Fine Art Collage with Melinda Tidwell

Self-Study Class Includes Lifetime Access, Online Community & More!

6 Lessons – $72.25 $85

This class is part treasure hunt, part deconstruction and discovery, and part reconstruction and art-making. We will be using found and used books as our raw material, and so your journey begins at the thrift store and ends with some surprisingly cool pieces of art. Every part of this journey is interesting and fun. We will work on up to ten small collages.

Now available as a self-study class.

TEACHER: Melinda Tidwell

Class Description

Fine Art Collage with Melinda Tidwell

This class is part treasure hunt, part deconstruction and discovery, and part reconstruction and art-making. We will be using used books for our raw material so your journey begins at the thrift store and ends with some surprisingly cool pieces of art.  Every part of this journey is interesting and fun.

We will be deconstructing both hardback and paperback old books to mine them for materials for collage. We look at design principles for abstract composition, a bit of technique for gluing, and then a myriad of ways to alter book materials including: cutting, tearing, sanding, holepunching, sewing, drawing, punctures, etc.

In this three-week, six-lesson class we will work on up to ten small collages. I hope you’ll join me.



Some of Melinda’s collage work:




Class Itinerary

Lesson 1 – Deconstructing paperbacks. Abstract composition with simple shapes and color. 
Old discarded paperbacks have a lot to offer for collage. The covers, made of colorful printed card stock are rich with text, typography and graphics. In this lesson we harvest paperback covers, cut them into simple rectangular shapes, and use them to create our first book collages.

Lesson 2 – Using words and line art.
One of my great joys with using paperback is using the cover text. Pulling out a sentence here and there, besides being funny, can inspire the whole direction of your collage. And remember when you were a kid and novels were illustrated? This lesson combines that vintage line art imagery with small readable text to bring an extra layer of meaning into your collages.

Lesson 3 – Deconstructing hardbacks and exploring shape.
Discarded hardback books, especially old ones, are a treasure trove of materials for collage. In this lesson we deconstruct them into their parts: fabric, bookboard, binding mull; and then use these raw materials to explore shape in a series of collages.

Lesson 4 – Loosening up!
Because collage gives you such quick access to a myriad of options for your composition, it can also twist your brain into knots equally quickly. Decision fatigue sets in and you are no longer having fun. This lesson is meant to disrupt that process, push the reset button, and get you back to play and exploration.

Lesson 5 – Working with photography and title text. Visual weight.
In this lesson we are going to explore the idea of Visual Weight by using some of our heaviest collage elements: photography and title text. Both are bold and can easily overtake your composition. Worry not, they will be subdued!

Lesson 6 – Using line and finishing touches.
For our final lesson, let’s explore relatively quiet additions to your work that can give it a very satisfying intricacy upon closer viewing. Like any good symphony, your work is a combination of loud and soft passages mixing together. We will look at a variety of ways to add Line, and also quick refinements for finishing your collage.

Melinda Tidwell is an artist and instructor living in Santa Fe New Mexico. She is originally from SLC, UT and holds a BS in Mathematics from U of U. From there she went to LA and worked in the entertainment industry as a 3D computer animator for many years, before she escaped to the Bay Area to become a fine artist. Her work can be seen in galleries in Sun Valley ID, Seattle WA and Santa Fe, NM. She teaches workshops in her home studio and in venues around the country. See more of her work at


• old books you like: hardbacks with fabric covers, paperbacks

• about 10 sheets of 9″x12″ watercolor paper

• scissors

• exacto knife with new blade

• small cutting pad

• metal edge ruler

• plastic triangle – one 9″ side (optional)

• acrylic matte medium

• paintbrushes – 1/2″, 1″ flat

• sandpaper – 100, 200

• face mask for particulate sanding

• hole punches

• pencils, pens

• kneaded eraser, gum eraser

• embroidery thread & needles

• awl

Nuts & Bolts

This class is now available as a self-study class… instant access to all of the lessons!

A private Facebook group is available for you to (optionally) share your artwork and enjoy and learn from the artwork of others.

You will have indefinite access to this class.

“Your explanations and demonstrations are clear and substantial- I got just what I wanted. ” — Jan L.B.
“This [class] is hands down one of the best. You are a fabulous teacher and your critiques are so spot on and helpful. ” — Roberta W.
“I loved your videos, your ideas, and your relaxed good humor. ” — Gail R.W.