What is Mixed Media Art?

The term “mixed media art” is a broad definition that covers many arts and crafts, including collage, assemblage (both 2D and 3D), altered objects, including books and boxes, handmade greeting cards, artist trading cards (ATCs) and tags, art journalling and book making.

The “mixed media” used includes paints, papers and board of all descriptions, glues, buttons, fabrics, found objects, photos, metal bits, fibres, things from nature, inks, pencils, crayons, markers, pastels and polymer clays, to name a few.

Chipboard elements are easy to use in your mixed media collages and assemblage

What materials do I need to get started?

The beauty of mixed media art is the flexibility to start with things around you and expend from there. To get started you need a substrate or base. This could be a clean sheet of paper, sketchbook, a cereal box or anything else that may be sitting still.  Then, if you are heading down the collage path, you’ll need something to stick with (glue sticks are fine to begin with) and something to stick on (coloured papers, newspapers, catalogues, and anything else that grabs you).

If you are heading down the drawing / painting path, then once you have your substrate, you’ll need something to make a mark, whether its pencils, paints, crayons, markers or pastels.

Any or all of these are all you need to get started. Just use the things you have around you

What skills do I need to get started?

Another attractive feature of Mixed Media Art is that you don’t need fine art or drawing skills. That doesn’t mean you are excluded from mixed media art if you do have these skills, but it opens up a world of creativity for the rest of us who like to make things but “Can’t draw”.

The skills you need to get started are as simple as being able to use a pencil, scissors and glue. These skills will expand and develop with practice, depending on which “branch” you follow.  More complicated skills of mixing paints and developing your “artist eye” will happen as you expand your own creativity. Specific skills for particular media or art types will present themselves as you move into these areas. As with many things in life, the techniques and teachers will appear when you are ready.

Hanging Art

Hanging Art

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  1. faye says:

    Michelle, thanks for the visit to my blog and for your lovely comments. I see that you love to do backgrounds too. I guess that’s my favorite thing to make n this kind of art. Your credit card technique is wonderful. Also, this purple wall/door hanging is a beautiful background. I’ll add your link to my blog so others can come enjoy your work.

  2. Hey Michelle,

    Is mixed media art just limited to papers and cardboard? Or does it include fabrics and other mediums as well? Is there any limits to what you can and cannot use?

    Thanks for the comment on my blog! I’ll forward your website onto my wife, she’s a lot craftier than I am, but we both love art and creative things 🙂

  3. admin says:

    Hey Josh, good question!

    Mixed Media Art includes all and anything you can think of! My preference is for paper, as I have a sewing aversion, which I will attempt to overcome this year.

  4. Hi

    I agree with your comment on the home page that mixed media opens up the door for more people to try their hand as you do not necessarily need to have artistic skills that may normally be ‘expected’ of other types of artwork. This could be indeed be the point where someone could find and build on those skills too.

    Too many people are ‘frightened’ to draw or paint because they fear critisism of anything they may produce.

    The only time I can ever remember being allowed to be totally free to express myself without any fear of someone having something damning to say is when I was a child.
    Even art teachers are known to stunt a child or students artisc imagination as they are so stuck in what needs to be taught in the curricullum , and so it must be done this way not that way. This is so damaging! Although it is very good to be taught the techniques and to produce accurate and very fine detailed work, it is also very important to dedicate or allow space in that teaching for the development of the individuals ideas, a chance to be expressive and a chance to be exceptionally creative.

    This is part of the push behind me giving a name to my style of mixed media painting as I call it ‘Mixism-the ultimate form of expressionism’. There is no right way and no wrong way, the artist can use as many different styles, or isms, of working within one painting as they wish. They can use what ever materials they wish on what ever support they desire. The ulimate thing is to be totally free to express your self and it is not open to critisism but is open for interpretation.

    My second website is called http://www.mixism.co.uk although my Mixism pieces are include on my main website too there are links between both sites………..

    I have given about 20 demonstrations to art societies aroound the uk teaching this style and would like to encourage the use of it and of course the name.

    So if you believe that any of your works come under the style of Mixism I would be very pleased to hear from you and also would be happy to include an image and paragraph about your work on the Mixism and other artist page of my website.

    Happy painting…….

    Marilyn Comparetto

  5. Jas says:

    Hi, Can Mixed Media Art Be When You Use Crayon And Pencil And Colours? Or Is It To Do With The Paper, Fabric Or Card? Please Reply, Because I need It For My Homework.

    Lot’s Of Love,
    Jas – A helpless girl who needs help.

    Thank You x 😉 😀

  6. MMA_Team says:

    Hello Jas,

    Mixed Media Art can certainly include crayons and pencils, as well as paper, fabric and card. Usually there is a collage or painting component, as well.

    Happy creating!

  7. Cheoy Lee says:

    I love the breadth of materials you can use in mixed media art – you can make art of lots of things you might find within your reach and it’s really exciting to use so many mediums in this way.

  8. Cindy says:

    For a long time I tried to NOT delve into encaustics. I really did. I thought I had tried enough different media over the years. I experimented with polaroid transfers and block printing and watercolor and oil pastels and acrylics and gel mediums with my stash of paper treasures collected bit by bit from here and there. But I couldn’t get the feeling of depth that I wanted. So I finally gave up the fight and bought some wax medium and borrowed a heat gun and picked up some small tools and an old electric griddle at Goodwill….And then realized that the venting in my kitchen, which was where I thought I would work, was not adequate. So…
    A bedroom I was keeping intact for my “someday” grandchildren was turned into a studio. I built a box to hold a window fan and sorted and organized a lifetime’s collection of this and that into plastic shoes boxes on an Ikea shelving unit. My brother gave me an old door from a house he was rehabbing for a work table laid on top of my son’s old desk; I got a big cork bulletin board for my inspiration images from Craig’slist. This entire process moved me from a sometime dabbler who carted stuff up and down stairs to work, into someone who can spend hours now in creation with a variety of media and not have to clean everything up again to make dinner. I have reveled in experimenting with different papers, printing, drawing, oil painting, laying on the wax, inscribing and topping it all off with twigs from my garden or stamps from travels or….you name it, I add it!
    I feel at peace up in my space, I am branching out with abandon, and I am free to make mistakes and re-do and leave things undone while I search for an idea or an item.
    Ahhhh…. Things all just fit together now. Change is good.


  1. […] books are one of the exciting areas within Mixed Media Arts. This article will provide information as to what to look for when choosing a book to alter and […]

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