Creative Collage: Telling Stories in Layers

A course by Ellen Weinstein
Author and Illustrator. New York, United States.
Joined October 2019
, Author and Illustrator

Make visual narratives inspired by everyday scenarios, combining photography, painting, and digital tools

  • 97% positive reviews (75)
  • 1806 students
  • Audio: English
  • English, Spanish, Portuguese, German, French, Italian, Polish, Dutch

Make visual narratives inspired by everyday scenarios, combining photography, painting, and digital tools

  • 97% positive reviews (75)
  • 1806 students
  • 13 lessons (1h 57m)
  • 12 additional resources (0 files)
  • Online and at your own pace
  • Available on the app
  • Audio: English
  • English, Spanish, Portuguese, German, French, Italian, Polish, Dutch
  • Level: Beginner
  • Unlimited access forever

As a design tool, collage provides the freedom to move forms, mix different elements, and essentially play. Author and illustrator Ellen Weinstein uses it to tell stories inspired by the streets of her hometown, New York. As well as writing and illustrating books, she has created illustrations for clients including The New York Times, The Washington Post, and Time Magazine.

In this course, Ellen guides you through telling stories of your own through the medium of collage. Learn to combine painting, photography, and digital tools to build layered images that captivate viewers.

What will you learn in this online course?

Course table of contents

  • U1
    U1. Introduction
  • U2
    U2. Theory and Pre-Production
  • U3
    U3. Creating Your Collage
  • U4
    U4. Finalizing Your Work
  • FP
    FP Final project
View details

Get to know Ellen. Hear about how the streets of New York have influenced her work, as well as her training as an author and illustrator, and the artists and mediums which influence the designs she creates.

Ellen introduces you to the materials she works with, from scissors to cutting boards.Then, explore how to use animals to convey emotions and tell stories. Discover how to gather materials to inspire your designs, look for moments of magic in everyday life, and use your mobile phone as a sketchbook to build your own image library.

Time to create your collage! Choose a photograph and use it to tell a story. Experiment with the scale and color of an object for emphasis. Learn how to combine different materials and play around with composition and layers before adding text elements to your collage. Illustrate an animal portrait and place it into your scene.

Decide on a final layout for your collage and document different options on your smartphone. Then, paint any finishing touches before gluing down each of your elements. To finish the course, Ellen shows you how the processes you’ve learned can also work in Photoshop layers.

What is this course's project?

Create a layered collage that tells a story, featuring an anthropomorphic animal that best captures your personality.

Projects by course students

Who is this online course for?

This course is for anyone with an interest in expanding their creative practices and following their curiosity.

Requirements and materials

No previous experience is necessary.

You will need scissors, glue, paper, a color media of your choice, and other materials specified by the teacher in this course. A computer with Photoshop is optional.


1806 Students
75 Reviews
97% Positive ratings
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Ellen Weinstein

A course by Ellen Weinstein

Teacher Plus
Author and Illustrator

Ellen Weinstein is an illustrator, author, and regular contributor to The New York Times, The Atlantic, The Washington Post, Pentagram Design, and many others. She has won numerous awards from American Illustration, Communication Arts, the Society of Illustrators Society of News Designers, and Art Directors Club. Ellen illustrated the children’s book Yayoi Kusama: From Here to Infinity and is the author and illustrator of Recipes for Good Luck: The Superstitions, Rituals and Practices of Extraordinary People.

Her work is in the permanent collection of the Library of Congress. She also teaches at the School of Visual Arts in New York City and hosts lectures and workshops at art schools internationally.


  • U1


    • About Me
    • Influences
  • U2

    Theory and Pre-Production

    • Art Materials
    • Animals as Stand-Ins
    • Gathering Source Material
  • U3

    Creating Your Collage

    • Establishing Your Setting
    • Incorporating Your Object
    • Adding Text Elements
    • Including Your Animal
  • U4

    Finalizing Your Work

    • Arranging Your Elements
    • Adding Embellishments 1
    • Adding Embellishments 2
    • Sample Collage Review
  • FP

    Final project

    • Creative Collage: Telling Stories in Layers

What to expect from a Domestika course

  • Learn at your own pace

    Enjoy learning from home without a set schedule and with an easy-to-follow method. You set your own pace.

  • Learn from the best professionals

    Learn valuable methods and techniques explained by top experts in the creative sector.

  • Meet expert teachers

    Each expert teaches what they do best, with clear guidelines, true passion, and professional insight in every lesson.

  • Certificates

    If you're a Plus or PRO member, get a custom certificate signed by your teacher for every course. Share it on your portfolio, social media, or wherever you like.

  • Get front-row seats

    Videos of the highest quality, so you don't miss a single detail. With unlimited access, you can watch them as many times as you need to perfect your technique.

  • Share knowledge and ideas

    Ask questions, request feedback, or offer solutions. Share your learning experience with other students in the community who are as passionate about creativity as you are.

  • Connect with a global creative community

    The community is home to millions of people from around the world who are curious and passionate about exploring and expressing their creativity.

  • Watch professionally produced courses

    Domestika curates its teacher roster and produces every course in-house to ensure a high-quality online learning experience.


Domestika's courses are online classes that provide you with the tools and skills you need to complete a specific project. Every step of the project combines video lessons with complementary instructional material, so you can learn by doing. Domestika's courses also allow you to share your own projects with the teacher and with other students, creating a dynamic course community.

All courses are 100% online, so once they're published, courses start and finish whenever you want. You set the pace of the class. You can go back to review what interests you most and skip what you already know, ask questions, answer questions, share your projects, and more.

The courses are divided into different units. Each one includes lessons, informational text, tasks, and practice exercises to help you carry out your project step by step, with additional complementary resources and downloads. You'll also have access to an exclusive forum where you can interact with the teacher and with other students, as well as share your work and your course project, creating a community around the course.

You can redeem the course you received by accessing the redeeming page and entering your gift code.

If you're a Plus or PRO member, when you complete a course you'll instantly get your personalized certificate. You can see all your certificates in the Certificates section of your profile. You can download your certificates as PDFs and share the link online. Learn more about certificates
Creative Collage: Telling Stories in Layers. Illustration, and Craft course by Ellen Weinstein

Creative Collage: Telling Stories in Layers

A course by Ellen Weinstein
Author and Illustrator. New York, United States.
Joined October 2019
  • 97% positive reviews (75)
  • 1806 students