I know that I've answered this question several times but it's one that I get asked repeatedly and I thought it was time for an update!
Where do I get my images?
I don't have one specific source.
I've always recommended that folks scope out their local newsstand, used bookstore, bargain bookstore, etc... I like to scope out new magazines every few weeks. I'll look through different sections looking for things that catch my eye. I'll go through fashion, photography, new age, etc... I recommend if you're browsing in a bookstore to make a pile of things that catch your eye and then either go find a spot to sit in, hit the cafe for a drink and flip through each magazine making piles of "yes", "no" and "maybe". See what catches YOUR eye the most. I don't have any one favorite source. I also buy magazines for inspiration. Scope out thrift stores and library sales as well for good deals on magazines (and books.)
My favorite magazines (in no particular order) are:
I tend to read the magazines, dog ear what I find interesting, rip out what I want and recycle the rest.
I do NOT like fashion magazines (except for the ones mentioned above.) I don't like magazines with imagery that is super sexed up, super skinny, dressed (or undressed) to the 9, etc... I like images that represent ME and how I feel. I tend to avoid glossy fashion magazines and anything that looks like it would strut down a runway. I like plain, simple, every day images. I also prefer to use images of women instead of men. It's not that I don't like imagery of men (does that sound right?!) but I want to use imagery that represents ME so if I use an image of a man and woman together, it's usually to represent my husband and I.
I find a lot of imagery in books as well. My family and I scour our favorite bookstores (I have a whole list here) for new treasures. I like to look in various sections: cheap ($1-10), new, Buddhism, Floral/Gardens, Art, Photography, Fashion, Various Countries, Design and Comics are my favorite sections to check out. I don't find something every week. I usually find something new that is a "must have" maybe once a month if I'm lucky. I scored two shorthand books last night for $2 (background papers!)
I rarely pay a lot for a book (or magazine) unless I find that it's chock full of stuff that I want. I'm not going to pay $15 for a book with one or two images in it. On average I spend anywhere from $1 to $15 for a book or magazine that I'm going to rip up. The more expensive it is, the more FULL of stuff it has to be (for either me or for my classes to use.)
I recommend that folks keep their eyes open for new imagery and to make time once a month (more or less is up to you) and to search out new magazines and inexpensive books. Tell friends and family what kind of images you are looking for to use and ask if maybe they'll set aside images or magazines for you as they read them (better yet show them the images you like and explain about keeping an art journal and working in collage.)
Another trick of mine is that I rotate my collage stash (both imagery and background papers) when I get bored. I have two large containers of collage stuff as well as a couple of smaller boxes and ziploc bags. When I get bored, I rotate out the old stuff for "new" stuff. It's like shopping in your living room and it works perfectly for me.
I also tend to work exclusively from my "now" journal bag (pictured and described here.) I like limiting my choices of materials to what's in my on the go bag (even though I primarily work in my living room!) It keeps me from spending hours sorting through trying to find "the right thing." I generally tend to flip through my stuff very quickly and pull out the first few things that catch my eye. I've found that it works best for me and that I can generally complete a page in 15 minutes to an hour (depending upon the size of the page and how many materials and tools I'm using.)