© Site and most content copyright to Peter Weatherill 2017 - 2019 Some content copyright to other authors as identified

Mixed Media

The methods of applying colour to a surface to make artwork are classed as media.   Watercolour, Oils, Pastels, Acrylics etc are all regarded as separate media for the purposes of teaching, as they each have their own special needs and they are all covered by a wide range of art societies who promote and arrange exhibitions for members. Coloured Pencils also benefit from having supporting societies, for example, the CPSA in the USA and the UKCPS in Great Britain. Both these organisations have world wide membership. All such art societies encourage the development of their own particular media and generally make restrictions for the entering of ‘other’ media in their exhibitions.  This is understandable. HOWEVER, when you are painting for your own pleasure, or the pleasure of other people - and not entering competitive exhibitions, you are totally free to mix media if it suits your interests and style. The main thing to be careful of, is to ensure that the two or more media which you select, will work with each other. For example, oil paint will work over acrylic paint, but acrylic over oil is not recommended. Pastel is not suggested to work over oils as it requires a firm and permanent ‘grippy’ surface. Pastel Pencils are not considered by the Coloured Pencil Societies to be ‘Coloured Pencils’ because they have a radically different handling quality and the pictures that result, often need handling differently to those completed with wax pencils.  This may be so, but none the less, Pastel Pencils are coloured and are pencils. Working for your own interest, you are free to use whatever media you like and there are many combinations that work very well, but are not acceptable as ‘pure’ media. Watercolour pencils make an excellent foundation for wax type pencils So do Pastel Pencils. Coloured pencil works well with graphite and with pen. Techniques using combinations of many kinds of media are being developed all the time and this Topic hopes to explain some of them as well as show you the results of some of the combinations as Step By Step exercises. Mixed media work does bring a risk that the different media used may conflict with each other, and that may have an impact on the expected life of the picture ( colours may fade or the picture surface may deteriorate ). Artists have dabbled in all kinds of new ideas for many years, and some have proved a disaster - as a lot of museums and galleries will testify. If you are aware of this and take suitable care/advice, then all should be well. If you are aware of a Mixed Media combination not covered here that involves pencils in some way, please let me know and I will be happy to add a further revision.
‘RULES AND REGULATIONS’ In the past I have made several attempts to explain the requirements of Coloured Pencil Societies as regards Exhibitions and what they term ‘Mixed Media’.  Over the years the rules have been changed several times, both in the UK and in the USA, and there have been progressive updates.   The most recent I am aware of was in early 2014 and there are notes on this below. YOU ONLY NEED CONCERN YOURSELF ABOUT THIS IF YOU ARE EXHIBITING (OR MAY BE EXHIBITING) IN A COMPETITIVE COMPETITION WHERE IT IS ESSENTIAL THAT ALL EXHIBITORS ARE WORKING TO THE SAME CONDITIONS
Previous editions of this page in ‘Pencil Topics’ have provided an in-depth article on the requirements of Coloured Pencil Societies for exhibitions. Many of the old rules, prior to 2014, have been relaxed, but it is still a requirement that if you enter a specialist society exhibition ( like the CPSA or UKCPS ) then you must be specific about the choice of media used and make sure that only PURE WAX COLOURED PENCIL is used in the nore restricted sections of the exhibition. Currently ( 2019 ) the UKCPS have a class for pure Coloured Pencil and a wider class for Pencil based pictures that include at least 50% Wax or Oil based pencils (or Watercolour pencils used entirely ‘dry’ ) There may even be a Mixed Media category in the exhibition you consider entering. Note that Oil based Coloured Pencils are usually treated as Wax for the purpose of competition. Watercolour pencils treated with water may well be treated as Mixed media, but used ‘dry’ may be accepted as Wax pencils. Don’t blame me, I don’t write the rules. JUST be sure you read the entry conditions very carefully for any competitive exhibition and make sure that your picture is accurately described. If in any doubt, contact the exhibition secretary. I no longer include that in-depth article. I leave it to you to read the rules !
Revised February 2019