Art,  Creativity,  Process

A Mixed-Media Face in 18 Ingredients

woman's face with phrase "Sometimes you hear things" from RobinLK Studios

I was asked recently during a Mixed-Media Faces How-to virtual workshop, “Okay, so we made a basic face with our pencil, but how do we make it ‘mixed media’?” Great question! Answer:  Add everything you want and then a bit more… Really!

And so we did. From floral repurposed paper napkins and scrap paper with mathematical calculations that inspired tissue paper with bold, graphic numbers to pink markers and pink paint for cheeks, a little show & tell about eyelashes, and all the possible supplies we could use – our group gabbed, shared notes and shared projects. 

With a few minutes left in our session that evening, everyone shared and Oh, the project pieces were beautiful! But as usual, I asked questions as we created (a little coaching built into every session), focused on what guests were making, answered questions and offered tips, asked questions and received tips, and well….. didn’t make my project face. That came a few days later when it was quiet and I could tinker long before sunrise… 

I found myself influenced by the beautiful faces shared during our Wednesday evening session and borrowed a few features from my creative friends. I also, as usual, had world events and life events floating in my head. I added my own take on this mixed-media face. Result? 18 ‘ingredients’ later, I had a face brimming with visual and textural interest…. the hallmark of mixed-media art!  

So what did I include? Take a peek at my ingredients list in the photo. I’m fairly certain this is the first time I’ve ever written a list, but I think it’s because as I created this face, I was thinking about that question, “So, how do we turn a plain drawn face into a mixed-media face?”

Chris, here you go! 18 ingredients later….

My process:

I started with plain copy paper and a BIC #2 .5 mm mechanical pencil (very light drawing to start).

I drew an oval, followed by vertical and horizontal guidelines.

Next came eyes, nose, and mouth using the guidelines.

I decided to add a layer of Liquitex Matte Medium to give the lightweight paper some strength because I knew I was about to load it up with lots of creative goodness.

Next came All Those Ingredients…. one by one, I added, experimented, stepped back, decided if it worked, and moved on…

Will premium Koi watercolors and cheap acrylic paint work together? Let’s find out!

How will these alcohol markers work on matte medium? Let’s find out!

How about black gesso paint and a Sharpie paint pen for some mark-making and scribble text?

Let’s not forget water-activated Stabilo pencil, fun washi tape (with a dab of Uhu glue), fantastic collage paper, and Caran D’Ache water-soluble pastels. Throw in Faber Castell PITT pens for good measure, too. Oh, and yes – fresh coffee stains!

18 ingredients later…. How do you turn a plain face into mixed media? Add everything you want… Really. Don’t be afraid to experiment! That’s the beauty of mixed-media art. Don’t like it? Cover it up!

Oh, and the ‘found words’? I include them in all of my art – these revealing themselves as I was working… sitting atop a jar full of words – I heard them say, “We belong on her.”

Approachable art. Fun wordplay. Creative goodness.

Want to give it a try? Virtual workshops and online courses (coming soon) are offered here. RobinLK Studios Insiders are currently enjoying free events in April and May and will enjoy members-only rates beginning in June.

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Want to see my quick process clip? Jump over to the Free Resources page under the BONUS tab.

signature "Robin" of RobinLK Studios