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NYT Paper Trail: Traditional & Digital Collages

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Make a personal map of how you read a newspaper.

Core Ideas

design, humor, composition, typography, collage

Related Tutorials

Traditional Collage Supplies

Visit our Art Supplies section for ideas on collage supplies.

Art Supplies: Acrylic Paint
Art Supplies: Mod Podge
X-acto knife
Art Supplies: Scissors
Art Supplies: Canvas Stretcher
Art Supplies: Gluestick
Art Supplies: Strathmore Bristol Board
Art Supplies: Cutting Mat
Art Supplies: Kevlar Glove
Watercolor paints
Art Prof Caution

Utility Knives & X-Acto knives are extremely sharp and it’s really easy to cut yourself by accident!  Always wear a kevlar glove on your hand which is not holding the knife to prevent injuries. 


Examine your copy of the New York Times.

New York Times Collage, Eloise Sherrid

Note what sections attract your interest, the order in which you read them, and the sections you linger versus the sections you skip.

New York Times Collage, Eloise Sherrid

Using the physical newspaper itself, create a “map” of your journey through the New York Times.

For tips on painting with Photoshop, watch our Digital Illustration video.

New York Times Collage, Eloise Sherrid

Try designing the map on a single page as if it were for a walking tour, with the different sections of the newspaper represented as physical locations.

New York Times Collage, Eloise Sherrid

Come up with traveler’s tips: “Be careful not to fall down the rabbit hole that you’ll find on the Politics page!”

For tips on collage, watch our tutorial on Visual Journaling.

New York Times Collage, Eloise Sherrid


Ro Antia

Ro Antia

I actually used to read the New York Times before making this. Unfortunately, I read it digitally and was really not excited to create a digital collage, so I asked my friend for a copy. I read through it, and realized that the front cover page is very much a road map to most of what you’ll find in that edition of the Times.

I then used the cover along with the section headers After creating the collage, I decided it might read more like a map if I put it in the context of a phone navigation app, so I recreated the frame which I feel like I could have done more efficiently. As a graphic design student, I’ve worked on a few layout teams for varying newspapers, and I usually get distracted looking at the layout and type when I read a print copy.

If I were to do this again, I think I’d play more with layout and type and the ways it is used in the New York Times.”

Alexia Towle

Alexia Towle
Project Assistant

“This project took me out of my comfort zone, because usually I am not a fan of collages. Now I think that it might just be my hatred of glue, because this was actually really fun!

Using Photoshop to make the collage map of how I read the news instead of the traditional paper and glue gave me a lot of flexibility, and I could play with really thin lines without having to cut really thin lines of paper. Nowadays, a physical paper copy of the news is not as needed because of the digital world we live in, and sometimes we can find ourselves down a rabbit hole of scrolling and scrolling. I wanted to play with that idea to do a less traditional version of how I read the paper.

While I might have had to use the Wall Street Journal for this collage instead of the New York Times, I think the effect is the same!”

Ruth Lee

Ruth Lee
Project Assistant

I absolutely love reading the New York Times, and I find myself always getting lost in the ocean of content available online (I hardly ever read the paper version).

My curious hyperactive mind gets a full-course meal endlessly scrolling and clicking through every single section on the website (except sports and N.Y. because I just don’t find those as interesting somehow). I literally feel like every time I click on a new side panel or tab or article I get lost in a rabbit hole of information, and I get completely absorbed reading about completely random things I never knew about before–thus I illustrated my spiral-like way of reading the times as a literal series of downward scrolling rabbit holes.

I made it using Illustrator; first taking screenshots of content snippets on the site, collaging them and making it into a clipping mask with a hill shape (drawn with the pen tool), and then adding low-opacity shapes over it to make the green grass.”

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