Mixed Media Tools

March 16th, 2012

i get asked a lot about what tools I use to create my mixed media work, so I figured with the theme this month, now was a good time to share!

For paper, I turn to my collections of paper and also use scraps from my own work. The paper I've collected has cropped up over time. I've used old book pages, maps, architectural drawings, old photos, handmade papers, stamps, dress patterns, and other bits and pieces. I've picked up things from friends, from thrift shops, and flea markets. Something like a big architectural plan of a house can last a long time if I'm just using little bits of it at at a time! Rice paper or other handmade paper that I've drawn, written, stamped or printed on is also a great collage medium.

For the base, I've experimented with lots of different surfaces and right now, my favorite things to collage on are thick watercolor paper or wooden panels.

For glue, I like to use golden gel medium. I usually apply it with a plastic painting knife, which helps me to spread the glue out and then flatten the paper as I work. I also end up using my fingers to spread and smooth quite a bit.

For paint, I tend to use a lot of Golden fluid paints because they're a little thinner and allow the collage bits to show through (if I want them too!)
I love working with ink on top of collage as well (make sure the paint is very dry!) I tend to use micron pens or uniball signo white gel pens.

So tell me, what are your favorite mixed-media tools?


Pieces above are: Dreaming of the Seven Sisters, Memory Cycles, and Silver Line.

18 Responses

Thanks so much for sharing your tips and tricks Leah. And your lovely pieces of art!! xx

What a helpful post. My current experiment is with air-dry clay as a base, embossed with anything I like that has a texture, then painted with metallic acrylics and wax rub on metallics – great fun.

Hello Leah, what beautiful pieces,my favourite is Silver Line, but they are all really excellent! I love to use rice paper, napkins, old pieces of calendars, gift paper…pieces out of old books when doing collage. I find that a collage background gives such a dimension to a piece.
Enjoy your week-end Leah and thanks for sharing with us. xx

Your work is gorgeous as well as meaningful. It’s so expressive. I don’t mean to gush, but it just hit me when I saw this email, and I had to share my thoughts. I could be a serious collector of your art, but unfortunately the Federal and State governments think they need all of my money. :( ( Not to end on a bad note, I love your work! :) )

Leah, thanks for sharing your method and tools with us. You should do a little video to post! =) In your “spare” time. lol! I use the Golden fluid paints a lot too but in an intirely different way so I am anxious to try using them as you do! I also like to use bits and pieces of the papers and scraps I’ve collected but especially antique papers, book pages, etc. Tissue is also fun to work with when you want to add color but let something show through and of course, thick acrylics applied with a palette knife for texture!Thanks for mixed media month. I’m enjoying it.

I like your Dreaming of the Seven Sisters a lot especially the strong interplay between foreground and background. (Love the layered images.) You mention thick watercolor paper on board, do you know about the Aquaboard panels by Ampersand? I found them to be exactly what you describe. You might like them too.

Love your site so I nominated you for the versatile blogger award. See my post here.

Beautiful pieces. I love to know what materials artists use. I must try Golden fluid paints sometime.

thanks for sharing about your tools. I also very much like thick painting or watercolor paper… seems to hold up very well for all mediums that are mixed together.

Thanks so much for sharing Leah! Right now I’m using paper, micron pens, ink pads, acrylics (sometimes) and today I tried using watercolors for the first time! LOVED it. I’ve been using canvas, but I just purchased heavy watercolor paper so I’m looking forward to trying it out.

I just love your art. It makes me so happy :)

Hey there,
Gesso: clear, white, grey mixed with watercolor oil pastels or crayons, graphite pencil, vine charcoal, white pen, old music paper, old french paper, and ephemera; dimensional pieces that are small, glitter, black ink and stamp pads along with a sepia or walnut colored ink. Ooo la la, just thinking about all these items makes me want to make something…too late though, but I have a couple of mixed media collages floating in my mind…good nite! I work on canvas boards which are cheap, may bow a bit, but alot of my art is a growing process.

My favorite so far is using gel medium as my glue. I have a collection of papers-made, purchased, and from magazines etc., micron pens; gelly roll, markers, watercolor and acrylics, walnut inks, stamp pads. The collection is growing. Now I just need to use it! How sad is that. My #1 creative outlets have been and still are gardening and photography but have a deep desire to do mixed media collage and flower pressing. Waiting for my life to settle down and get a bit more organized so I can FOCUS!
I love your blog and your art work and hope to participate sometime soon.

Beautiful art, as always, so full of imagination and expression. Thanks for sharing your process – its always fascinating to learn more about the how and the materials used. It is also a great way to learn techniques and discover new materials.

Great post – thanks :-)
Kat Xx

Your projects are just gorgeous! I love the layers of mixed media! You tie them all together into a beautiful, and unified whole! Thanks for sharing!

Beautiful pictures, I especially like the last one. So reminds me of my daily commute :)

Leah, your work is beautiful. Thanks for generously sharing your tools with us.

I am loving these mixed media pieces. So much detail. So much to keep looking for. I love the words all over the silhouette, and the birds flying through the girls hair. However, the bicycle piece is my favorite!

Your work is inspiring and refreshing. Thank you for sharing it. Inspired by your “Creative Every Day” challenge, I’m soothing the chaos and uncovering the balance in order to make time for being the artist in the world I’m supposed to be. That includes taking the Creative Every day 2012 challenge/plunge ;-) Many thanks for sharing your creativity and techniques. It makes me want to play (create) more!

As for your mixed media ?? Tools of creativity include: palette knives, gel medium, found objects, found post-it notes and other delicious juicy morsels of pondering, acrylics, India ink, resists including crayon(y) images, friends unwanted photo’s, personal poems, miniature keyholes sans keys, doodles, left-over doodles/drawings/”dark-room happy accident photos” cut/torn and pieced into new creations, on clay boards which can be scratched into creating multi-dimensional texture.

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