ⓘ List of art media


ⓘ List of art media

Visual arts media is the material and tools used by an artist, composer or designer to create a work of art, for example, "pen and ink" where the pen is the tool and the ink is the material. Here is a list of types of art and the media used within those types.


1. Drawing

Common drawing materials

  • Pastel
  • Charcoal
  • Pixel
  • Conte
  • Chalk
  • Ink
  • Crayon
  • Graphite

Common supports surfaces for drawing

  • Vellum
  • Glass
  • Stone
  • Human body
  • Plaster
  • Metal
  • Wood
  • Scratchboard
  • Concrete
  • Fabric
  • Canvas
  • Card stock
  • Paper

Common drawing tools and methods

  • Brush
  • Stylus
  • Fountain pen
  • Technical pen
  • Marker
  • Gel pen
  • Colored pencil
  • Ballpoint pen
  • Pencil
  • Mechanical pencil
  • Pen
  • Finger

2. Electronic

  • Word processors and desktop publishing software
  • Programming languages
  • Graphic art software and 3D computer graphics
  • Digital photography and digital cinematography
  • Digital printing
  • Specialized input devices e.g. variable pressure sensing tablets and touchscreens

3. Food

A chefs tools and equipment, including ovens, stoves, grills, and griddles. Specialty equipment may be used, including salamanders, French tops, woks, tandoors, and induction burners.


4. Installation

Installation art is a site-specific form of sculpture that can be created with any material. An installation can occupy a large amount of space, create an ambience, transform/disrupt the space, exist in the space. One way to distinguish an installation from a sculpture this may not apply to every installation is to try to imagine it in a different space. If the objects present difficulties in a different space than the original, it is probably an installation.


5. Literature

Traditional writing media

  • Computer printers
  • Letterpress printing
  • Internet websites
  • Digital word processor
  • Marker
  • Pen and ink or *quill
  • Pencil

6. Painting

Supports for painting

  • Ceramics
  • Paper
  • Metal
  • Glass
  • Wood
  • Cloth
  • Paperboard
  • Human body typically for tattoos
  • Wall
  • Vellum
  • Canvas
  • Architectural structures

Traditional tools and methods

  • Sponge
  • Brush
  • Paint roller or paint pad
  • Cloth
  • Palette knife
  • Action painting
  • Aerosol paint
  • Batik
  • Airbrush

Graphic narrative media

Comics creators use many of the same media as traditional painters.


6.1. Painting Traditional paint media

  • Stencil
  • Gesso
  • Acrylic paint
  • Watercolor
  • Glaze
  • Latex paint
  • Tempera or poster paint
  • Fresco
  • Encaustic paint
  • Vinyl paint toxic/poisonous
  • Magna paint
  • Blacklight paint
  • Vitreous enamel
  • Ink
  • Primer
  • Oil paint
  • Ink wash sumi-e
  • Gouache

6.2. Painting Indigenous materials for painting

  • Coconut juice
  • Staple wire
  • Mud
  • Solar energy
  • Various bodily fluids and excrement including elephant dung
  • Garlic
  • Onion
  • Ochre Yellow,Red, White or charcoal
  • Black palm
  • Tomato
  • Soy sauce
  • Rust
  • Human hair and blood
  • Coffee

6.3. Painting Supports for painting

  • Ceramics
  • Paper
  • Metal
  • Glass
  • Wood
  • Cloth
  • Paperboard
  • Human body typically for tattoos
  • Wall
  • Vellum
  • Canvas
  • Architectural structures

6.4. Painting Traditional tools and methods

  • Sponge
  • Brush
  • Paint roller or paint pad
  • Cloth
  • Palette knife
  • Action painting
  • Aerosol paint
  • Batik
  • Airbrush

6.5. Painting Mural techniques

Muralists use many of the same media as panel painters, but due to the scale of their works, use different techniques. Some such techniques include:

  • Fresco
  • Pounce art
  • Image projector
  • Aerosol paint
  • Digital painting
  • Mosaic

7. Performing arts

The performing arts is a form of entertainment that is created by the artists own body, face and presence as a medium. There are many skills and genres of performance; dance, theatre and re-enactment being examples. Performance art is a performance that may not present a conventional formal linear narrative.


8. Photography

In photography a photosensitive surface is used to capture an optical still image, usually utilizing a lens to focus light. Some media include:

  • Photographic film
  • Potassium dichromate
  • Digital image sensor
  • Potassium ferricyanide and ferric ammonium citrate
  • Silver nitrate

9. Printmaking

In the art of printmaking, "media" tends to refer to the technique used to create a print. Common media include:

  • Aquatint
  • Dye-sublimation printer
  • Laser printer
  • Inkjet printer sometimes called giclee printing
  • Thermal printer
  • Computer printing
  • Solid ink printer
  • Metalcut
  • Offset printing
  • Woodcut
  • Etching
  • Wood engraving
  • Relief etching
  • Monotype
  • Lithography
  • Linocut
  • Relief printing
  • Photographic printing
  • Intaglio printmaking
  • Planographic printing
  • Letterpress literature
  • Engraving
  • Embossing
  • Printing press
  • Mezzotint
  • Moku hanga
  • Woodblock printing
  • Screen-printing

10. Sculpture

In sculpting, a solid structure and textured surface is shaped or combined using substances and components, to form a three-dimensional object. The size of a sculptured work can be built very big and could be considered as architecture, although more commonly a large statue or bust, and can be crafted very small and intricate as jewellery, ornaments and decorative reliefs.


10.1. Sculpture Carving media

  • Ivory
  • Marble
  • Granite
  • Ice
  • Stone
  • Bone carving
  • Gemstones
  • Wax
  • Plaster
  • Bronze
  • Wood
  • Glass

10.2. Sculpture Casting media

  • Ceramics
  • Metal
  • Plaster
  • Synthetic resin
  • Wax
  • Cement
  • Plastic

10.3. Sculpture Assembled media

  • Foil
  • Found objects
  • Textile
  • Wire
  • Corrugated fiberboard cardboard
  • Edible material
  • Wood
  • Paperboard
  • Beads
  • Glue and other adhesives

10.4. Sculpture Finishing materials

  • Polychrome
  • Glaze
  • Acids to create a patina corrosive
  • Wax

10.5. Sculpture Tools

  • Pliers
  • Potters wheel
  • Bristle brush
  • Scraper
  • Clamp or vise
  • Chisel and hammer modern pneumatic
  • Wirecutter
  • Welding and cutting torch
  • Snips
  • Sandpaper
  • Saw
  • Knife
  • Hammer or mallet modern pneumatic
  • Kiln for heating ceramics and metals
  • Power tools

11. Sound

The art of sound can be singular or a combination of speech or objects and crafted instruments, to create sounds, rhythms and music for a range of sonic hearing purposes. See also music and sound art.


12. Technical products

The use of technical products as an art medium is a merging of applied art and science, that may involve aesthetics, efficiency and ergonomics using various materials.


13. Textiles

In the art of textiles a soft and flexible material of fibers or yarn is formed by spinning wool, flax, cotton, or other material on a spinning wheel and crocheting, knitting, macrame knotting, weaving, or pressing fibres together felt to create a work.

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