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Top Ten Books for the Mixed Media Artist

Updated on October 28, 2014
Mixed Media Painting of Woman
Mixed Media Painting of Woman

Art Books are Ideal Gifts for the Mixed Media Artist

If you have a mixed media or paper artist on your gift list, one or more of these highly recommended art books is sure to please. You will find descriptions of ten books, plus some art pictures.

Do you have a mixed media artist on your gift giving list? If you said yes, then you should know that we are very easy people to shop for. We love art supplies, craft supplies, and books, books, books!

On the other hand, perhaps you're the artist and you're looking for a gift for yourself! If so, you may find something here that you like.

There is no such thing as having too many art books, for someone who is seriously into mixed media art, whether as an enthusiastic hobbyist or whether a professional who sells his or her work.

This page suggests some of the best mixed media art books on the market his season.

Unless otherwise stated, all photos are credited to June Campbell.

ATCs with Quinoa Background.
ATCs with Quinoa Background.

So What is Mixed Media Art Anyway?

Mixed media art is art that is created using more than one medium.

In other words, a mixed media artist might use a variety of media in a project. He or she might use paints of all kinds, rubber stamps, embossing, metal objects, found objects, fabric, ribbon, buttons, ephemera, knitting, crochet, image transfers, digital art, pastels, marking pencils, scrapbook papers, newsprint, gesso, soldered materials, glass, polymer clay, beads, twine, pressed botanicals and almost anything else that can be incorporated into a project.

In the ATCs shown in the picture, I combined cardstock, quilling, feathers and spray painted quinoa to make the artwork.

Note! About the Books

These books are listed in no particular order. I do not recommend any one as being better than the next. It is a matter of personal preference.

Book 1: Dusty Diablos: Folklore, Iconography, Assemblage, Ole! - by Michael DeMeng

With Inspiration from South of the Border. Michael DeMeng is an accomplished mixed media artist. He leads international workshops and sells commissioned work. In this book, he goes south to Mexico for inspiration. Although some mixed media artists find DeMeng's work a little "off the wall", others love him. This book contains excellent photos that show his artistic process. How-tos are included.

Altered Art: Techniques for Creating Altered Books, Boxes, Cards & More
Altered Art: Techniques for Creating Altered Books, Boxes, Cards & More

This one is a classic. An oldie but a goodie, as the saying goes.


Book #2: Altered Art: Techniques for Creating Altered Books, Boxes, Cards & More

This book has been around for awhile, but the artwork in it makes it a classic. Some of my mixed media artist friends say it is their favorite book of all times. The book covers various categories of altered art, and includes artwork from an array of artists, as well as directions for some of the technniques.

Book #3: Mixed Mania

This artist friend of mine says," My all time favorite. It covers a lot of different techniques, has wonderful tutorials and great pieces of art. It covers creating backgrounds and papers, inchies, collages, journals paper dolls, houses, tools etc. I have others but they are for one type .... digital, art quilting, etc."

The authors/artists are Debbie Crane and Cheryl Prater.

Book # 4: The Secret of Rusty Things: Transforming Found Objects Into Art

Another book by the hugely popular Michael de Meng. The author shows some amazing sculptures he has made using assemblage art, and discusses each.

In this book, de Meng draws from mythology around the world as inspiration for his artwork. Thanks to his explanations, you are able to understand the myths behind the projects. The photography is nothing short of stunning.

This is not particularly a "how-to" book so do not expect step by step instructions.

Book #5: True Vision: Authentic Art Journaling

Some of my mixed media artist friends name this book as being among their all time favorites. The book contains the art work of 25 leading artists. The focus is on creating rich, meaningful content that reflects the artist's life issues.

The book covers ways of bringing meaning into such life issues as spirituality, childhood events, favorite books, etc. The author provides guided activities and exercises to assist the reader.

This is a book for a serious art journalist.

Collage Unleashed
Collage Unleashed

By Traci Bautista


Book #6: Collage Unleashed

Highly recommended by one mixed media artist friend, this book is said to be "stimulating, inspiring and encouraging". Those who have struggled to recreate Sabrina Ward Harrison's effects will find help in this book.

The book incorporates three trendy categories of mixed media art: collage, altered fabric and journaling.

