Book Review: The Collage Workbook by Randel Plowman

I have been thinking about doing book reviews for ages, I own that many art books, it is insane.  But I have put it off, because some are better than others and I did not want to say things that may offend people after they have invested so much of themselves in writing their book, because after any review is only a reflection of the person reviewing the book.  What I don’t love, may be what you do love.  I have been hesitant.  Also I have read plenty of reviews that aren’t really reviews I don’t think.  Just giving a bland description of the book that actually tells the reader very little.  So I wanted to be more useful than that.  :)

What I have decided on is a section of what I liked about the book and a section on what I didn’t like as much, and then any final comments that I feel like making!!  :)

The Collage Workbook: How to Get Started and Stay Inspired

by Randel Plowman

In the last wee while I have have read quite a few collage books, a new direction perhaps!  :)

What I liked about the book:

This was a good solid book and there was a lot to like about it.  I preface the review with the fact that I am a painter more than a collager so that is my bias.

There is excellent design and composition information at the front end of the book which is a really useful reference.  I found it really interesting and it was very clearly written and illustrated.

There were 50 prompts to explore as well, and he provides examples of where he went with the prompt.  Many of the prompts I thought were really good and prompts that would be easily translatable to an art journal or an art piece and there were quite a few that I want to explore further.

He also provides some images at the back you can scan and use if you wish, and digital downloads of the images are available at a website he provides.

I think the book is really good in terms of the prompts provided, and would be a good book for many mediums.

What I didn’t like quite so much:
The book did not really explore any new techniques or push the idea of collage to new levels, which may be understandable when all the work featured was his own so would be of the same general style.  It did feel very suited to beginners to collage rather than those wanting to take collage to new level or explore new avenues.

Last thoughts:

I found it a really good introduction book for beginners to collage, and it was not intimidating at all. He gives a good overview on the materials you require and getting started.  I am glad it was the first one I read, and I recommend it for the prompts if you are a prompty person and there were quite a few new prompts that I hadn’t seen before and you could taken them in all sorts of directions to inspire your work.

At the end of the day, the by-line of the book is how to get started and stay inspired and I think the book achieves both those objectives.  :)


4 thoughts on “Book Review: The Collage Workbook by Randel Plowman

  1. Good points made about reviewing….I have a TON of art books too and REALLY should feature some on my blog too…..thanks for inspiring me to do so. I have the book too and it is a good book on collage. Have a good Monday!

  2. I’m in agreement about this book. The design/composition chapters really shifted my thinking and pointed me in a new direction. I used a few of the prompts right away, and like you have others I want to go back to. I stepped away from it for a while because I felt I was only making collages that looked like his, but I learned some really valuable things from it that made it totally worth the purchase. (and yay for book reviews – bring on some more!)

  3. Good review! I recently bought this book, too, and I do really like it. It is basic, but his presentation is very organized and easy to follow. I like to do a lot more with paint and mixed media than he does, but I still learned some great ideas.

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