A Painting and Drawing Art Mediums List

Out of all the artistic mediums, drawing techniques and painting styles have the most variation in terms of the different art mediums available to choose from. Painting and sketching have been the most commonly applied mediums in art history, and the art mediums list for this section will cover what materials there are available to choose from.


Tempera is a type of painting medium that has been used for many centuries due to its quick-drying ingredients and long-lasting pigments. Some examples of tempera paintings have been dated as far back as the 1st century AD, but most of the examples we have left today are from the 12th century until the 15th, after which oil paints became more popular.

Tempera is also called egg tempera, as it is usually made of pigments that have been bound to a water-soluble emulsion such as the yolk of an egg.

Oil Paint

Tempera was a popular medium in art until the arrival of oil paint, which then became the traditional artistic medium in Europe in the 15th century. Oil paint is a slower drying artistic medium and is made from various pigments mixed with oil, such as linseed. Oil painting became a popular artistic medium due to its slow-drying properties as artists could easily change their paintings by adding more layers to the canvas. This was hugely advantageous to artists as they weren’t stuck with the mistakes typical of using tempera as a medium in art.

Acrylic Paint

Acrylic paints dry much faster than oil paints and are water-resistant once dry. To create an effect similar to watercolors, you can dissolve the paint with a bit of water before applying it to your painting. The advantage of using acrylic paint is that you can add textures and depth by applying layers of acrylic paint until you reach the look you desire. You can also add more water to create a kind of matte look in your artwork.


Watercolors are hugely popular because of the large array of colors one can create from them. However, working with watercolors can sometimes prove to be a bit tricky for first-time users. Although the range of achievable colors is a great advantage, once you commit the paint to your chosen canvas, very little can be done to change the end result.

Watercolors are great for creating landscapes due to the luminosity of the pigments.


Artists have always created art out of the available materials around them. Fire has been a part of human development and culture for a very long time, meaning that charcoal has been one of the most readily available types of art mediums throughout the centuries.

Charcoal sticks can be made by binding organic powder with a waxy substance. Charcoal is a rare medium in art materials as it can easily be erased, so if you are planning on trying it, do some research on how to apply fixatives to your canvases to extend the life of your artwork.


Pastels use pigments that are quite similar to those used in oil paints, and are created by mixing these pigments with a binding material. Having been a popular medium in art since the 18th century, there are a variety of pastels that can be used in many ways depending on the techniques you want to apply. Harder pastels are great for overall composition sketching and outlines, while softer pastels look amazing when blended. Another version of the pastel artistic medium uses a sponge for application, called pan pastels.

Depending on whether you want softer toned pastel creations that look similar to watercolors or you want vividly colored vibrant artworks will determine which pastel art mediums to use.


Due to its organic content, chalk is another of the different art mediums that have been used since the earliest days of human art. Materials such as ochre, limestone, and black stone were used to create colors such as sanguine, white, and black. Although originally used for sketching, chalk was soon considered of equal importance as the other types of art medium during the Renaissance period.

Graphite Pencils

Graphite pencils were first used by artists in France during the 17th century. They are great for outlining compositions, creating sketches, or even for applying shading to your artwork. Graphite pencils are one of the types of art mediums that are great for beginners as you can easily edit and change your art by erasing your mistakes and trying again until you get the desired result you are after.

Color Pencils

For most of us, color pencils were a commonly used medium in art classes growing up. Not only are they perfect art mediums to learn your skill with, but they are also used to create beautiful works of professional art. Color pencils can be used to create very simple line drawings or they can be used to create highly detailed and expressive works of art that can even look photorealistic if applied properly.   Ink and Pen

Pen and ink have also been used as art mediums for centuries. Ink is great for creating solid outlines but must be used with a steady hand and great care as there is no way to erase the ink. Ink and pen have been used to create intricate graphic art as well as text-based art forms such as calligraphy for centuries. Depending on what you intend to use your pen for, you can find a multitude of suitable drawing tools such as drafting pens, fountain pens, and graphic pens.

Now that we have answered the question, “what is a medium in art?” and looked at several types of art mediums traditionally used with paper or canvas, let us now expand our art mediums list and look at some other techniques that you can use to create your next work of art.

