A Mixed-Media Face in 18 Ingredients

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

I was recently asked 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, we shared what we created and Oh, the project pieces were beautiful! I also realized that I was so focused on what everyone was doing and asking and sharing that I didn’t make my own mixed-media face that evening.

Making my own mixed-media face happened a few days later when it was quiet, long before sunrise, and I could tinker….. 

I was influenced by the beautiful faces shared during our Wednesday session and borrowed a few features from my creative friends because you know what they say, “Emulation is the sincerest form of flattery.” Have you ever heard that?

I love emulating what I see and then putting on my twist on it. How about you?

I also had world events and life events floating in my head which added to my own take on this mixed-media face.


18 ‘ingredients’ later, I had a face brimming with visual and textural interest…. the hallmark of mixed-media art!  

a mixed media woman's face on a table with a list of ingredients used to make the face

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 creating 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!
mixed media woman's face from RobinLK Studios

18 ingredients later… How do you turn a plain face into mixed media?

Add everything you want!

Don’t be afraid to experiment! That’s the beauty of mixed-media art.

Don’t like it? Cover it up!

~ Robin Le Roy-Kyle

Oh, and the ‘found words’? I include them in all of my art.

These revealed themselves as I was working. They were sitting randomly atop a jar full of words. Sometimes you hear things…. – I heard them whisper to me, “We belong on her.”

Want your own? I love sharing them here.

Approachable art.

Creative wordplay.

words and colors guide the process …

learning header image

Want to give it a try? Visit me in Room 405 for workshops and courses— bite-size how-to for the curious creative explorer/dabbler.

Wishing you creative curiosity & soul-smiling messiness,

signature Robin