Lately I've been inventing little characters out of scraps of paper. Some are complete with arms and legs and others are more of a portrait, a "head shot" if you will. They are a bit of a riff on paper dolls, another project I enjoy making.
I start by drawing a series of faces on vintage ledger paper. Then I color them, cut them out and make each a wig from paper scraps. The wigs are fun to design because they set the tone for the character: would she like long straight hair or something curly? Outrageous color or something that looks realistic? How would she look with a hat or a flower behind her ear?
I have a big stack of scrapbook and other papers in my studio which allows me to mix and match patterns as I go. I draw body parts, cut out clothing shapes, and play with the layers until a character emerges. The background paper is chosen last after everything is ready to be glued together.
I like to mix different eras especially those with fanciful details like layered dresses, hats, and gloves. The faces tell me what they want to wear. Sometimes I'll start a character thinking "this one looks like a country girl" but suddenly she's demanding dark eyeshadow, a fabulous hat and a cocktail :)
I'm never quite sure what personality will emerge until the character's outfit is complete. Will she be romantic or demanding? Is she about to go shopping or gardening? Does she lead a fairy tale life or does she harbor a secret? Would she prefer Manhattan, New Orleans, or Marrakech?Making collage characters is like running my own version of "Project Runway" except my clients love all my designs and I'm in charge of the show :)