Going digital – why I’m dumping my paper ephemera collection

Being stuck indoors for the last three months has changed my thinking on hoarding art supplies. Pre-pandemic, it was totally fine to have stacks and stacks of books, papers, and ephemera– because I (basically) had everything in boxes and semi-organized, and eventually I’d use them. Who cares if they took up literally 1/3 of my (tiny) room, were impossible to sort through, and kept falling over at the worst times?

But THEN I had to stay next to those piles of junk all day, every day. Navigating around them 24/7 for 90+ days sucked a lot of the joy of having vintage ephemera, and now they don’t feel that important. In fact, my ephemera collection feels confining.

Making a big artistic decision

So I’m switching up my creative process. I very much enjoy doing paper collages and mixed media journals, and I still plan on doing that. There’s a special mindset switch that happens when you put paint to paper which I don’t want to lose. But neither can I afford to use all my personal space for something that makes me feel trapped and anxious.

I’m paring down my physical paper collection to the essentials, and really make sure what’s left is what I REALLY want. I’ve already started selling my stacks of magazines, vintage postcards, and extra art supplies.

I’m also changing my focus to digital collage.

Instead of carrying around dozens of pens, paper snippets, journals, and paint pots, all I need is ONE tool: my computer. Not only will this clear some space in my home, but I can make art ANYWHERE, as long as I have that computer. I’ve been doing digital collages for about a year, but it’s only recently that I seriously started considering them as my (close to) full-time art style.

And weirdly enough, I’ve found myself getting very close into the same mindset I do when I make physical paper collages. After about 20 minutes I get into a meditative mindset where I stop thinking about outside things and worry only about finding the next piece of the collage.

Digital collage can be really fun!

Here’s some of the digital collages I’ve made in the last few months:


Pineapple Princess

Waiting for a Letter

Dolly Sisters

They’re very similar in style to my physical collages, which is great. I worried that I’d lose my personal art style by switching to digital, but it actually has been very easy. I’ve also started experimenting with creating my own graphics and using them in collages, and then taking those collages and turning them into physical products. And I don’t have a trash can full of clippings at the end of it! Huzzah!

Want to learn more?

Are you interested in trying out digital collage as well? I’m planning a series of posts talking about how to get started, tips from my own experiences, and ideas for what to do with them once you finish.

Keep an eye on this space for more!

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