17 Apr

Mood Collage

Posted in Creativity, DIY MFA, Tips, Writing

Remember back in grade school when we used to cut up magazines and glue pictures together to make beautiful artwork?  Well, believe it or not, collaging is actually a great way for writers to explore and express the mood of their project.

I actually learned the benefits of this technique when I was in art school.  “Mood boards” were an integral part of each portfolio presentation and we learned the importance of capturing the essence of a project through imagery.

How do you make a mood collage?  There are no rules.  You can clip pictures from magazines or cut out letters and words in different fonts.  It doesn’t even need to be concrete objects or words; you make a cool background by using printed fabrics or pretty papers.  Use whatever inspires you.  Lay out the pieces in a way that inspires you and move things around until you’ve got a design that you love.  Finally, break out the glue-stick or glue-gun and start sticking the pieces down.

I happen to have Photoshop and I’m into that techie stuff so I actually do my collages digitally.  That way I can print them out in different sizes, email them to people or even post them here on the blog.  To that end, here are a few mood collages I’ve done.  The ones included below are for products I’ve designed, but the same idea applies to mood collages for writing projects.

Mood collage for a road trip project.

Mood collage for a tween fashion project

Mood collage for a project representing the experiences
of girls and women from different cultures.

Homework: Set aside an hour sometime this next week to make a mood collage for your work-in-progress.  Clip pictures from magazines or print images you find online and cut them up.  If you like, while you’re clipping pictures and gluing, listen to some mood music that inspires your story.  The idea with this project is to get completely immersed in the mood of your work-in-progress.

Once you’ve finished your collage, give it a place of honor in your writing space.  You could even take a picture and share with us it on the DIY MFA FB page if you like.  Can’t wait to see what you all come up with!

Now you tell me: what do you do to capture the mood of your current writing project?


Comments on this post

  1. Kerryn Angell says:

    I love collages! I made my first one since school last year as a kind of mood board for my life. It was literally anything and everything that cause my eye. I didn't questions why I just admired the pretty. It's also given me a great excuse to collect magazines. 🙂

    1. J.C. Martin says:

      I love collages, but I kinda suck at them. What I have instead is a folder of images on my computer.

      Oh, and here's a pic that was truly inspirational when I wrote an erotic short story with a mythological theme…;)

      Warning: the contents of this picture is HOT!!


      1. Najela says:

        We did this exact same thing for playwriting and I'm kind of proud of mine. I have no idea where it is now, but it's a cool way of setting the mood for a story visually.

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