Learning Materials

Collage: Kenneth Halliwell


Collage is a visual art technique where the artwork is made by combining different forms, to create a new whole. Materials used can vary from newspaper, magazines and handmade paper to texts, photographs, and found objects.

Collage is a versatile technique that can be incorporated into lessons to explore

  • a variety of visual and tactile elements, including colour, pattern, texture, line and tone
  • creative starting points and how these can be developed into a range of ideas
  • opportunities for pupils to work on their own and collaboratively with their peers


Activity 1: Exquisite Corpses

Resource list

  • various magazines and/or newspapers
  • scissors
  • glue sticks
  • white paper
  • food colouring
  • PVA glue

Kenneth Halliwell was a British actor, writer and artist who is well known for his collages, created with his partner Joe Orton and also independently. His independent work often used layers of photographs combining images of architectural features, such as staircases, arches, doorways and windows, with human facial features.

  1. Split the class into smaller groups sitting at tables, ask them to cut out images from the magazines/ newspapers that represent either human features or parts of buildings
  2. Use these images to create Exquisite Corpses. Give each pupil a piece of paper, ask them to create a head and glue it to the top of the page. Then fold the paper over to hide the head.
  3. Remind pupils to be as imaginative as possible, for example show them how to substitute architectural features for human features (a window for an eye, a door for a mouth etc.)
  4. Mix some yellow food colouring or watercolour paint with PVA glue to create a coloured varnish. This can be applied to the collage t give it an aged effect.


Activity 2: Texture

Resource list

  • thick paper
  • watercolours
  • salt
  • acrylics
  • scissors
  • glue sticks
  • PVA glue
  • clear wax candles
  1. Give pupils 5 pieces of paper each. Paint each a different bright colour- pupils can choose whatever colour they like. Pupils could create textured colours by using: dilutted watercolour washes; thick acrylic paint; watercolour with salt granules sprinkled on top when wet (this creates a speckled effect); make marks on paper with clear wax and paint over the top with acrylic or watercolour paint
  2. In groups, bring all the pupils individual pieces of paper together to create a library of colours and textures.
  3. Then create challenges for each group: ask them to create a collage that represents a letter of the alphabet through imagery rather than text. For example, for the letter ‘Z’ pupils might use black and white stripes to give the suggestion of a zebra.
  4. The class then gathers together to view each group’s works and guess which letter is represented.

Collage tips

  • Try layering colours and textures
  • Try using torn edges, this gives an interesting effect when covered with a colour wash
  • Layer and layer again to create varied textures. Try creating a collage then painting over it and then drawing over that
  • Give the final piece a layer of gloss or PVA glue over the top for a shiny coat
  • Be creative when thinking of collage material. Possible examples could be:
  1. pages out of old books
  2. dictionary definitions
  3. phone directories
  4. colored tissue paper
  5. coffee filters
  6. pressed leaves and flowers
  7. cut outs from magazines
  8. wrapping paper
  9. playing cards and game pieces

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Kenneth Halliwell

To find out more about local artist Kenneth Halliwell’s life and work read our exhibition.

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