A Dozen Daring Mixed-Media Techniques

We try to pack as many fantastic mixed-media techniques and tips into each issue of Cloth Paper Scissors as we can, giving you the best creative buffet to choose from. We thought these dozen techniques from the January/February 2018 issue were so special they deserved some extra attention. The best thing is, you can start incorporating them in your artwork today! Read on for the distinctive dozen:

mixed-media techniques
Get mixed-media techniques galore for art journaling, collage, paper art, jewelry, and more in the January/February 2018 issue of Cloth Paper Scissors magazine! (Art by Dorit Elisha, photo by Sharon White Photography)

1. Market your art with photo cards. Ailish Henderson and Rachel Hazell used MOO, the online printing company, to have cards made featuring some of their favorite art pieces, as well as items from their studios. This is a creative way to market your work and share your art with others. See Rachel’s and Ailish’s cards and discover how they came up with this idea in Collage, “Creativity Documented” (page 6).

Share your art with friends, family, and associates by creating cards featuring your artwork and favorite tools. (Cards by Rachel Hazell [left] and Ailish Henderson [right], photo by Sharon White Photography)
2. Use practice sheets and discarded lettering art for collage. Mixed-media artist Sabine Pick’s “perfectly imperfect” lettering style includes using flea market finds as inspiration and cast-off lettering pieces in her collage art. See samples of her artwork in the Artist Profile (page 38).

Take a tip from calligraphy artist Sabine Pick: Use lettering practice sheets as an element for collage. (Art and photo by Sabine Pick)

3. Stitch on fabric journal pages. New art journal options include fabric pages for your creative adventures. Stitching techniques add a lot of interest and texture on any page. In her article “Fun Ideas for Fabric Journal Pages” (page 56), Dina Wakley suggests using the weave of burlap for some cross-stitching, creating decorative stitches, or adding collage elements to a page with hand or machine stitching.

When art journals give you fabric pages, use them for all types of machine and hand stitching. (Art by Dina Wakley, photo by Sharon White Photography)

4. Use die-cuts for pop-up art. Mixed-media artist Debi Adams challenged herself to create a pop-up card with distinctive elements; the results are in Paperology, “The Art of the Pop-Up” (page 24). Those elements included die cuts in various shapes and sizes, which she altered by adding a faux patina. She then layered them for an even bigger wow factor.

Consider using die cuts as elements in your next pop-up. (Art by Debi Adams, photo by Sharon White Photography)

5. Turn drawing exercises into mixed-media art. In the article “Let Go and Draw,” (page 62) Carla Sonheim shows that simple drawing exercises can help you become a better artist—but you don’t have to stop there. Turn those drawings into inspired artwork using your favorite supplies and mixed-media techniques, creating great art journal pages, collages, and more.

Simple drawing exercises can become extraordinary pieces by adding mixed-media techniques. (Art by Carla Sonheim, photo by Sharon White Photography)

6. Cut words from books to form a narrative. Check out Rachel Hazell’s foolproof method for generating text in “Books that Speak” (page 80). Rather than making handmade books with blank pages, add interest and inspiration by including text that you can glean from castoff book pages, creating books that tell a story.

Book pages are great sources to begin a narrative for a handmade book. (Photo by Rachel Hazell)

7. Document your creative process in a sketchbook. Ailish Henderson used a sketchbook to document her process of creating abstract mixed-media portraits. This type of book not only provides a rare glimpse into an artist’s process, but it provides a terrific resource for future projects. See Ailish’s sketchbook and artwork in Collage (page 7) and in her Jumpstart article, “Stitched Collage Portraits” (page 45).

Take the time to document your next major project in a sketchbook. (Art by Ailish Henderson, photo by Sharon White Photography)

8. Hang your art on clipboards. In Studio Spotlight (page 10), one feature of Debi Adams’ studio is her use of clipboards, which are hung on her walls. “Many are filled with ideas and sketches,” she says. “A lot are misguided art pieces that will eventually be incorporated into other projects.” Having your artwork front and center is a great idea, and clipboards make it easy to change pieces out.

Keep your art and mixed-media techniques top of mind by hanging artwork, sketches, and works in progress on clipboards. (Art by Debi Adams, photo by Denzil Quick)

9. Use a texture hammer to pattern metal. An easy way to add interest to flat metal is with a texture hammer. In The Jewelry Box, “Boho-Inspired Earrings” (page 32), Deryn Mentock first anneals metal by heating it, then, when cool, uses a texture hammer to create random patterns. The patterns make the metal look more organic and funky, perfect for a bohemian look.

A texture hammer is a must for giving flat metal dimension and interest. (Art by Deryn Mentock, photo by Sharon White Photography)

10. Turn textured handmade paper into an eye-catching collage element. Lora Murphy’s layered collages are filled with elements you can’t stop gazing at: thick paint strokes, vibrant colors, sgraffito drawings, and lots and lots of texture. Among the copious mixed-media techniques in her article “A Story in Layers” (page 50), this one stands out: using bark paper as clothing for a figure. Lora cloaks a painted figure in lacy Amate bark paper so that it resembles a robe, then spills color and even more texture over it. A great example of a simple element made extraordinary.

Handmade paper has great potential for mixed-media art; in Lora Murphy’s work, it serves as clothing. (Art by Lora Murphy, Photo by Sharon White Photography)

11. Put windows in your art journal. Dina Wakley doesn’t see her art journal pages as just flat, two-dimensional substrates—she pushes the envelope by adding texture, stitching, folding, and even cutting her pages. Case in point: In the article “Fun Ideas for Fabric Journal Pages” (page 56), she cuts windows in fabric pages to reveal something interesting underneath, then uses the fabric piece to create a pocket on another page.

Fabric pages in an art journal may be unexpected, but have so much potential. (Art by Dina Wakley, photo by Sharon White Photography)

12. Sew paper into a frame for a collage. Creating a series of work has so many benefits for an artist, and in “Working in a Series: Collage” (page 74), Dorit Elisha shows how easy it is to create a unified collection. One great tip: the framing or presentation of the series should contribute to its strength and unity. In her project, Dorit frames her series by cutting strips of patterned papers, arranging them on the outside of a collage, and stitching them in place. This simple technique not only has a big wow factor, but also serves as a great cohesive element.

mixed-media techniques
Scraps of decorative and hand-painted papers make a great sewn frame for collage. (Art by Dorit Elisha, Photo by Sharon White Photography)

Get top drawing tips you can’t live without in this blog post from artist Mandy Russell! 

Grab your supplies and try out all of the great mixed-media techniques and tips in the January/February 2018 issue of Cloth Paper Scissors magazine!
In the video Tandem Techniques: 15 Mixed Media Techniques for Canvas and Art Journals, Jodi Ohl shows you how to get the most out of mixed-media techniques by using them for paintings and art journal spreads.
A book and workbook in one, Mixed Media Techniques for Art Journaling: A Workbook of Collage, Transfers and More is packed with great ideas for art journal pages and more.

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