So, you’ve seen some stunning scrapbook pages, or art journal pages, or tags, made with mixed media and you want to get in on that. What’s the best place to start?
The simple, most direct answer is: Start where you’re comfortable and with what you can afford.
Before we go too far, let’s get something out there.
What is, “mixed media?”
According to Dictionary.com, it’s:
By definition, most scrapbook pages qualify as mixed media through the use of a variety of papers, and hand-written journaling. Do you add stitching or thread to your pages? Do you stamp your titles? Each of those is an additional media added to the page, making it a work of mixed media.
How to start with, “typical,” mixed media
Caveat: This is the advice I would give my 2016-self. YMMV.
Start with the foundations
- A good sponge or brush
Add the rest based on what appeals to you:
- Paint (you can go a LOOOONG way on red, yellow, blue and black – just sayin’)
- Archival ink
- Texture paste (if you’re on a budget constraint, check-out The Frugal Crafter – link below)
For me, I would add them in that order.
There are some benefits to buying the colored texture pastes. They’re ready out-of-the-box, and the color is usually pretty intense.
The drawback is that they’re not as flexible as colorless or white pastes. If your next three months of crafting won’t see a call for teal texture paste, leave it on the shelf (even if it’s on clearance).
Start with what appeals to you
You’re not going to enjoy creating art if you don’t like the finished product. That doesn’t mean that you have to think it’s perfect, or that it measures up to the artists that you admire. If you hate black canvas art, your first investment shouldn’t be black gesso.
Is budget one of your constraints? The Frugal Crafter should be on your YouTube list. Lindsey Weirich has awesome how-to videos for making your own mediums, and she’s got a great series of crafting & minimalism videos.
Play with your mediums
If it’s not fun, stop doing it. Even the most respected mixed media artists on the internet experiment with their mediums (Marta Lapkowska is really good about showing this experimentation process). Yes, you can read a book or watch someone else combine mediums and see what happens. Nothing compares to doing it yourself and getting a feel for how different inks interact, or the absorption properties of different paper and paint combinations.
Tags are a great way to play with your mediums and make references for yourself.
Just do it
Art is personal. It’s a piece of the artist’s soul that they peeled-off and stuck to the canvas.
Now, take a deep breath, close your eyes, and make art. This is just for you. No one else’s opinions matter. You don’t have to show it to anyone else if you don’t want to.
If you’d like to see more of my mixed media work, you can see all the posts in that category by following this link.
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