Beyond the Pencil: Mixed-Media Supplies for Drawing

Learning about art supplies and techniques is like knowing a variety of languages-you can go farther and converse more eloquently. So it pays to know the fine art and mixed-media supplies available to you, how they can be used, and how they interact.


mixed media art supplies
Mixed-media drawing supplies go beyond graphite.


magazine is running a survey course on art supplies. The current issue’s article, Drawing Materials 102 by Lauren Kirchner, caught my eye because of its application for mixed-media artists.

Art school grads are surely familiar with this list. But if you are self-taught or coming to mixed-media art from another genre (such as paper art), here are some of the art supplies to consider exploring:

Pastel: If you’re looking for intense, luminous color, pastel may be your medium, since it’s about as close as an artist can get to working with pure pigment. Hard pastels are suited to vibrant harder lines. Soft pastels are more malleable and blendable. Pan pastels can be applied with sponges and other tools and are easily combined with other media. Oil pastels (such as oil sticks) are a less powdery version of traditional pastels. All pastels take a bit of practice and trial and error to get used to-but the results are worth it.

Pen-and-ink: Ink is immediate, dark, and bold. Fountain pens, as well as ballpoints, are good for fast drawing with loose lines that broadly define a subject. Many artists combine ink with watercolor or other water-based media, creating appealing and spontaneous mixtures of line and tone, color and black.

Marker: As schoolchildren everywhere know, marker is the pencil’s bolder, stronger-smelling, and less erasable relative. If you’re working on paper, make sure it is thick enough to accommodate a marker’s bold line; many markers bleed through thin papers. But markers work well on other surfaces, like wood or canvas.

Colored pencil: Colored pencils are available in a wide range of hues, are excellent for detailed work, relatively archival, come in water-soluble varieties, and are relatively inexpensive-but collecting all the available colors could add up. Some artists stick to one color, using it as a more controllable substitute for traditional colored or chalklike crayons.

In the current issue of Drawing, you’ll find more in-depth information on art materials, a wide variety of drawings using different media, reviews of exhibits, and much more. A subscription to Drawing is a wonderful resource for anyone who wants access to traditional instruction and current trends.

P.S. What’s your favorite drawing medium? Leave your answer below.


Blog, Mixed-Media Supplies


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