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List of artistic media

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Title: List of artistic media  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Man Ray, Art world, Sociology of art, The Artist's Handbook of Materials and Techniques, Liquitex
Collection: Art Materials, Art Media, Arts-Related Lists, Ceramic Materials, Painting Materials, Sculpture Materials
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

List of artistic media

In the arts, a medium is a material used by an artist or designer to create a work.


  • Architecture 1
  • Carpentry 2
  • Ceramics 3
  • Drawing 4
    • Traditional drawing media 4.1
    • Traditional bases for drawing 4.2
  • Electronic 5
  • Film 6
  • Food 7
  • Light 8
  • Literature 9
    • Traditional writing mediums 9.1
    • Traditional bases for writing 9.2
  • Natural world 10
  • Painting 11
    • Traditional paint media 11.1
    • Supports for painting 11.2
    • Traditional tools and methods 11.3
    • Mural techniques 11.4
  • Performing arts 12
  • Photography 13
  • Printmaking 14
  • Sculpture 15
    • Materials 15.1
      • Carving materials 15.1.1
      • Casting materials 15.1.2
      • Modeling materials 15.1.3
      • Assembled materials 15.1.4
      • Finishing materials 15.1.5
    • Tools 15.2
  • Sound 16
  • Technical products 17
  • Textiles 18
  • See also 19
  • References 20
  • External links 21


In the art and science of architecture, the design and construction of buildings and interiors, infrastructure and other physical structures are created. It can involve multiple disciplines of brickwork, carpentry, engineering, stonemasonry and many other skills.


The art of carpentry and woodworking is by a skilled craftsperson or joiner, who designs and builds buildings, furniture and other objects.



In drawing, "media" refers to both the material that is manually applied and to the base onto which it is applied.[1] The media applied can be many things but the method of application is a stick type object with a point (not a brush) that transfers particles of media to the base. The point of the stick can be as minute as it can be large.

The most commonly practiced form of drawing or sketching is with a pencil and paper, however the wide and varied use of materials applied can be graphite, fusain, pastel, and ink among other things. Bases can be paper, plaster, canvas, wood or basically anything that accepts the medium applied from the point of the stick.

Traditional drawing media

Traditional bases for drawing


In contrast to traditional art media, electronic art media are tools and materials such as computers and electronic media to produce electronic art either for electrical display or printing.

There are various application software such as Photoshop, Illustrator, Painter, and Maya. These are some of the programs that artists use to modify photos, create new digital illustrations, or model 3D objects and turn them into full body animations. These electronic programs provide artists with added control, that is unlike traditional and physical hand crafted materials. Allowing instant alterations to modify, add or undo, and delete any actions made, at anytime when creating a work.

Digital artists achieve a level of industry and production quality that you see in marketing advertisements, on magazines, and special effects that you see in animated or live action films. There is also technical illustrations and visualization graphics which are made reconfigurable and scalable, with a high level of precise detail. Electronic media allows for art to be interactive and virtualized in ways not possible with traditional media.

Examples include electronic forms of traditional methods such as:


In cinematography and film, a sequence of still images is captured with a video camera. A series of individual images are called film frames. When these images are shown in rapid succession, a viewer gains the displayed illusion that motion is occurring.


In the cooking and baking industries, culinary art media include a chef's tools and equipment, including ovens, stoves, grills, and griddles. As well, specialty equipment may be used in kitchens across the world, including salamanders, French tops, woks, tandoors, and induction burners. Prepared dishes serve as a visual art for the consumer, an olfactory art with different aromas resonating from the food, and occasionally an auditory art (e.g. with tandoor-cooked or crunchy foods). The taste, including layers of flavor in a dish, also serve to influence the consumer's appreciation of the finished product.


The illumination of light as a practical use to reveal what may be shaded or dark is common. Light as an art form is a function of art works and entertainment, it is a projection source and a backlighting source, for colours, focal or focus points and can be an element to enhance or change atmosphere or mood in areas or on objects.


The art of written words and typography is traditionally an ink and printed form on paper or is creatively written with many forms of mediums.

Traditional writing mediums

Traditional bases for writing

Natural world

In the natural world large scale creative works can involve horticulture for the cultivation of plants, earthworks for landscaping and irrigation or rainwater harvesting for water features, in gardens, parks and botanical gardens.


In painting, "media" refers to both the type of paint used and the base (or ground) to which it is applied. A paint's medium refers to what carries a paint's pigments (colors), and is also called a "vehicle", "base" or binder. A painter can mix a medium with solvents, pigments, and other substances in order to make paint, and control consistency.

Traditional paint media

Supports for painting

Traditional tools and methods

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:

Performing arts

The performing arts is a form of entertainment that is created by the artist's 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.


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


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


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.


Carving materials

Casting materials

Modeling materials

Assembled materials

Finishing materials



The art of sound can be singular or a combination of speech or objects and crafted instruments, to create sounds, rhythms and music for the enjoyment of hearing.

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.


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, knotting, weaving, or pressing fibres together (felt) to create a work.

See also


  1. ^ Mayer, Ralph. The Artist's Handbook of Materials and Techniques, ISBN 978-0670837014

External links

  • Media (artists' materials) — definition from the Getty Art & Architecture Thesaurus.

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