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Mixed Media Art: A Beginners Guide

โ™ก ๐ผ๐“ƒ๐“‰๐“‡๐‘œ๐’น๐“Š๐’ธ๐“‰๐’พ๐‘œ๐“ƒ โ™ก

Hello everyone! (*ใƒปฯ‰ใƒป)๏พ‰ Friendly neighborhood artist cat here! Today I would like to introduce you all to one of my favorite types of art, mixed media! Maybe you're just curious about how it all works, or maybe you're even interested in giving it a try for yourself. If that's the case, this is the post for you! Here we will discuss various mixed media tips and techniques, as well as watch some useful videos (most of which will be at the bottom of this post but there are some linked elsewhere here). But before we can get into the details, we have to answer some important questions...



โ™ก ๐’ฒ๐’ฝ๐’ถ๐“‰ ๐’พ๐“ˆ ๐“‚๐’พ๐“๐‘’๐’น ๐“‚๐‘’๐’น๐’พ๐’ถ? โ™ก

Before we go into how mixed media works, we have to figure out what exactly mixed media is. In the world of art, a "medium" is defined as the material that is used to create a work of art. For example, if a drawing was made using colored pencils, colored pencils would be the medium. By extension, a work that uses both colored pencils and markers would be considered "mixed media", as it used two different mediums together. Some other examples can include adding paint to a sculpture, drawing on photos, or adding some collaging over an ink drawing.

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Mixed media collage with various objects, Mixed media painting with resin, and Mixed Media Portrait



โ™ก ๐’ฎ๐“Š๐“…๐“…๐“๐’พ๐‘’๐“ˆ โ™ก

In mixed media art, absolutely anything goes as far as supplies and combinations of materials. The entire world is your canvas and the atmosphere is your paintbrush. If you're interested in drawing or painting in a mixed media style, collect various liquids and experiment with putting them onto your paper or canvas. Drinks like coffee and tea can create a nice brown, aged effect. If you prefer collaging (or sticking various different materials such as photographs, pieces of paper, fabric or metal scraps) you can get particularly creative, as just about anything can be stuck down onto another surface with enough effort, patience and glue. Some people also do assemblage which is somewhat similar to collaging in that it uses a wide variety of materials together, but instead of sticking things down onto one surface such as a canvas or piece of wood, things are stuck together in assemblage to create a new object.

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Example of an assemblage piece


Because there are little to no limits for materials, you can gather supplies from just about anywhere. Your own home is no exception! Take advantage of old book papers, paperclips, bottle caps, and whatever else you have lying around. You can also try heading outdoors and collecting leaves, sticks, and flowers. After drying them in a book for at least a few days, you can add them to your artwork. (Note, be VERY delicate when gluing down organic material, as they can tear or be damaged very easily.) In fact, one artist even made art out of other people's trash!

If you're looking to buy conventional art materials, you can typically get better quality items at large arts and crafts stores such as Michaels, Hobby Lobby and JoAnn Fabrics. However, if you do not have one of these options readily available to you, feel free to try your local general store like WalMart for some ideas. It's also important to not limit yourself to one part of the store while you're shopping. Just wander around until something sparks an idea. It might be a stamp, a piece of decorative craft paper, some fabric, a charm in the jewelry section or even something like some fake fur. You can also try looking at things like stencils or stickers. It's important to keep an open mind.



โ™ก ๐ฟ๐’ถ๐“Ž๐‘’๐“‡๐’พ๐“ƒ๐‘” ๐“‚๐‘’๐’น๐’พ๐“Š๐“‚๐“ˆ โ™ก

A large part of making mixed media work involves layering mediums on top of one another. This is especially true in creating backgrounds before gluing larger elements on top. However, some mediums work better on top of certain things than others. Sometimes medium A might work fine on top of medium B, but trying to put medium B over medium A just doesn't go well. Keep in mind that how things will work together can vary between products. For example, one pen might work better on top of something else then another. However, here is a quick list of what generally works and does not work.

WORKS:

Ink on watercolor

Chalk pastel on watercolor

Acrylic paint on watercolor

Colored pencil on chalk pastel

Colored pencil on marker



DOESN'T WORK:

Watercolor on chalk pastel

Colored pencil on chalk pastel

Watercolor on colored pencil

Marker on colored pencil

Ink over colored pencil

Charcoal over graphite


For a video demonstrating all of the above combinations, click here!



