Painted Botanical Collage: Create Flowers, Succulents, and Herbs from Cut Paper and Mixed Media

Painted Botanical Collage: Create Flowers, Succulents, and Herbs from Cut Paper and Mixed Media

by Tracey English


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With Painted Botanical Collage, artists of all skill levels will learn to create lifelike botanical artwork—featuring flowers, succulents, and herbs—using painted background papers and elegant collage techniques.

A unique technique book, Painted Botanical Collage will show you how to create your own collage materials. This guide takes you step by step through creating mixed-media painted papers, then using them—along with tissue paper, art papers, and found paper, such as magazines—to create perfect collage materials. Cut these decorative papers into plant and flower parts to assemble your designs, adding details using various media.

Working from nature is central to this technique—look closely at the palettes and shapes in actual flowers to create realistic stylized representations. Painted Botanical Collage includes instruction on creating flowers, cacti, succulents, leaves, and other popular botanicals—over 30 beautiful designs in all.

Join in the fun as British artist Tracey English shares the methods behind the magical flower collages that charm and delight her Instagram followers.  

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781631595295
Publisher: Quarry Books
Publication date: 10/16/2018
Pages: 96
Product dimensions: 8.30(w) x 9.90(h) x 0.40(d)

About the Author

As a child of two artists, Tracey English was destined to work in a creative field. With experience as a textile designer and color forecaster, Tracey currently specializes in illustration and pattern design. She works on commissions and licenses her designs for books, magazines, gifts, and stationary. Tracey English is based in South West London.

Read an Excerpt


Getting Started

Finding Inspiration

Where to begin when there are so many choices and amazing shapes, colors, and textures found in every type of plant and flower? Get inspired by visiting a nearby florist or taking a walk around your garden, local parks, or plant center. A gardening magazine can be a useful reference, and there are always images on the Internet. I started my flower collages as a sketchbook project, making small studies of plants and flowers that I found in our tiny city garden over one summer. By looking at the shapes and textures, you can re-create collage papers inspired by the nature that surrounds you. I love the way nature grows in unity and creates patterns all on its own — leaves intertwine and flowers snake around each other, taking care to intermingle at just the right moment to create perfect harmony and a whole wealth of inspiration. A single houseplant, a leaf sprig collected on a walk, or a rose in a vase is enough to get you started. Simple shapes and solid colors are the perfect way to begin snipping out your first creation.

Materials and Tools

The following is a complete list of tools and materials that can be used to create the projects in this book. Start with some basics — scissors, craft paints, scrap papers, glue, fine-point pens, a sheet of stiff paper — and get started. As you continue to experiment, you can gather more supplies, try different adhesives to find your favorite, experiment with more sources of paper, use different drawing media for detail work, and experiment with substrates.


• Scissors (large/small): I prefer to use children's scissors, as they are nice and small, making it easy to cut tiny pieces.

• Scalpel blade or craft knife for awkward shapes


• PVA craft glue

• Mod Podge

• Gel medium

• Glue stick

• Paper for Collage

• Cartridge paper

• Deli paper

• Tissue paper

• Magazines and newspapers

• Found papers

Color and Line

• Liquid acrylics

• Colored pencils

• Fine-liner pens


• Heritage paper

• Card stock

• Bristol board

• Found paper

• Watercolor paper


• Brushes

• Sponge

• Old loyalty/credit card

• Paper palette or plate

• Old jam jars for water and glue


Creating Background Papers

Color Mixing Strategies

For botanical collages, it is useful to have a varied collection of different green paints. Using different hues together, you can create great depth and texture on the collage papers to create papers for the leaves and stalks.

Flowers are often much more diverse. Sometimes, you will want to mix analogous colors (colors that look similar) to try and reproduce the quality of the petals. Sometimes, you will want to combine complementary colors (colors on opposite sides of the color wheel).

Basic Collage Techniques

Collage is the process of cutting out shapes from paper and adhering them onto a final surface. It is a wonderful, flexible, and creative medium and one that doesn't require extensive art-making experience. It's as easy for beginners to learn as it is for seasoned professional artists.

Collage can be created with recycled paper, magazine pages, colored papers, paper that you have painted yourself, or even a combination. There really are no hard-and-fast rules.

The flowers we will create are simplified into more manageable shapes and color combinations. The textures you will observe open up endless possibilities for exploring new ways of working.

Setting Up a Workspace

An empty table with good natural light or a desk light is all that is necessary to work with collage techniques. Place your flowers or photographic reference on a white sheet of paper, so that there are no distractions and it's easier to see the different textures, colors, and forms.

Place some old newspaper on the table and some kitchen paper, newspaper, or a tea towel to the left- hand side of your workstation; this is for drying the prepared collage papers once painted. The chosen paint hues, palette, scissors, and paintbrushes can be placed on the other side of your workspace.

Cleaning Up and Storage

A mini vacuum or a dustpan and brush are handy for getting rid of all the little bits of paper snips from your collage creation.

Keep larger pieces of leftover collage paper to use for future projects. A flat box or small chest is useful for this, especially if you want to store paper in color groups.

It's always handy to have a trolley or rolling cart to keep paints, glue, brushes, and other equipment; you can be fairly mobile about where you work, and it's easy to stash your supplies when you're finished creating.

Creating Your Own Background Papers

1. Choose the flower or plant you wish to create.

2. Select the colors that can be seen within the object.

3. After selecting the paint, squeeze or pour the chosen hues onto the palette.

4. Arrange the paper to be collaged on some old newspaper and then loosely mix the colors together on the palette before applying them to the chosen paper. My preference is to use a wide, flat-ended brush to apply the paint, but you can use a brush of your choice. Layer paint and add texture as you go along to create the colors and patterns in the plants. (See the two examples that follow.)

Leaf Example Series

1. Apply the base color in a loose fashion. Make wide strokes, dab or drag your brush, or apply the paint in irregular fashion.

2. Apply a second shade of paint, allowing some of the first color to show through.

3. Add a third color to create more depth.

4. Use a hairdryer to speed up the drying time, if desired.


Excerpted from "Painted Botanical Collage"
by .
Copyright © 2018 Tracey English.
Excerpted by permission of The Quarto Group.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Table of Contents

Introduction, 7,
Chapter 1: Getting Started, 8,
Chapter 2: Creating Background Papers, 14,
Chapter 3: Flower Collage Projects, 26,
About the Author, 94,

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