Media Exploration

Dabble! Branch out! Try something completely different! And, yes, you can also work on improving your skills with your favourite media.

Drawing Media: Pencil, Pencil Crayon, Pen, Charcoal, Chalk Pastel, Oil Pastel
Use each material to make different kinds of marks (see sample videos of oil and chalk pastel below). Try:

  • creating lightness/darkness
  • blending colours, layering colours, varying pressure
  • hatching (lines in the same direction) and cross-hatching (lines in different directions)
  • stippling (dots), scumbling (overlapping circular scribbles), dragging, rolling…

Colour blending note: when blending oil pastels, start with the darker colour and blend the lighter colour in. With all other media, you can start with the lighter colour. With chalk pastel and pencil crayon, keep adding light layers, alternating colours, until you achieve the desired effect.

Watercolour, Ink
Experiment with various techniques to see what effects you can create (see sample videos of watercolour below):

  • Vary dryness/wetness (of paper and brush) to create washes & blend colours
  • Experiment with brush strokes (dry/wet) and different kinds of brushes
  • Try applying ink with different tools (pen nibs, brushes, make/find a tool)
  • Explore additional materials you could use with watercolour to see the textures and effects you can create (e.g. salt, plastic wrap, spray bottle, straws, paper towel, cotton swabs, glue+salt, tape resist, oil pastel resist, etc.).

There’s so much cool stuff that can be done with collage. It’s not just cutting out pictures and sticking them on something – collage is an amazing way to create imagery and tell a story. And don’t be afraid to use text! Check out these phenomenal collage artists: Carol La Fave and Ekua Holmes.

This year we can try Photo Transfer and Screen Printing!
You need to watch the full video on Screen Printing, plan your design, and consult with me, before you get access to the equipment.

Mixed Media
The options here really are endless. You can mix 2 or more media in subtle ways, like watercolour and pen/ink, or go all out and work with found materials. Check out a few contemporary artists working in mixed media.

Try something completely different! Like…
Rolled Paper / Cut Paper / Intricate Cut Paper / Cut Paper – Another Way / Hair / Felt / Mosaics / Balloons / Rope / Nature / Thread / Wood / Wool / You get the idea, right?

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Contemporary Artists working with Traditional Media

Think pencil crayon is boring? It doesn’t have to be! Check out these works by Lui Ferreyra:

Embrace the fuzzy edges you can make with charcoal, as in these works by Elaine Green:

Chalk pastel work by several artists, including Zaria Forman:

features incredible contemporary art and artists, and is always inspiring:


Ballpoint pen drawings by @nuriariaza today on Colossal, link in bio.

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>> More extraordinary drawings in ballpoint pen by Nuria Riaza


Illustrations by @alfredbasha today on Colossal, link in bio.

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>> More pen and ink illustrations of animals morphing into trees by Alfred Basha


Incredible charcoal portraits of women by artist @clionewton today on Colossal, link in bio.

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>> More stunning charcoal portraits by Clio Newton


>> Contemporary Watercolour Artists on Colossal
>> And more here

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Techniques with Media

These tutorials walk you through different ways to use various media. There are loads more videos on YouTube, and lots of artists provide step-by-step instructions – I encourage you to find tutorials that work for you! (Please let me know if you find anything great, so I can add it here.)

Creating value in pen & ink
Instructions with illustrations for making different kinds of lines in pen and ink, and how to create value (light/dark).

Oil Pastel techniques

Chalk Pastel techniques

Time lapse chalk pastel landscape – see how it’s done!

Charcoal techniques, including creating highlights and shadows

Watercolour techniques: Washes and special effects