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Making the Collages for
My Love for You Is Like a Garden

by Laura Smetana

Have you ever wondered how collage illustrations are created?


Today I want to give you a behind-the-scenes look at how I created one of the illustrations in my picture book, My Love for You Is Like a Garden, which comes out Spring 2023.


This book celebrates the power of unconditional love through bold, watercolor collages of garden scenes.


Each illustration in the book was created with cut-paper watercolor collage. I'm going to walk you through the steps involved in creating the monarch butterfly collage.

Behind-the-Scenes: Building a Butterfly

To create the monarch butterfly collage, first I drew a pencil sketch on paper.​

Next, I cut the butterfly out of the pencil sketch, wing by wing, and traced each wing onto paper I watercolored black. Then I cut each wing out. Next, I cut the orange elements out of the pencil sketch, traced them onto orange watercolored paper and cut them out.
Then I cut out the small orange and white dots and glued them onto the first wing.
Wing by wing, I continued the process above until there was one wing left. The dots were the hardest parts to cut out and glue down. Many got stuck to my fingers or got lost.
Gradually, the monarch butterfly appeared in full and I glued it onto the white paper. Next, I cut out the blue hearts and and experimented with many different patterns.
Finally, I settled on the heart pattern below, cut out the antennas, and glued it into place!
Children's Book Author-Illustrator Laura Smetana with her monarch butterfly collage from her book, My Love for You Is Like a Garden, on exhibit at the Downers Grove Artists' Guild Exhibit at the Woodridge Library in 2022.  
I hope you enjoyed learning my process of creating the monarch butterfly collage!

To see all of the collages, grab a copy of My Love for You Is Like a Garden from your favorite bookseller or request it from your local library. And to make your own collage, I invite you check out the free
Activity Kit which includes several collage art activities!
Order your copy of My Love for You Is Like a Garden
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