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Digital Collage in Photoshop: Map Of A Collection

Map Of A Collection, Lauryn Welch
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Create a poster design diagraming a collection of items.

Core Ideas

design, text, organization, communication, composition

Recommended Tutorials


Art Supplies: Pencil
Art Supplies: Strathmore Softcover Sketchbook
Smart Phone
Wacom Tablet & Stylus


Choose a collection of items & photograph them for reference.

I like to guess what other people might be like based on the food they buy at the grocery store, so I took a picture of the groceries the person in front of me was buying for my collection.

Map Of A Collection, Lauryn Welch

In your sketchbook, make a Mind Map of how these items relate to each other.

Watch the video below starting at 03:28 for how to make a Mind Map.

Map of a Collection, Lauryn Welch

Create thumbnails of how these objects can be organized based on their relationships to each other.

Map Of A Collection, Lauryn Welch

Open Photoshop to a new 24×30” canvas.

Map Of A Collection, Lauryn Welch


Start by creating a background. It could be a bunch of shapes, or a simple gradient or fill color, but keep it very simple.

Map Of A Collection, Lauryn Welch

Draw each object. Use a new layer for each object. You can nickname your layers to keep track of which is which.

For tips on layers in Photoshop, watch the video below.

Map Of A Collection, Lauryn Welch

If you use more than one layer per object, create a layer group of those layers.

Map Of A Collection, Lauryn Welch

Drag and drop layers of similar objects into the same group.

Map Of A Collection, Lauryn Welch

Arrange your objects on the canvas by selecting the corresponding layer(s), and then dragging the object on the canvas.

You can also make your object bigger or smaller while it is selected. Refer back to your thumbnails for how you want to organize your collection.

Map Of A Collection, Lauryn Welch

Add text. Remember that your images should take precedence over your text, so only type what you think is absolutely necessary and relevant.

Map Of A Collection, Lauryn Welch

Create another new layer for your poster collection title. Draw it big and bold enough so that it is easy to read between all of your items.

Make sure the typeface harmonizes with the rest of the text.

Map Of A Collection, Lauryn Welch

Save as a TIFF file which does not compress the image. If you’re taking the poster to a printer, save as a JPEG at 300 DPI (printing standard).

Map Of A Collection, Lauryn Welch
Map Of A Collection, Lauryn Welch

“I had a hard time at first trying to decide what kind of collection I was going to map. I am a collector at heart, I have dolls, postcards, stickers etc etc. if I was going to do a map of a collection I wanted it to be a collection of items that I could connect to each other in more than just that they were a bunch of the same object. But in the end I decided on historical garments, and I’m so happy I did!

They were dissimilar enough and followed a sequence (which to put on first) that I could map out. I had a lot of fun putting this together. It took a little research to add to what I already knew about the dress of the time period. I some difficulty working to make sure everything was placed in a pleasing manner and fitting the text in well. Definitely a design challenge. I had to change the dimensions of the canvas several times.

If I had been doing it traditionally instead of digitally I would have had to plan and have more forethought about the placement of everything.  I really enjoyed making a little educational piece of art in something I’m passionate about.”

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