Bumpy Road by Kyla Yager

Mixed Media: A Beginner’s Guide

Hannah Taylor December 28 2022

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Whether you’re an emerging artist looking to try something new, or an art enthusiast wanting to try an arts-based activity, mixed media can be a fun art form to experiment with different methods and mediums. Here is a simple guide describing various materials and tools you can use to create your own mixed-media masterpiece!

What is Mixed Media?

Mixed media began as an art form around 1912 with the Cubist collage paintings of Georges Braque and Pablo Picasso. It involves combining at least two art mediums into one artwork, whether they be painting, sculpture, collage, photography, etc.

Here is a guide to various materials and mediums you can use when creating mixed-media artwork!

Canvases

With mixed media, you don’t necessarily need to follow the traditional route and strictly use canvas or paper when creating your artwork - anything can be your canvas! It could be a piece of wood or even a clay sculpture you’ve made!

For emerging artists or art enthusiasts who are beginners at mixed media, it’s best to start with specialty mixed media paper, one that is thick enough to maintain its shape while holding both wet and dry mediums.

Equipment & Tools

When working with mixed media, anything can be used as a tool - you don’t necessarily need special brushes or art tools – your equipment can be as simple as what you have lying around your house, such as kitchen utensils like a spatula! Just remember that it might get messy when creating your mixed media artwork, so you should reserve specific tools for your art (do not use your painting spatula in the kitchen!).

However, if you’re an emerging artist who already owns some tools, or an art enthusiast willing to invest, here’s a list of some art tools that can be used:

• Paint Brushes (Various Sizes & Types)

• Palette Knives (Various Sizes & Types)

• Masking Tape or Artist’s Tape

• Stamps & Stamp Pads

• Stencils

• Glue

• Sculpting Tools

• Embroidery Needle

Wet Mediums

For mixed media, wet mediums are typically the base and beginning of your painting. A general rule is to start with your lighter and thinner wet mediums, such as watercolours and inks, and then layer on heavier paints like acrylic, oil, and gouache.

You can work with your dry mediums and other materials first and then fill in the gaps with your wet medium after, but you might accidentally paint over some of your work, so best to work with the wet mediums first, especially if you’re an emerging artist new to the medium.

Below is a list of wet mediums you can use:

• Watercolours

• Acrylic Paint

• Oil Paint

• Ink

• Gouache

Dry Mediums

Here is where creativity comes into play! When applying dry mediums onto mixed media works, remember to experiment and have fun by trying different things! Draw lines that cut across the page or colour in different shapes, the possibilities are endless!

(Here’s a neat trick: take a blank page of specialty mixed media paper and draw on it with some wax crayons, then paint over your drawing with watercolours! It creates a really cool effect!)

Some of these items can be costly, so if you’re an art enthusiast just looking for a fun art activity, you don’t need to invest in specialty pens or pastels. Inexpensive art supplies such as wax crayons and felt tip markers will do.

Here’s a list of some dry mediums that you can use in your mixed-media artwork:

• Coloured Pencils or Pens

• Paint Markers

• Soft, Oil, or Wax Pastels

• Chalk

• Wax Crayons

• Felt Tip Markers

Other Materials

If you want to include something specific in your artwork, such as embroidery or sculpture, this is when you do it! You can create a collage or even a page for a scrapbook, creating 3-dimensional effects by layering on scraps of paper or other found objects can create gorgeous art pieces. If need be, layer on your pieces and repeat the previous steps of using wet and dry mediums! Paint over old book pages, use a stencil and draw over some patterned paper!

Below are some extra materials that you may want to use to add a little pizazz to your mixed-media piece:

• Coloured or Patterned Paper or Cardstock

• Pages or Scraps of Paper from Books, Magazines, or Photographs

• Pieces of Fabric

• Found Objects, such as Dried or Pressed Flowers

• Stickers

• Embroidery Thread

• Clay

Conclusion

Whether you’re an emerging artist wanting to experiment with new mediums, or an art enthusiast looking for a fun activity, mixed media is just the thing for you! Remember to have fun and play around with new materials!

Sources:

https://www.skillshare.com/blog/how-to-make-mixed-media-art-a-guide-and-tutorial/

https://www.tate.org.uk/art/art-terms/m/mixed-media

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