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Different Mediums in Art

Updated February 21, 2019

The term "art medium" refers to the tools and techniques which an artists uses to create a painting, drawing, sculpture or other work of art. Art mediums generally fall into one of two categories, traditional or digital media, although more artists are beginning to combine the two to create mixed media artworks.

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Paint media includes acrylics, oils, watercolours and tempura paints and airbrushing techniques. Paintings are traditionally created on canvas, although they may also be done on paper or other surfaces, such as wall murals.


Drawing involves the use of charcoal, coloured pencils, pastels, markers, crayons, pen and ink, chalk or metals such as silverpoint. Drawings may be done on paper, canvas, wood, cardboard, chalkboard, whiteboard, plastic or leather.


Sculptors use raw materials to create statues, reliefs, carvings, sound sculptures, light sculptures or moving sculptures, such as fountains. Sculptors may work with stone, marble, granite, wood, ice, metals, plastic or glass.


Printmaking refers to the transfer of images to fabrics, canvas, paper or wood through woodblock printing, etching, lithography, screen printing or stencilling. Printmakers may work by hand or they may employ digital media techniques in their work.

Digital Media

Digital media involves the creation of art through technology, such as computer software or digital photography. Artists working in digital media may create installation art pieces or graphic art or they may modify an existing work using digital technology.


Textile artists work with different types of fabrics and thread and employ a wide range of techniques including embroidery, embellishment, stitching and weaving. The types of fabrics a textile artist may use include cottons, silks, chiffons, industrial fabrics, plastic fabrics, laminated fabrics, quilted fabrics, woven fabrics or knits.


Collage art refers the process of cutting and pasting paper, ribbons, photographs, buttons or other objects to create a work of art. A collage may be created on canvas, paper or even wood. Collage artists may also combine painting and drawing techniques to create a mixed media artwork.


Ceramic art refers to the creation of pottery or stoneware, although it may also include tilework or mosaic art. Ceramic artists generally work with clay; ceramic art techniques include moulding, handbuilding, glazing, burnishing and weaving.

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About the Author

Rebecca Lake

Rebecca Lake is a freelance writer and virtual assistant living in the southeast. She has been writing professionally since 2009 for various websites. Lake received her master's degree in criminal justice from Charleston Southern University.

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