Colour and Collage for Beginners

Discover the highly creative realm of collage, while learning the art of visual composition. The Colour & Collage for Beginners course is structured into 4 Terms. These terms run consecutively throughout the year corresponding with the WEA Term calendar. Term 1 begins with basic knowledge of the visual language. Each successive term builds on that knowledge. This means knowledge is gained progressively throughout the year. There is flexibility within this structure so that students may join at any time of the year.


  • Short History of Collage in the 20th century explained: methods and materials presented. Design Principles overview: compositional elements, principles and structures are explained. Colour theory is presented.
  • Line, Colour and Tone used as compositional elements with the principles of repetition, rhythm. Structures of balance and unity are introduced. Contrast of hue colour scheme explored.
  • Unity and harmony in composition through Shape are explored – positive /negative space. eg. contrast, harmony, rhythm, repetition e.g. Braque, Kurt Schwitters and Marca Relli. Complimentary colour scheme explored.
  • Balance by Value and Colour – Asymmetrical balance explored using variations of visual weight. Composing with colour harmonies, contrasts and tones. e.g. Kurt Schwitters, Matisse and Robert Rauschenberg. Warm and cool colour scheme explored.
  • Continuation and Placement exploring eye direction. Complementary colour scheme explored. e.g. Robert Rauschenberg
  • Proximity, repetition and unity. Analogous colour explored. eg. Robert Rauschenberg and Kurt Schwitters
  • Continuity and the Grid, using unity and repetition. Contrast of Saturation explored. eg Klutzis
  • Emphasis and Focal Point to create dominance. Contrast of Extension explored. e.g. Picasso and Severini.
  • Placement and Emphasis to create eye path and movement explored. Triadic colour scheme introduced. e.g. Marca Relli
  • Scale and Scale Confusion. Complementary opposite colour scheme explored. e.g. Max Ernst, and Raoul Hausmann.
  • Balance using Texture and Shape. Warm and cool colour scheme explored e.g. Kurt Schwitters

By the end of this course, student should be able to:

  1. Become familiar with the elements of line, shape, tone, colour and texture. and principles involved in composition.
  2. Use the principles of composition, including direction, contrast and harmony, repetition and rhythm and dominance, to create structured compositions which are balanced and unified.
  3. Learn the colour theory of Johannes Itten, through experiments using colour harmonies and contrasts.
  4. Discover a range of collage movements in 20th century art, as well as artists known in this field.
  5. Learn to manipulate materials within a structure, as well as using their intuition. Ie. learn to use the whole brain ie. right and left hand sides of the brain.


  • 2B pencil, black pen
  • Hard white eraser eg. Staedler
  • Scissors, Snap-off blade
  • UHU glue stick

Essential Papers:

  • Arches Watercolour Smooth A4 (210 × 297mm) – 15 sheet pad 185gms
  • 1 A4 pad matt Assorted Grey Papers A4 eg Mi Tientes or an assortment of grey sheets.

Optional Papers:

  • Any papers that interest you eg: coloured magazine papers, transport tickets, labels, old scrap books or second hand books you are prepared to cut up, architects tracing paper, photocopied papers or any printed material etc.
  • Any textured papers or materials screen, paper doilies, sanding papers, shiny paper

Optional Materials:

  • 1 Pkt A4 ‘ neutral colours’ card
  • Scalpel knife
  • Plastic cutting board

IMPORTANT: Materials cost is not included in a course fee. In the event of a course being cancelled WEA cannot be held responsible for the purchase of any course materials. We therefore suggest you purchase your materials closer to the time of the course commencing.


  • The Art Scene on campus at UNSW Art & Design (formerly UNSW COFA), Ph: 02 8815 1569. Cnr Oxford St. and Greens Rd Darlinghurst.
  • Oxford Art Supplies 221-223 Oxford Streets, Darlinghurst, Ph: 02 9360 4066.
  • Bondi Road Art Supplies 179 Bondi Road Bondi. Ph: 9387 3746.
  • Eckersley’s Art and Craft Store 93 York Street Sydney, Ph: 02 9299 4151. Also at North Sydney, St Leonards, Chatswood, Caringbah, Parramatta & more.

Enquire at your art shop for a Student’s Discount with your WEA course receipt.

This course has no current classes. Please join the waiting list by clicking .

Course testimonials:

  • Excellent course. I learnt a great deal about collage and colour. Tutor very good and has excellent skills in training and her own craft. Will be joining again.