How to Organize Images for Collage

Why I store my collage images in Ziploc bags…

Over the years I have collected an enormous trove of images that I use in my personal art and journals as well as in my workshops and private sessions. Being able to find what I need when the inspiration strikes is the biggest challenge, so I’ve developed a way to organize them that works well for me. I tried a few different things along the way, from expandable file folders to 3 ring binders with clear sleeves, before settling in on gallon-sized ziplock bags. I know it may sound a bit odd, but I particularly like that the bags hold a ton of images and are easy to access. Stored in a sturdy woven plastic tote with handles, I can easily transport them to my workshops and to friends’ studios for journaling play days. In my studio are a set of stack-able plastic drawers devoted to collage images, so that when I’m on the go, I can pull the bags I need and leave the rest behind.

Sorting by Category

As I began sorting my images, I found that my categories created themselves. Some of them are pretty basic, like People, Faces, Landscapes, and Animals. Others are specific to my quirky personality and you will probably find the same to be true for you. I learned a lot about myself in the process of categorizing my pictures, discovering patterns and personal symbols I didn’t even know I had. You’ll see. In addition to images, I have a bag of words, letters, and phrases collected from assorted magazines. One bag is just patterns and textures, and others are grouped by color. After sorting my images, I label the front of each bag with a Sharpie so they’re easy to read.

About Beth Marcil

Beth Marcil is a well-recognized Maui artist who also leads SoulCollage® workshops and Visual Journaling as well as private coaching sessions. She blends her many years of art training with her love of healing and the creative process.

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