I almost always use some sort of photographic reference when drawing or painting. And while the following example doesn't involve collage, per se, I frequently combine drawing and painting with collage. But today's post is about the time I used this photo as inspiration for a a lithograph:
At the time, I was taking a lithography class, and I decided to draw this beauty as my very first litho, ever!
It's not the best drawing, and definitely not the best lithograph. But for my first time drawing on a stone, I have to say; it was such a pleasurable experience! Staring at this woman while drawing her gave me a sense of connection. It inspired me later to do a series of painting of my ancestors whom I never knew. I would make up these little stories about them... what they were like, what they had done the day they have their portrait taken, and what they might think of me painting them today -- in some cases nearly 130 years later.
But even if you don't have your own ancestor's photographs, you can certainly take advantage of someone else's. Use them in your mixed-media collages, paintings, book art, altered art, ACEO, and more! I have a small but precious lot of photo's for sale, including the one above here.
And by the way, on the back of her photograph is her hand-written name: "Shortie" Westbrook. As a tall woman myself, I imagine that the nickname was poking fun at the fact that she was actually quite tall. But who knows?!