My Favourite and Fun Mixed Media Techniques

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There is something decidedly rebellious about ‘mixing media’ … No longer hampered by the limitations of one media you are free to create almost unlimited effects. Do you just want a whisper of an image or is something more substantial, perhaps 3d, required. And provided any 3rd dimension is not too big an art journal is a great place to experiment before taking your ideas to canvas.

Sometimes I mix media for the aesthetic and sometimes for the joy of the varied tactile natures. Here are some of my top mixes:
  • Collage and stitch
    View of finished page
    Combining thread with collage and ink
    Sewing is a great way to add texture to a page. You can sew by hand with a fantastic assortment of threads and yarns. There are many decorative stitches that can be used to enhance this element. Or you can sew with a sewing machine. I use a regular pointed needle for this at size 90/14. Just be aware of the thickness of your collaged piece when sewing. If sewing by hand and it is quite thick an awl can help you to pre-pierce the holes for the thread. I used this technique to create a cover for an art journal, first collaging colourful papers onto a sheet of brown paper and when dry running some free machine stitching randomly around the sheet in a black cotton.
  • Watercolour, ink and white gel pen.
    I love to sketch in a permanent black ink and then colour loosely with watercolours. The effect can be really charming and requires few supplies plus it’s easy to take with you anywhere.
  • Acrylic and oil pastel
    Mixed media on 24
    Intertwining purple spikes
    Mixing these two gives a good contrast between surface qualities: the glossy acrylic and matt oil pastel. Generally I use the oil pastel on top of the acrylic but the oil pastel can be used as a resist particularly if using high flow acrylics or acrylic inks. To me the effect of this combination is really painterly and juicy.
  • Watercolour and pastel
    Pastels added on top of a watercolour base can give some lovely texture and highlights. You can work on top of this combination by applying a fixing spray to the pastels and then a clear gesso to accept new marks.
  • Adding fabrics/texture pastes/embossing powder to any combination
    Octopus art journal page
    Collage and embossing powder create watery effect
    There are such a fabulous range of embellishments available to add into art journal pages we are kind of spoilt for choice. These are my favs. Fabric brings a lovely texture and can be used to build up areas of a page and then be gessoed over. Of course there are so many patterns printed on to fabric that any sewer will have a selection of. Of course edges wont fray if stuck to the page but an alternative is to encourage a bit of fraying if it enhances your design. Texture pastes really speak for themselves. Embossing powders can be used as a resist as well as through stencils/on stamped designs to create pattern and texture on your page. I have some embossing powders that colour change and are highly shiny and I have used them to cover whole areas of background in order to negatively paint things, i.e. octopus, on my page.


Hope you been inspired to go on your next mixed media adventure.

Hugs, Ceri xx

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