One of my favorite art forms is mixed media collage. To create it feels freeing and a very personal expression. It is also a very forgiving media to work with—mistakes can be the best part. It’s a little like abstract art in the sense that you as the creator make the “rules” so it can be anything you want it to be. As a fan, it has always intrigued me to look at, to really study a collage. To see each layer and how the artist picked each piece, and how the layers come together to create a one-of-a-kind vision.

One of my favorite artists is Ekua Holmes. The bright, beautiful colors of her gorgeous art have illustrated books by Kwame Alexander, Angela Joy and Marion Dane Bauer, among others. In 2014 she was asked to create the Google Doodle for Martin Luther King Jr Day. She has been honored with many awards, including the Coretta Scott King and Caldecott awards. Her art primarily consists of mixed media layering different materials like fabric, newspapers and photos to create vibrant collages. Inspired by moments shared with family, friends and neighbors, she says “”Those relationships left impressions that are now infused in the layers of my collages and elicit both fond recollections and universal life lessons….”

You can surely see those relationships, those inspirations in the layers. The more you look at one of her pieces, the more there is to see. To me, it is like reading a personal story in every picture. It is also a very accessible art form to try yourself. Just gather some materials and tell your story.

You can learn more about Ekua Holmes on her website. Take a look at a few of her illustrations in these books.

Out of Wonder By Kwame Alexander Illustrated by Ekua Holmes

Stuff of Stars By Marion Dane Bauer Illustrated by Ekua Holmes

Black is a Rainbow Color By Angela Joy Illustrated by Ekua Holmes