How to Create a Mixed-Media Landscape

Doodling. Coloring. Pattern-making. Fabric. We’re about to show you how to combine all of these elements to create one incredible mixed-media landscape! This project from artists Peri-Laine Nilan and Valerie McRae first appeared in our fall 2016 issue of Zen Doodle Workshop magazine. Their piece showcases the vibrant colors of fall in a beautiful autumn landscape. Follow along below as Peri-Laine and Valerie show you how to create your own mixed-media landscape masterpiece.

mixed-media landscape
Autumn mixed-media landscape by Peri-Laine Nilan and Valerie McRae

Doodled Mixed-Media Landscape
A collaborative project by Peri-Laine Nilan and Valerie McRae

I have been teaching design and pattern making in my art classes for many years. I began incorporating pattern into landscapes after seeing this concept in the book Time to Tangle with Colors by Marie Browning. When Valerie and I decided to collaborate on this project we faced the challenge of combining two very different art forms into a piece that would showcase both styles harmoniously. Once we agreed on an autumn landscape, we selected the fabrics with colors and designs we thought would best lend themselves to such a scene. I then drew and colored the image, taking my pattern and palette inspiration from the textiles. Valerie matched and glued the fabrics to the completed picture. Then I continued the drawing onto the fabric to complete the landscape.


  • Acid-free drawing paper (I used a 9″ x 12″ sheet of heavyweight paper.)
  • Pencil
  • Permanent pens, black (I used Sakura® Pigma® Micron® 01 and 05 pens.)
  • Fabric swatches (Choose fabrics with small fairly simple patterns and colors that complement your chosen theme, i.e. reds, gold, burgundy, blues, and greens, for an autumn landscape.)
  • Colored Pencils (I used Faber-Castell Polychromos Colour Pencils.)
  • Tracing paper
  • Steam iron and ironing surface
  • Sewing scissors
  • Straight pins
  • Acid-free/neutral pH liquid craft glue (We used YES!® All-Purpose Stik Flat Glue.)
  • Glue brush
  • Heavy, flat object
  • Optional:
    • Felt pens or watercolor
    • Eraser
    • Archival varnish spray, matte (I used Golden® Archival Varnish.)
    • Fabric stiffener (Starch or Terial Magic™ Stabilizing Fabric Spray makes the fabric easier to work with.)
    • Rotary cutter and cutting mat
    • Embellishments (beads, ribbons, embroidery, etc.)

Draw the landscape
1. Outline a rectangle or square in the middle of the page. The landscape drawing will be drawn in the box, and the fabric will go around the outside of the rectangle as a border. We drew a 4 1/2″ x 6″ rectangle.

2. Use a pencil to lightly draw lines, dividing the space into the background, middle ground, and foreground. (Figure 1)


3. Use pen to draw water, hills, mountains, and trees. Vary the line widths for added interest. (Figure 2)


4. Create unique doodle patterns in each section of the landscape. Take inspiration from the designs of the fabrics you chose, creating your own variations, or you can create your own patterns, which can also be drawn onto the fabric with permanent pen. I drew diamonds, swirls, dots, and various lines and shapes to echo the designs on the fabrics. (Figure 3)

NOTE: We chose fabrics that represented water, fields, trees, and sky: blue fabric with ripples for the water, gold fabric with lines for the fields, and autumn colors for the trees and ground.


5. Add more details, such as plants, leaves, or clouds, in ink before adding color. Using pencil, extend the main landscape section lines out to the edges of the paper. (Figure 4)


Color the landscape
1. Choose colored pencils that coordinate with your fabric swatches. Color in the drawing, blending the colored pencil to achieve tone variation and shading effects. (Figure 5)

TIP: Felt pens or watercolor washes can be substituted for colored pencils.


2. Optional: Working in a well-ventilated space, spray the completed drawing with archival varnish to protect it from smudging.

Make the pattern templates
1. Lay tracing paper on top of the project and trace the landscape section lines and the outline of the rectangle.

2. Label each section on both the tracing paper and the original drawing with the color of the fabric to be used. This will act as a pattern for cutting out the fabric. (Figure 5)

3. Iron the fabric with steam. If you are using a stiffener, this is the time to use it. Allow the fabric to dry fully before proceeding.

4. Cut out each section of the tracing paper. Pin the tracing paper pieces to the coordinating fabrics, (Figure 6) and cut them out using good sewing scissors or a rotary cutter to ensure clean edges.


Add the fabric
1. Working on one section at a time, brush glue thinly on the paper. Do not put glue directly on the fabric, as it will cause the fabric to stretch.

2. Carefully press the appropriate piece of fabric onto the glued section, and place a heavy object on top to make the fabric lie perfectly flat. Once all sections are glued, allow the piece to dry for 24 hours. (Figure 7)

mixed-media landscape

Adding embellishment
1. Use pen to extend the lines and repeat the patterns from the drawing onto the fabric. Carry the color from the pattern onto the fabric as well, using colored pencil. (Figure 8)

mixed-media landscape

2. Optional: Embellish further with other mixed media, such as beads, ribbon, and embroidery.

Valerie McRae is a quilter and fabric artist. She creates visual representation of poems, and has been commissioned for a variety of art installations. She and Peri are both members of the New West Artists, a community art club in New Westminster, British Columbia, Canada. She can be reached at

Peri-Laine Nilan is an experienced and versatile artist. As a retired schoolteacher and art specialist, she now dedicates her time to practicing her art, doing commissions, and teaching workshops to students of all ages. Visit her website at

If you enjoyed this mixed-media landscape, check out our fall 2016 issue of Zen Doodle Workshop magazine for more projects you’ll love!


Blog, Mixed-Media Techniques, Paper Art and Zen Doodle

2 thoughts on “How to Create a Mixed-Media Landscape


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.