When I took away the magazines, the quality of the collage work my students were making went WAY up! I talked about Eric Carle and showed a few techniques for creating interesting papers. The students started making papers and not doing anything with them. I did another demonstration and showed how to make a picture out of the painted papers. I randomly picked a theme for my collage- can you guess what it was?
Yep, ocean. At least there was some variety but it's why I fought against making an example for so long. At least some branched out from the idea I showed and the students who used the same theme made some of their own choices.
So my plan for the coming school year is to start off with no magazines. I may use one suggestion from the Midwest TAB Facebook page and just snip color/pattern swatches from magazines. It would probably save a lot of students aimlessly flipping through magazines or just cutting out complete pictures they like with the intent of it making up the majority of their artwork. I may also snip eyes, noses, mouths, etc. Man, I need to buy some more little baskets to organize all my big plans...
Of course I had to throw a few mixed media pieces in this post. I think one of the positives of choice-based art is that the students aren't restricted to one medium. I've never been much of a purist when it comes to media!
Do your students do better collage work without magazines? How do you handle the issue in your room?