What Is a Mixed Media Collage?

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  • Written By: Angela Colley
  • Edited By: Susan Barwick
  • Last Modified Date: 10 October 2019
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A mixed media collage has multiple design layers, each made from a different medium. An artist can use any medium he or she wishes, but paper, pencil, marker, and pen are often used in a mixed media collage. These collages can either be two-dimensional display art, such as a painting on a canvas or a page in a scrapbook, or a three-dimensional sculpture.

Professional and aspiring artists often create a mixed media collage with the intention of selling the final design, as a work of art, to a collector. The artist can start with a blank white canvas or a piece of wood, whatever will give the artist a final piece that he or she can hang on a wall. The final design will have a general theme, pulled from several different sources. Most mixed media collage pieces have an abstract or modern feel, often incorporating several different photos, words or different shapes into one design.

This type of mixed media art encompasses several different types of media, blended together. The artist may choose to use decorated paper, newspaper, magazine clippings, or even newspaper as a base for the piece. To give the mixed media collage piece more depth, the artist may add different layers of oil and acrylic based paints, markers, pens, charcoal, or even pencil drawings. Some artists also add thicker materials, such as glass or modeling clay, to make the piece "pop out" from the canvas.


Modern day scrapbooks also often represent a mixed media collage. The crafter will start with one or more pieces of designer paper that have been cut to fit into a square or rectangular page. Next, the crafter will add photos, paper mementos, newspaper clippings, or anything else that creates a special memory. He or she will then finalize the page by adding additional layers of designer paper to give the page a mixed media collage effect.

Some scrapbooks go beyond just blending paper with photos and feature three-dimensional effects. For example, the crafter may add a row of brads or buttons along the bottom of the page. Lace, ribbon, or felt may be glued around the photos. Many crafters also add small objects, such as sea shells, beads, jewels, or three-dimensional stickers randomly across the scrapbook page. These types of scrapbook pages use the photos as a focal point but also contain several other details that draw the eye.


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