How to Make a Vintage Digital Collage

In the new age of digital art, digital collage stands out as a way to create art without the mess. Are you trying to learn how to create vintage digital collage but don’t know where to start? Don’t worry, I’ve got you covered!

Digital collage art is a creative realm where classic aesthetics meet digital magic. It is allowing artists to craft unique and captivating visual compositions at their very fingertips. Join in on the fun and learn from myself a digital collage artist for nine years!

In this blog post, we’ll explore how you can make digital collage! You will learn what digital collage is, the essentials you’ll need to get started, and the considerations, including copyright.

The Pros and Cons of Digital Collage


Versatile Imagery: Digital collage offers access to a vast array of digital images. From old to new, allowing artists to source materials from different eras, styles, and themes.

No Physical Space Required: Unlike traditional collage, digital collage requires no physical space or storage for materials. You can do it literally anywhere.

Undo and Redo: Mistakes are easily correctable. This allows the freedom to experiment and revise your work without fear of permanent errors.

Cost-Efficient: Once you have the essential equipment and software, the cost of creating digital collages is relatively low.


Tech Dependency: Digital collage relies on technology. This means artists need access to a computer, graphic software, and potentially a graphics tablet.

Copyright Concerns: Sourcing images and materials from the internet raises copyright concerns. It’s important to understand the rules and obtain the appropriate permissions when necessary.

Learning Curve: Learning to navigate graphic software and mastering techniques can be challenging for beginners. It requires time and practice.

Lack of Tangibility: While digital collage offers many advantages… some artists miss the tactile experience and imperfections that come with analog collage.

    What You Need to Make Digital Collages

    Computer or Tablet

    To create digital collages, you’ll need access to a computer or tablet. Ensure your computer has enough processing power and storage to run graphic software. I use a Mac Book Pro!

    Graphic Design Software

    Invest in graphic design software such as Adobe Photoshop, GIMP, Pixelmator or free alternatives like Krita. These programs provide the essential tools for layering, masking, and blending. I think the best option for myself right now is Adobe Photoshop, you can read their prices here! The biggest selling part for me is the cloud storage, so I don’t have to save a lot of files on my computer.

    Digital Image Sources

    You can find digital images for your collages in various places. Consider using your own photographs, exploring stock image websites, or purchasing digital resources from artists and creators. Always ask for permission or purchase licenses when creating digital collage!

    A Graphics Tablet (Optional)

    While not essential, a graphics tablet can make precise selections and edits easier. These can also mean you can get cozy on the couch or in bed when creating!


    I use a scanner to scan in images I have found from magazines or vintage books. This has been a huge help with my creation of works! I really think investing in a scanner can be a great option. You can purchase scanners second hand and that can mitigate some of the costs.

    A Visual Diary or Notepad

    Take down all of your incredible ideas when you aren’t creating. I usually get my best ideas when I am away from the computer, so having a way to record these is great. Plus it gets you into the habit of documenting your process. This can help create new neural pathways for art creation!

    Youtube For Software Tutorials

    I graduated from high school with a pretty good idea of how to use Photoshop from my studies. This translated over well for digital collage art and meant I didn’t need to learn the basics apart from short keys. I would suggest, if you don’t know how to use a program, before you buy it or while you are using it look up tutorials.

    Startup Cost Without Materials

    If you already have a computer or tablet you are in luck! Those are the biggest purchase items. Your primary startup costs for digital collage is going to be software and scanner. Adobe Photoshop, for example, requires a subscription, while free software options like GIMP and Krita are available for download. Graphics tablets vary in price, but there are affordable options for beginners.

    As you start your digital collage journey, it’s crucial to respect copyright laws and seek permissions or licences, when necessary. There are variety of rules and regulations in different countries as well as international laws for certain countries.

    I have done an in-depth, general advice blog post about copyright, which you can read here. I recommend giving that a read! Remember, I am not a lawyer and you should always seek advice regarding your personal situation or questions.

    So what are the main things to look out for?

    1. Public Domain and Creative Commons: Some images are available in the public domain or under Creative Commons licenses. This allows specific usage with proper attribution.
    2. Purchased Resources: If you purchase digital image resources, ensure you understand the licensing terms and adhere to any usage restrictions.
    3. Personal Photography: If using your own photos, you have full creative control. However, consider permissions for any recognisable subjects.
    4. Fair Use: Understand the concept of “fair use” under copyright law. Fair Use allows limited use of copyrighted materials for purposes such as commentary, criticism, or education. Still, be cautious and use images responsibly.


    Let’s Connect!

    e: studio@madbutt.com.au