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The Difference Between Mixed Media and Multimedia

Updated on January 26, 2017

My Definition

The simplest definition for multimedia: Using more than one medium, but there is actually a little more to it than that. In order to understand multimedia, you first need to understand mixed media art, and the difference between the two. Multimedia is an expansion from mixed media because you add all kinds of "media," not just one. Read on to find out more about both of these forms of art.

What is Mixed Media Art?

Mixed media is all visual, like adding oil paint to a watercolor picture. You can add as many visual elements to it and it will still be mixed media. The reason that the definitions of these two forms of art can be confusing is because animation, digital art, and other forms of multimedia can use mixed media as well.

What is Multimedia Art?

In order to create art using multimedia, you have to add something that makes texture, sound, or even literature. When you combine art to a poem, this is multimedia. Clay is multimedia. Basically anything that is not just visual, and appeals to other senses is multimedia. The biggest form of multmedia today is the animation and digital art industry. These are forms of art not only because of what you can see, but also what you hear, and feel.

One of my first prints
One of my first prints
Some of the "special paper" I made
Some of the "special paper" I made

Open Your Mind

My love for mxed media started when I was just a girl and collected magazines and then cut them up to hang all over my wall or to make some sort of scrapbook. Later on, I realized that I could glue them to things and makecollages. Another form of multimedia- mud pies? Or maybe rock tumbling? It seemed I would find a creative use for anything. My mother is an artist (as a hobby), and I always think about how I watched her sketch and then later on, paint. For some reason, I was always there with her when endeavoring on some artistic venture. She was the first one to show me watercolor, then oil painting. I loved to paint, but when I became older, I discovered that there was so much more to being creative. Big murals and clay in art class was always the bright part of the day for me. When I finally went to high school, I enrolled in a mutimedia class, and was plunged into my own wild imagination as I came up with even more creative ways to express myself.

Opening up your mind seems to play an important part in any form of art, but when you can add so many textures and forms to it, and use any kind of paint, pencil, charcoal, or ink, it becomes much easier to free yourself through your art. Although I don't remember the exact way it was done, I learned how to make colored paper with water, oil and india ink. I loved to watch all the bright swirls seep into the white paper, leaving a totally unique and riveting masterpiece. Each time, you can add different colors and swirl it around any way you like, making it yours.

Other projects I did when I was young was during a special art class my mother did one summer. I loved basket-weaving and found it very easy, but it was also a little tedious. The thing I remember most was when we created linoleum blocks and prints. This takes a certain amount of skill to carve the lines exactly how you want them, and to make them deep enough to get the right effect. I also did this a few times in my regular art class in high school. I made a dragon then used all kinds of combinations of colors. Who says a dragon needs to be brown or gray? I made it pink, blue, or even orange.

Great example of multimedia in film- BJORK

Animation and Film

Find out exactly how much multimedia there is in the world today. Animation is a big chunk of this category. With the amount of technology that pours into our world today, multimedia will continue to grow and thrive. Even though I love animation and respect everyone who works with computers to create awesome movies and ads, I still love the more artistic form of multimedia. I will always think of a sculpture or collage as mixed media, or in other words, multimedia.

Jackson Pollock

Abstact and Textured

Many great artists, both old and new, are known for their "abstract" work. I have to admit that I have seen some things that you just look at and wonder, why can this artist can show this blob of color and get away with it? Pollock is a great artist, even though he isn't necessarily a multimedia artist, because even though he sometimes seems like the kind of artist who just slops some paint on canvas and calls it art, he has done a lot of work, all of it different, and his art always seems to be very texturized. Even when he wasn't adding sand or broken glass to them, he could paint the texture in just the right way. Some of his work has a smooth feeling to it, while others are rather jagged and rough. Pollock has been compared to Picasso (because of the shapes he uses), and Miro (because of the surrealism he uses). He also puts thought into every mark he makes. If you would like to see some of his great works of art and a biography, click here and check it out.

Somerset Studios Magazine

This great magazine is the #1 rubber art stamping, and paper crafts magazine. There are a lot of articles about some amazing artists, including detailed instructions on how to create the same thing they feature. There is everything from jewelry making to all kinds of collages, and the artists find so many ways of using mixed media, to create wondrous works of art. Stampington and Company are the publishers of this top magazine along with thirty more titles. There is also a shopppe at Somerset with anything you can think of needing for your arts and crafts from top vendors. One of the newest items are fine paper wrap sets from Papaya Art. To find out more visit


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    • erinb62 profile image

      Erin Buttermore 6 years ago from Laconia

      Thank you! Please check out more of my hubs, there is more art!

    • valery elias profile image

      valery elias 6 years ago

      Beautiful examples of mixed media!