Artist Upcycles Old Magazines To Create Stunning ‘Paintings’

by Laura Caseley
Laura is a writer, illustrator, and artist living in New York City.

A pile of old magazines might just look like someone’s paper recycling pile to most of us, but for artist Megan Coyle, they’re the perfect art supply.

And she’s not just cutting out specific images to make a scrapbook-style collage either.

Thanks to her background in painting, she cuts out swatches of color from all kinds of magazines and then carefully assembles them into images of people, animals, and landscapes.

Artists all over the world aren’t limited to just pencils and paints when they want to make something beautiful.

We’ve seen artists create with everything from plastic bags to twigs and leaves found in nature, and there’s even an artist who uses drywall to create stunning three-dimensional murals.

So it makes sense that Coyle can take magazines, already full of colorful photos and graphics, and turn them into something beautiful and new.

And the cool thing about this type of art? If you have old magazines lying around, you can try this yourself! It’s also a great project for kids.

Take a look at the work below to get inspired.

[H/T: BoredPanda]

Using nothing but sliced-up magazines, artist and illustrator Megan Coyle creates these gorgeous collages. From a distance, you might not even realize they’re made from paper because they look so much like paintings.

And that’s probably because Coyle has a background in painting. When she arranges her collages, she uses the pieces of paper like paint, building up layers of color and laying them down precisely in the right place.

Think of it as paper pointillism!

As you can see, she can get very detailed in these collages, cutting out smaller and smaller pieces of paper to get the finer details like this cat’s eyes and whiskers.

So why didn’t she stick to painting?

Coyle says that there’s something exciting about working with paper taken from magazines, or as she calls it, “found color.”

“I’m never quite sure what I’ll discover when piecing together a work of art,” she says.

And naturally, the larger the work of art, the more detail she can fit into them. A large piece, according to Coyle, takes a few weeks to fully complete.


Each of her works begins with a basic sketch, and then she hunts for colors! She pours through magazines looking for colors and patterns that might work, cuts them out, and begins arranging them.

She uses a glue stick to paste them down, as it’s easily removed if she doesn’t like something. When the collages are complete, she gives them a coat of varnish to prevent peeling.

She’s inspired a lot by animals and the world around her, both on her travels and walking through her home city. Lately, animals have been some of her favorite subjects though, like this turtle.

When she first started making collages, Coyle used to add in details with oil pastels, but today, it’s all paper.

Thanks to her talent, Coyle’s work has been exhibited in various galleries in Washington, D.C., and she’s also provided the illustrations for a children’s book, Duck & Fish.

She also gives artist talks with the public, including young students. “It’s always fun to see images of student work inspired by my collages,” she says.

“The best part of being an artist is sharing your work with others and inspiring other creative minds,” she adds.

It’s also a great way to turn old magazines into something new and beautiful. And if you’ve ever shopped for art supplies, you know how pricey they can get, so they also make a great, cheap art supply.

You can see more of Coyle’s work on her website, as well as on Facebook, Instagram, and Tumblr. And if you like her collages, you can even get one for yourself on Etsy.

If you know someone who’s a little over basic scrapbooking and looking for some inspiration (or just has too many magazines), be sure to SHARE this great art with them!