size to a standard post card
  • One statement for each delegate. Choose the statements to bias the exercise towards a direction of your choice. The statements will be interpreted visually, so choose statements that can be visualised or can be made into a story. Ideal statements are those expressed in different ways by different people as this can give the exercise much more depth. This allows you to focus on both the crafts and the poetry.


  • Place all the cut outs on a large table for everyone to access.
  • Get the delegates to sit around this table so they can have an easy access to all the images, scissors and glues.
  • Give a statement and a card to each delegate.
  • Explain that they can visually express their statements by making a collage on their cards using the resources provided.
  • The focus is on making a visual story. Delegates can draw and write a text bubble on their cards if they wish, though they should aim to keep the text short so the text and the images can all fit in the space provided.
  • Allocate 15 minutes for this part.
  • Ask everyone to place their finished work on a separate table.
  • Get everyone to review the collages. Ask each person to give a quick one-minute presentation on their design choices and artistic style.
  • Encourage others to provide feedback and ask questions.
  • Follow with a discussion.


Explaining the Exercise: 5 minutes

Activity: 15 min main activity + 15 min review and presentations = 25 minutes

Group Feedback: 2 minutes


How difficult was it to work with the limited resources? How difficult was it to visualise the statement? Did you use common visual symbols in your composition? Could others “read” your collage and understand the story? Did they use visual symbols that you could have used too? What was most inspiring aspect of this exercise for you? If you want to make another collage, what new designs or ideas would you consider?

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