Collagraph: Morocco (making a collagraph with mat board and construction paper)

a collagraph print of a moroccan collonade with scalloped keystone arches and a figure standing at the far end
Morocco 6.5 x 4.5 Collagraph print, painted with Watercolor

What Inspires Your Art?

I’ve always felt riveted by and drawn to the art, architecture and cultural styles of Morocco. Their particular flavor of color, detail and design is stunning. I have books on Orientalist paintings (this one is a favorite) that make me swoon with their painterly renderings of embellished walls, tiled floors, colored glass lanterns, and hand-printed fabrics.

On My Art Library Book Shelves

There are several painters whose work in these regions projected my affinity to new heights, like this one by John Singer Sargent, and this one by Frederick Arthur Bridgman (I have his book Winters in Algeria), or this one by Sir Lawrence Alma-Tadema.  Sigh. See what I mean? It’s all very theatrical, adorned-by-an-artisan’s-hands and punctuated with narrative suggestion. You can spend hours going down the rabbit hole of orientalist art pinned to boards on Pinterest. 

How Do You Make a Collagraph?

This pictorial demonstration of a collagraph was inspired by my love for orientalist style, and the Brand Library in Glendale, California. I snapped reference photos on site, and used one of them as inspiration for this collagraph. If you’d like more details on building a collagraph plate for printmaking, I’ve posted two 5-minute videos on the process here and here. This collagraph is a slight variation on the video tutorials, using glued down shapes drawn & cut from kid-grade construction paper. Either method of plate-building, the process is incredibly fun.

building a mat board collagraph plate
Building the plate with a mat board base and kid-grade construction paper, and adhering the cut-out pieces with Liquitex Gloss Medium & Varnish
a matboard collagraph plate up close
Just after sealing the plate with a few coats of Gloss Medium & Varnish, I used an exactly knife to score added line details into the wet paper to suggest floor tiles. These tiny furrows will hold ink.

Ink being applied to the plate, and then wiped off with rolled up newspaper
Since I planned to print this collagraph intaglio style, I’m Inking & wiping the plate, while still leaving ink nestled against curbs and cutouts in the paper.
a hand lifting the printed paper off the inked plate after the two were pressed together
After running a sheet of printmaking paper through the press to apply pressure against the inked plate, I’m pulling the print. You can see how ink nestled in the recessed areas on the plate transfers nicely to the paper.

a black and white print next to a mat board and construction paper plate
The collagraph print on the left, and the plate just after printing. After the print dries, I can add other media, like watercolor, colored pencil, gouache, etc.
A print with a paint brush and a pair of glasses nearby, fully hand colored with watercolor
Another print from the edition, getting a watercolor treatment in slightly different colors than the print at the top of this post. So many options!


I’m ramping up matting and framing for Spring Art Festivals; Save the dates!

Invite friends & family to go for a stroll;

April 28 & 29
San Diego Artwalk, Little Italy
Booth #150 on Beech Street, between Columba & India
May 5 & 6th
Sierra Madre Art Fair
Memorial Park
222 W. Sierra Madre Blvd (at Hermosa Ave)

Give it a Go

If you’d like to make a collagraph plate, I’ll link a playlist of helpful tutorials I posted on my youtube channel here, and if you’re a book-learner, have a look at Brenda Hartill’s Collagraphs and Mixed Media Printing (at your library, since it’s out of print) or Ann D’Arcy Hughes’ The Printmaking Bible, or John Ross’ The Complete Printmaker.

Spring Fling with Art

I hope you have a stash of inspiration, either in books, your immediate surroundings, vacation photos, films, imagininitive wanderings or the science of weather. May whatever makes your eyes happy sneak down your arms and escape through your fingers in the form of art-making in March. Just like the time change here in the US – let’s Spring Forward and make something soon.

Thanks for visiting and I’ll see you in the next post –


P.S. Did I tell you about the new course I published on How to Title Your Art? No? Well, here’s a coupon code to get $6 off – enough savings for a slice of pie – till Sunday, March 18th. Type LETSGETSTARTED during checkout for the discount. Happy Titling! 🙂   

Art Quote

Just slap anything on when you see a blank canvas staring you in the face like some imbecile. You don’t know how paralyzing that is, that stare of a blank canvas is, which says to the painter, ‘You can’t do a thing’. The canvas has an idiotic stare and mesmerizes some painters so much that they turn into idiots themselves. Many painters are afraid in front of the blank canvas, but the blank canvas is afraid of the real, passionate painter who dares and who has broken the spell of `you can’t’ once and for all.
~Vincent Van Gogh

Click the Graphic to peruse the details of the course I published to help you Title your Art

6 thoughts on “Collagraph: Morocco (making a collagraph with mat board and construction paper)”

  1. Pingback: Figurative Collagraph Printmaking - Printing Intaglio, and Relief, and Adding Other Media - Belinda Del Pesco

  2. Pingback: Collagraph: Rainy Day Girl - Belinda Del Pesco

  3. Patti Koscheski

    Art is my cheap psychologist [even if you total all my art supplies] for many years. I pick up a drawing instrument of any kind some pigments of any media, and a brush. My blood pressure decreases, I am at peace just starting a work of art. Art elevates me above mundane areas of my life.

    1. Beautifully articulated, Patti! I couldn’t have said it better. And I’ll bet many others reading this will be nodding their heads in agreement. Art-making is a secret fountain of wellness and restoration. Bravo to you for reaching for it all these years. I’m near your seat, working alongside, and enjoying every minute.Happy making to you!

Write something.... pretend we're neighbors, and we’re painting watercolors together in the garden....