Mixed-Media Art Techniques for Creating People

What's the first recognizable thing we draw as children? Often it's a stick figure. As grown-up artists, too, we like to include people in our mixed-media art: loved ones, interesting strangers, imaginary characterseven ourselves.

mixed media art portrait
Mixed-media Poppet portrait
by Claudine Hellmuth.

Drawing or painting a face or figure is the most common way of representing a person in art. But there are many other techniques in our mixed-media arsenal. Collage, fabric art, stitch, sculpture, assemblage, and photography are all art techniques that lend themselves to portraiture.

Collage artist Claudine Hellmuth created a fun and easy way to depict people in art with her Poppet® shelf-sitters, combining collage with paper, fabric, and photocopies on metal roof flashing. You can use old photos you've collected, photos of your friends and family, or your own photo in a self-portrait.

Here's how:

1. Cut the roof flashing to a manageable size. It cuts easily with household scissors but be careful: the edges are sharp.

2. Make a photocopy of the head you want to use.

3. Glue the photocopy onto the metal roof flashing: place it high enough on the sheet of metal to allow room to add the body.

4. Glue on fabric for a skirt, plain paper for the torso, and skin-toned paper for the legs.

5. Allow to dry.

6. Sketch out the body on the metal, on top of the papers and fabric you glued in position in Step 4.

7. Cut along the sketched lines.

8. Color in any details with the markers and add black lines to finish.

9. Bend the figure at the waist and knees so that it is in sitting position.

10. Perch your figure on a mantel or shelf and enjoy!

You can adapt this project any way you want, using acrylic painting techniques, textured backgrounds, and adding stitching to the fabric or paper before you glue it to the flashing.

This is just one of several mixed-media art techniques for creating people included in the new eBook Mixed-Media People, Part I, now available for download. Techniques include paper collage, mixed-media collage, fabric art, assemblage, and encaustic.

P.S. How do you like to create people in your art? Tell me about it in the comments section below.


3D Art and Assemblage, Blog, Mixed-Media Techniques


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