What’s the Best Surface for Your Mixed-Media Art?

This is a great time for beginners to take up mixed-media art. Never have there been so many avenues available to learn techniques and explore new art materials. Artists are continually breaking new ground. Thank goodness for resources such as Kimberly Santiago’s Mixed Media Handbook. This book is the perfect guide for beginners, and it’s part of a cool 2-4-6-8 sale (what does this mean? Keep reading!).

“Although there are many avenues to develop mixed-media art,” Kimberly says, “they all begin with the same simple principles: gather your resources and materials, select a substrate, edit your collage resources, select an adhesive, begin your first layer, embellish with other media, and repeat until you achieve the desired look.”

Let’s start where the process begins.

Mixed-media art surfaces | Kimberly Santiago, ClothPaperScissors.com

Surfaces For Mixed-Media Art by Kimberly Santiago

There are three basic categories of substrates: board, paper, and textured. When choosing your substrate, consider what materials you’ll be attaching and how you’ll be attaching them. For instance, lightweight substrates may buckle under heavy objects or if wet mediums and adhesives are used.

Mixed-media art by Kimberly Santiago | ClothPaperScissors.com
Nature’s Branch (collage, watercolor, tree branch, matte medium, and glue dots on wood panel, 8×8) by Kimberly Santiago

The surface of the substrate is also important; consider whether or not it is porous and will grab adhesives or paints. Another consideration is flexibility. For example, rubber stamping on a stretched canvas would be difficult because of the give of the canvas. A more suitable substrate for stamping would be a solid panel or board.

When deciding on your substrate, consider the following:
• What type of surface do you want to work on? Hard and rigid or soft and flexible?
• Do you want the substrate surface to be smooth, slightly textured or rough?
• Does the substrate need to be archival? Is longevity a concern? What is the material content?
• Is the size or shape of the substrate important?
• How will you be attaching or adhering collage materials to the substrate?
• How heavy are the materials?

Whatever your selection, there are always suitable adaptations, which makes mixed media an enjoyable and versatile art form. ~Kimberly

Now that you have some basic information for choosing the proper surface for your mixed-media art project, let me explain the 2-4-6-8 reference made above. Right now, almost everything in the Interweave store is on sale. Here’s the low-down: You’ll find $2 Art Lessons, $4 magazines, $6 eBooks, and $8 video downloads. These might be the lowest prices you’ll ever see for these mixed-media resources (especially the eBooks and video downloads!), which are perfect for a beginner or seasoned artist.

Break new ground,
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