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PE: Combining Techniques

Thu Mar 6, 2014, 7:00 AM

Today I’m going to show you some cool ways to add a new level of interest to your work by combining different techniques into one artwork! This is otherwise known as Mixed Media.

What is Mixed Media you ask?

  • Mixed media, in visual art, refers to an artwork in the making of which more than one medium has been employed. - Wikipedia

Why would you choose to work with more than one medium? Well for starters, some things are just more easily executed if a different material is used. In other cases, you may be looking for a specific texture or surface that cannot be achieved with whatever you’re currently using. For example, printing or collaging a pattern can be more efficient than painting or drawing it by hand. Note that choosing to print or collage said pattern isn’t lazy, just a different manner of choosing to work. Also, by combining mediums you can find new methods of making!

Many contemporary traditional artists work in Mixed Media to achieve dramatic possibilities in their work.

Shahzia Sikander. "Chaman," 2000. Mixed Media, dimensions variable. Installation at the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York

James Siena. “Sequence One”, 2009-2010. Bound accordian-style book with 36 relief prints using oak blocks across 38 Masa paper pages. Page size: 14 1/2" x 18" (closed)

Onawa by MichaelShapcott

Michael Shapcott. “Onawa”, 2009. Graphite, Carbon, Acrylic, and a touch of Oil on Illustration Board
Below I list some examples of techniques that can be combined with each other or drawing and painting. Note that each of those techniques are not simply mixed media themselves, they must first be combined with one or more other techniques to create actual mixed media pieces. This is a brief overview of techniques that can be combined to create mixed media pieces from the Mixed Media gallery here on dA.


Collage can be combined with drawing and painting alike, and even dimensional pieces and sculpture. 

  • A technique of an art production, primarily used in the visual arts, where the artwork is made from an assemblage of different forms, thus creating a new whole.- Wikipedia

''Describes Me' collage by SeltzerAddict

Freeing the Spirit by dancing-girl


Screenprinting can be inserted into painting very easily, but also double for drawing in some instances. 

  • A printing technique that uses a woven mesh to support an ink-blocking stencil to receive a desired image. – Wikipedia

Detail - The Idiot poster III by reminisense

Dreamlike State by Xadrea

Altered Books

Altered books will often include cutting, collage, drawing, and painting. 

  • An altered book is a form of mixed media artwork that changes a book from its original form into a different form, altering its appearance and/or meaning. – Wikipedia

Altered Books - 6 by KeepItSimpleee

The Soul Has Illusions by magdalenamoon


Unlike collage, decollage is creating the image primarily from cut of pieces of materials. These pieces can be drawn over, mixed with paint, or painted over. 

  • Is the opposite of collage; instead of an image being built up of all or parts of existing images, it is created by cutting, tearing away or otherwise removing, pieces of an original image. – Wikipedia

self portrait collage by fantomas1

Harry by patbremer

Installation Art

Installation art combines materials and space, often requiring several combinations of materials for the greatest impact. 

  • Describes an artistic genre of three-dimensional works that are often site-specific and designed to transform the perception of a space. – Wikipedia


american muscle by landoncrowell

Image Transfer

Similar to screenprinting, image transferring can be a quick way to reproduce an image and it is often used along with water-based paints and mediums, but also oil painting. 

  • Transferring a photocopied image onto another surface with the help of solvents, heat, or acrylic mediums.

Yellow by SethFitts

Boolean by Trendar611


Other than using it on its own, watercolor can be combined with drawings or other painting techniques. 

  • The medium or the resulting artwork in which the paints are made of pigments suspended in a water-soluble vehicle. – Wikipedia

Organic by jamorro

The dream of the Blue Whale by yebbeba

These examples from around the Mixed Media gallery are not the only ways you can mix it up! The possibilities are literally endless as long as you’re open to experimenting with materials! Here are some handy videos on the “how to” of some of the above mentioned techniques:

Have fun experimenting!





This is an overview of different ways techniques can be combined in order to create mixed media pieces!
Add a Comment:
Artistically-DE Featured By Owner Mar 7, 2014  Professional General Artist
Combining Techniques is always very fantastic :3. I also love to do it especially finishing my ATCs, but also other bigger projects :3.
Xadrea Featured By Owner Mar 7, 2014  Professional Traditional Artist
Trading cards are tons of fun, perfect little ways to try new things out ^ ^
GillianIvy Featured By Owner Mar 6, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
Love doing gel medium transfers.  Fun :D  The video didn't add a few tips.  Print the image in reverse because it will be flipped.  And you can use any acrylics paints if gel medium isn't available.
Xadrea Featured By Owner Mar 7, 2014  Professional Traditional Artist
I've only done transfers with floor wax, I haven't quite mastered gel medium transfers :XD: I think I use too much medium or something lol. I never considered printing the image in reverse though ^ ^
GillianIvy Featured By Owner Mar 7, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
How do you do floor wax ones?

I haven't done many of the acrylic transfers.  I want to try the polaroid transfer ones where you remove the film and transfer (to a block of wood or something that looks cool)
Xadrea Featured By Owner Mar 7, 2014  Professional Traditional Artist
Basically the solvent in the floor wax makes the ink from the print out bleed onto another sheet of paper. You just rub an ample amount of it onto the back of the print out and it transfers onto whatever other paper you're using :D You can do it with a press too (more uniform in some cases) the only issue is that it's oily so you'd have to do the transfer last if you're using water based materials too
GillianIvy Featured By Owner Mar 8, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
Thanks for the info ;D
BramLeegwater Featured By Owner Mar 6, 2014   Digital Artist
Great article very good job lots of info also!
Xadrea Featured By Owner Mar 7, 2014  Professional Traditional Artist
thanks! and glad you found it helpful!
DiamondFusion Featured By Owner Mar 6, 2014  Student General Artist
Yes, I love mixed media! They're so interesting! I do some of it myself, using watercolors, acrylic and I may start throwing colored pencils into the mix. Wonderful article!
Xadrea Featured By Owner Mar 7, 2014  Professional Traditional Artist
I've just started incorporating colored pencil into my watercolors and it really adds another dimension to the work :la: 
DiamondFusion Featured By Owner Mar 7, 2014  Student General Artist
ArtByCher Featured By Owner Mar 6, 2014   Traditional Artist
Such a great article. And your timing on this was perfect in following mine. If anyone can take anything away with them from this is definitely the inspiration to try something new. Well done! :clap:
Xadrea Featured By Owner Mar 7, 2014  Professional Traditional Artist
That was definitely serendipitous timing for sure :XD: Thanks!
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