Book Review: Paper Collage

Paper Collage (Book Cover)

Paper Collage by Robin Capon. (1975). Newton, Massachusetts: Charles T. Branford Co. ISBN 978-0-823-17035-7

Paper Collage, by Robin Capon, is a book which explores the discipline of using paper in art. As Capon points out, paper has limitations, but by exploring how shape, color,  and texture interrelate, the artist can find "a freedom and almost immediate form of self-expression." (p. 7).

Capon uses text and images to demonstrate how paper can be used in collage: dividing and extending designs, folding, altering the surface (froissage), making silhouettes, as well as using decoupage, paper mosaics, and photo montage to add interest.

The strength of Paper Collage is in its images, all of which are in black and white. The collage techniques Capon uses as examples in the book highlight the wide range of textures, patterns, and tones that can be achieved even without color.

The book is relatively short - easily read in an evening - and contains some interesting insights. My only caveat is that some of the text is now dated, which, for me, weakens the book. Capon talks about using collage with "backward and abnormal children". I think probably the author was well meaning at the time, but the terminology turned me off a bit.

Still, Paper Collage is a solid, introductory book to the art of using and altering paper in collage. It is worth a look, if only for the imagery.