Mixed Media Art: So Many Choices!
There are an infinite number of different styles of mixed media art. The basic definition of mixed media art is simple: to combine two or more mediums or materials and create a work of art. But the ways you can accomplish that are mind boggling!
If you look up mixed media art online, you’ll find that certain styles tend to be extremely popular. But you don’t have to do what’s popular (unless you want to!) The question becomes . . . how do you figure out what you like?
When you are just getting started you may want to experiment with different styles until you find what unleashes your own unique creativity. You may fall in love with one thing and find out you really dislike another!
For example, I actually started out doing scrapbooking. For several years, I was really invested in creating beautiful scrapbooks. Then I discovered digital scrapbooking and at one point I had a slight obsession with this style of creating. I had a list of blogs that offered free scrapbook elements. I would spend lots of time downloading and saving those for me to use. The problem came when I realized I was more interested in “the hunt” for amazing elements. I didn’t spend all that much time creating.
The Holy Grail – Finding “Your Own” Style
I eventually abandoned scrapbooking all together and moved on to mixed media art. I then began combining fine art techniques with mixed media, which is where I’m at today. It was a process and took me years to discover what style of art I loved most.
I had to try a bunch of things out. Some of the methods other people used I found frustrating or just not right for me. I wanted a style that felt like my own.
It’s one of the things aspiring artists and newbies crave the most: finding a unique personal style that feels right and allows them to stand out from the crowd.
But first, ya gotta know what everyone else is doing, hmmm? That’s what today’s article is all about. Are you just starting out in mixed media? Or have you been doing this kind of art for a while but your current style is starting to feel stale or tired? Either way, this post’s for you!
Mixed Media Art Styles
Journal or sketchbook
This style of creating is extremely popular. Google journaling art or sketchbook art, or look at pins on Pinterest and you’ll likely be overwhelmed with how much you can do with a simple blank journal. This style is for you if you like to work small or you like your art to be portable. It is simple to throw together a kit with the essentials you’ll need to create a journal page that you can take with you. This is especially good if you have kids that you have to spend a lot of time waiting for at practices or rehearsals, or if you’re a commuter.
I found a good resource for getting started here: How to Start an Art Journal
Another artist I follow who does amazing journals is here: Cre8tive Cre8tions
This form of art is more 3D than many of the other styles and is not too far removed from sculpture. Assemblage art is when the artist uses lots of found objects to create pieces of art that are like a hybrid of sculpture and mixed media. This is a good style for you if you like to tinker and put pieces that are unsimilar together to create something completely new. It’s also great if you have a large collection of supplies like paper, found items, vintage items, and odds and ends.
The Artist’s Network gives a good overview here.
If you think collage is like that great collection you had on your wall of magazine cut outs and words as a teenager, well, you’re right! (Mine had lots of Pearl Jam and cutouts from Teen Magazine on them!) Collage art is creating a piece of art with mostly torn or cut pieces of paper. This could be plain paper, with writing, painted or colored, magazine or photograph cut outs, and more. If you like putting together puzzles, collage art may be for you. Except you get to find the pieces and the finished image only exists in your head until the artwork is complete!
A good rundown of collage art can be found at My Modern Met.
The whimsical style is a fun, lighthearted way of doing art. Often featured are wistful looking girls, mythical creatures, soft, dreamy colors, and pretty accents like fairy wings. This is an especially good fit with mixed media art. There are so many fun accents, stamps and supplies you can use to create fun art that is a little less serious. It can even be silly. Cute animals often show up in whimsical art, too. If you love animals, know that this style of art is very appropriate for featuring dogs, cats, insects, birds, and imaginary creatures.
A whimsical artist I really like (I’ve also taken many of her online courses – highly recommended!): Willowing (Tamara Laporte)
Abstract art relies on shapes, colors, lines and forms to create a composed piece of art. If figures or faces are included, they are often very distorted or disassembled. Creating abstract mixed media art can be very relaxing and very challenging. There’s a big difference between creating a successful piece of abstract art and just throwing a bunch of stuff on a surface. (Which can work, actually, but you gotta know what you are doing – kinda that “you have to know the rules to break them” philosophy). This art often centers around a theme, concept, or idea that is represented visually.
A great example of abstract mixed media art: Carol Nelson Fine Art
Lettering (not to be confused with calligraphy) is when you turn the physical act of drawing letters, words or phrases into artwork. Many lettering artists combine lettering with paint and mixed media elements. There are many styles of lettering, which can keep this particular form of art interesting and unique over time. It’ s also a good source of income because people want hand lettered signs and posters, cards, invitations and announcements and are willing to pay a hand lettering artist for those.
The great thing about doing lettering is that it can be combined with other styles and done on different surfaces. Also, many lettering artists use a combination of hand lettering and digital editing, so if you like to do art on a computer, you might enjoy lettering.
I follow Little Patterns on Instagram, she is an amazing lettering artist!
Showcasing you faith or philosophies on life through art isn’t new, artists have been doing it for centuries! Using mixed media art to talk about your faith – or to connect with others who share similar ideas – is a combination that has worked for many artists. If you like uplifting messages and inspirational ideas, creating art that can help others in their times of need may be a good fit. Also, many people use this style of art to help themselves and others heal from physical, emotional or mental traumas. There is a lot that can be done in the area of inspirational art. It’s a good fit for people who want to help others through their art or by teaching others to do art.
A book that covers this topic is: Art and Faith by Cherie Burbach.
Did any of these styles speak to you? (If you’re not sure, that’s okay too . . . you may need to try a few out!) Is there a particular style of mixed media art that I forgot to mention? If you have thoughts on this topic, I’d love to hear from you. Please leave a comment!
Need more mixed media art information? Check out my Mixed Media Art page for all posts!
- Video: My Thoughts on Coronavirus as an Artist - March 19, 2020
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