Bautista helps the artist move away from perfectionism by tapping into the inner, playful child to create bright, fun, playful works of art.

Book $7: Exhibition 36: Mixed Media Demonstrations and Explorations

This book features amazing art from 36 artists. Among its many key qualities, it discusses how to turn mistakes into works of art. And we all need that skill, right?

This book includes great examples of assemblage, mixed media, digital art, art dolls, jewelry and much more. It's a book suitable for all levels of artists, from beginner to advanced.

Book #8: New Creative Collage Techniques: How to Make Original Art Using Paper, Color and Texture

One highly skilled mixed media artist has this to say: "I just love all of the techniques in this book". This book is a great choice for both the experienced artist and the new artist wanting to get started.

As the title suggests, the book is all about collage. The author says that collage is something that anyone can do, regardless of age or skill level. She proceeds to show the reader what she means.

Not only does the author show you how to do collage, but she shows you how to make many of the creative pieces that you can put into the collage.

The book includes the work of sixty featured artists.

Book #9: Mixed-Media Girls with Suzi Blu: Drawing, Painting, and Fanciful Adornments from Start to Finish

Suzi Blu's art is well known to mixed media artists. This book takes you step by step through the process of creating folk art and stylized faces. It's a favorite among some of my artist friends.

If drawing is new to you, but you'd like to try, this is a great way to get started. Blue provides detailed instructions and steps for creating the lovely little girls that you have seen elsewhere.

Book #10: Mixed Emulsions: Altered Art Techniques for Photographic Imagery

Rated as a favorite by one mixed media artist, who said, "She's written a few books about altered art and explains her techniques thoroughly. The book attracts rave reviews from enthusiastic reviewers, who enjoy the fact that the author introduces so many types of media in her art.

This books shows more than twenty-five effects, all well illustrated.

Poll: Your Favorite Mixed Media Artist

Who's your favorite?

See results

Photos of Mixed Media Art Projects

Click thumbnail to view full-size
"Fat book" or "Chunky Book" CoverAltered Eyeglasses. "Victoria's Secret Spectacles"Altered Mouse Trap. 'Effie's B and B"Art Bra, Celebrating Breast Cancer Awareness MonthAltered Cigar Box, Themed Moulin RougeAltered Spectacle Case, Theme Circus WagonInchie Quilt Made With FabricAltered Children's Board Book: Garden ThemeMardi Gras Mask, HandMadeSoldered Memory Glass Pendants
"Fat book" or "Chunky Book" Cover
"Fat book" or "Chunky Book" Cover
Altered Eyeglasses. "Victoria's Secret Spectacles"
Altered Eyeglasses. "Victoria's Secret Spectacles"
Altered Mouse Trap. 'Effie's B and B"
Altered Mouse Trap. 'Effie's B and B"
Art Bra, Celebrating Breast Cancer Awareness Month
Art Bra, Celebrating Breast Cancer Awareness Month
Altered Cigar Box, Themed Moulin Rouge
Altered Cigar Box, Themed Moulin Rouge
Altered Spectacle Case, Theme Circus Wagon
Altered Spectacle Case, Theme Circus Wagon
Inchie Quilt Made With Fabric
Inchie Quilt Made With Fabric
Altered Children's Board Book: Garden Theme
Altered Children's Board Book: Garden Theme
Mardi Gras Mask, HandMade
Mardi Gras Mask, HandMade
Soldered Memory Glass Pendants
Soldered Memory Glass Pendants

© 2012 June Campbell

Comments Please.

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    • junecampbell profile imageAUTHOR

      June Campbell 

      5 years ago from North Vancouver, BC, Canada

      @Aibrean82: Perhaps you will some day soon.

    • Aibrean82 profile image


      5 years ago

      I have always wanted to try this!

    • WildFacesGallery profile image


      5 years ago from Iowa

      So many cool ideas ... so little time. :)

    • TeacherSerenia profile image


      6 years ago

      I have always wanted to try my hand at making an altered book. Now I know which book to get that will show me how. Thanks.

    • Linda BookLady profile image

      Linda Jo Martin 

      6 years ago from Post Falls, Idaho, USA

      Mixed media is beautiful art.

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      Some great suggestions for fun gifts.

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      interesting collection for mixed media books.

    • lewisgirl profile image


      6 years ago

      Nice selection of books!


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