โ™ก ๐’œ๐“…๐“…๐“๐“Ž๐’พ๐“ƒ๐‘” ๐“‚๐‘’๐’น๐’พ๐“Š๐“‚๐“ˆ โ™ก

Not only is layering important but creating texture (or at least the illusion of texture) plays a large role in mixed media as well. One of the best ways to create texture is by using paint. Paint can be applied in a wide variety of ways and with a lot of other items that can make interesting and eye-catching designs. For example, you could take a plastic cup, paint the edge and stamp it onto the page to make a circle design. You could also cover some plastic wrap with paint and apply it to the page that way. Alternatively, you could glue the plastic wrap to the paper or canvas and paint on top of it.

By incorporating highly textured materials directly into your work you can create an actual, tangible texture that someone could feel when they hold or touch your art. This can help add interest to your piece. For example, if you have any bubble wrap, stick that down and work on top of it. Not only would this add texture, but because it's 3-dimensional and that area of your paper or canvas will be raised it will add dimension and depth. Some other things you could apply to your art to create texture are ripped up pieces of cotton balls, tea bags, and paper towels.



โ™ก ๐น๐’พ๐“ƒ๐’น๐’พ๐“ƒ๐‘” ๐ผ๐“ƒ๐“ˆ๐“…๐’พ๐“‡๐’ถ๐“‰๐’พ๐‘œ๐“ƒ โ™ก

Now that you have some ideas as to how the basics work, and you have gathered up some supplies, it's time to get to work. ... Or is it? Before you jump into it, it's generally a good idea to have some sense of direction. Is there a theme you want to work with? Something in particular that you hope to achieve? Before you begin, it's a good idea to get some inspiration.

Inspiration can come from all sorts of places. You can express your own thoughts and feelings through your work and air your thoughts in a creative way. Consider doing something inspired by a favorite song, movie or video game. If there are any quotes that speak to you, feel free to incorporate them into your piece as well. It's also always a good idea to watch other artists and learn from their creative processes.

( For more ideas, feel free to check out my How to Find Art Inspiration post and my List of Art Prompts and Challenges! )



โ™ก ๐’ฒ๐’ฝ๐“Ž? โ™ก


At this point you may be thinking "Well this seems interesting, but why would I want to try this?" There are many different reasons why one might enjoy mixing mediums in their artwork. By working in mixed media you can escape the potential limitations of working with only one. In a pencil drawing, you might get your lighting or proportions wrong, with markers you might not blend quite as well as you should, but with mixed media, you can turn almost any "mistake" into something you can work with. You're also far less limited in what you are able to use in your work, which can lead many to see almost everything as art or potential art material, which can allow one's creativity to truly blossom even more so than before. You'll discover yourself finding inspiration everywhere.

Not only is the process of creating mixed media art enjoyable, but the end result can also be very useful. Need to make some extra cash? Try selling your work. If that wall in your living room seems a little boring, make your own art piece and hang it there. You can be sure it's exactly what you need because you're the one who made it! Friend's birthday coming up? They will likely deeply appreciate a gift you put love, care and time into. Already bought a gift but forgot to pick up a cute gift tag? Why not make one yourself? Alternatively, you can simply create an art book or art journal to keep all of your work in and enjoy it all for yourself.

You have nothing to lose, so why not give it a try?~


โ™ก ๐’œ ๐“๐’พ๐“ˆ๐“‰ ๐‘œ๐’ป ๐“ˆ๐‘œ๐“‚๐‘’ ๐“Š๐“ˆ๐‘’๐’ป๐“Š๐“ ๐“‹๐’พ๐’น๐‘’๐‘œ๐“ˆ โ™ก

PS: Here are some more videos that you might find useful!


Easy background ideas:

Beginners Guide to Mixed Media:

Art Journal Page Inspo #1 (I HIGHLY recommend watching the rest of these, they're so wonderful!)

5 watercolor mistakes you should avoid:

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Note: This blog entry was made before the July 2020 site update that removed all blogs for a while. Though it had to be reuploaded at a later date, this entry was originally posted on May 18, 2019.
 

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Effervescent-Daydream
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