Collage Portraits

Collage Portraits

Capture the likeness of yourself or a friend using the process of collage. Experiment with two collage styles: papier collé and photomontage. Choose the style that works best according to your available materials.


  • Heavy Weight Paper
  • Assorted Papers 
  • Magazine Clippings
  • Markers
  • Scissors
  • Glue Stick
  • Pencil

Step 1: Choose a face shape for the portrait. Faces can be round, diamond, oblong, heart-shaped, oval, or square. 

Step 2: Sketch the face shape. Begin by sketching a vertical line down the center of the face. Next, sketch a horizontal line along the eye line. Then outline the outside contour line of the face shape. 

Step 3: Choose a collage style. This tutorial experiments with two styles: papier collé and photomontage. Papier collé means “pasted paper” or “paper cut-out.” It is a collaging technique in which printed or decorated paper is applied to a flat surface. The photomontage is a collage created by cutting and gluing photographs to create a new image. 

Step 4: To begin a papier collé, choose an assortment of colored and printed papers. 

Step 5: Cut shapes and place them onto the face. Do not apply glue until the placement is final. 

Step 6: When you’re confident in the placement, glue the first layer of shapes. 

Step 7: Add features such as eyelashes, eyebrows, bangs, lips, nose, etc.

Step 8: Use markers or other drawing mediums to accentuate the features and add background texture. 

Step 9: To begin a photomontage, search through favorite magazines or photos and cut out the ones to use in the collage. 

Step 10: Experiment with the placement of the photos. Apply glue when the images are in their final places. 

Ideas to take collage portraits to the next level:

  • Incorporate nature into your collage. Use leaves, sticks, and dried flowers as elements of your portrait. 
  • Create drawings on paper and use them in a papier collé collage.

Learning and Discussion Questions:

1. There are a variety of collage styles. Read this article to learn more about the collage process. 

2. Pablo Picasso and Georges Braque were both making papier collés at the end of 1912 and the beginning of 1913, often incorporating newspaper clippings as a way of blurring the distinction between high art and the everyday. Visit to learn more about papier collé. 

Thank you to our sponsor, PNC Arts Alive!, for helping to make this video possible!

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