Art MediumApplication
TemperaQuick-drying and long-lasting
Oil PaintSlow drying and can be layered
Acrylic paintQuick-drying and can be layere
WatercolorsHas a large and luminous color
CharcoalReadily available and easily fixable
PastelsGreat for outlines and shading
ChalkEasily available and easy to use
Graphite PencilsGreat for shading and outlining
Color PencilsGreat for detailed and colorful art
Ink and PenPerfect for solid outlines and details

Three-Dimensional Art Mediums

Three-dimensional art refers to sculptures, wood carvings, and aspects of architectural design elements. Simply put, it is an art that is observed in dimensions of depth, width, and height. Figures carved out of stone are some of the earliest examples we have of art and human culture, revealing much about the people who created them and the times they lived in.

A Brief History of Three-Dimensional Art

Certain goddess fertility sculptures have been dated as far back as 230,000 years B.C., such as the Venus of Berekhat Ram and others found in archeological sites across Europe. Scholars today recognize three distinct types of sculpture design, being free-standing, bas relief sculpture, and high relief sculpture.

Freestanding sculpture can be viewed from any angle, bas relief extends slightly out of the background, and high relief extends significantly beyond the background. Stone and wood were the most commonly used materials traditionally. However, nowadays artists use many various materials such as plastic, hard styrofoam, and even glass to create their sculptures.

Many artists incorporate various materials to further highlight a message their art would like to portray, such as natural materials or litter materials that represent an environmental message to the viewer.

Various Three-Dimensional Art Mediums

There are a few methods you can use to create three-dimensional artwork. Many artists used to carve into stone or wood, while others would mold or construct them. Let us take a look at a few methods you can use to create three-dimensional artwork in this sculpture art mediums list.

Carving and Casting

You can take a raw object such as a stone or piece of wood and can carve pieces out. You can also choose to smoothen them with various techniques to create the desired shape you are after. Another method is called casting, which involves pouring a liquid into some kind of pre-made mold of the shape you wish to create. Once the liquid has hardened, the mold can be removed and the remaining artistic medium is then polished off.


Another method you can use to create three-dimensional artworks is by modeling them with art mediums such as plaster or clay. This medium is great to work with as it stays soft and malleable, allowing you to create the shape you want before letting it dry. You can easily add some water to your clay if it is drying too quickly, and other tools can be used to scrape and cut at the clay to add textures and designs to the surface.


The construction phase of many contemporary artworks is similar to modeling but incorporates other elements such as wire mesh, glue, and other building materials that assist in the framework and design of the art piece. Modeling also includes the delicate and intricate art of glass blowing and glass molding as created by skilled glass artists. These techniques require a furnace or kiln with which to heat the glass in order to shape it using techniques such as fusing and slumping the glass.

Many techniques can also be applied to the cold glass, such as grinding, polishing, and then etching or engraving the glass using various methods to decorate the glass surface.

Another form of three-dimensional art is known as installation art. These exhibits are usually created using various media such as audio or visual clips along with three-dimensional objects to relay some kind of personal, social, or political commentary that is important to the artist. Artists also often incorporate elaborate lighting effects to create a multi-sensory experience for the observer. Performance art is another art form that goes beyond the canvas and involves artists using their bodies as the medium of expression.

CarvingCarve the desired shape from wood or stone
CastingPour a liquid into a prefabricated mold
ModelingUse clay to model shapes as desired
ConstructionBuild structures out of raw materials

Mixed Art Mediums and Unconventional Media

Throughout art history, various movements have risen and become the prominent style of their era, and are often followed by reactionary movements that want to upend the status quo of the academic establishment and create something unique and new that represents their personal artistic view of the world. By using anything as a potential source of inspiration, artists were able to mix and blend mediums to create new styles and aesthetics in the contemporary art world.

In this art mediums list, we will look at some of the avant-garde and unique uses of art mediums in modern art.


The word collage comes from the French word meaning “to glue” and was first pioneered by French Cubist artists like Pablo Picasso and Georges Braque. Collage art is created by combining bits of everyday objects such as newspaper cuttings and cloth and combining them in a way that portrays a unique idea out of existing visual materials. With the wide accessibility to royalty-free images and intuitive software, it is easier to make digital collage art today than ever before.


Assemblage art is almost a kind of three-dimensional collage, consisting of apparently random bits of material and objects that have been placed on a flat surface to create something creative out of nothing. This style was made popular by artists such as Robert Rauschenberg and Jasper Johns in the 1950s and 1960s.

Found Objects

Similar to assemblage, these mixed medium artworks consist of everyday objects re-assembled on a canvas to create something beautiful and meaningful out of repurposed junk. Many street artists in South Africa use found objects to recreate scenes of township life, with soda cans and pieces of wire used to create imaginative art.

Art Journaling

Art journaling serves as a visual diary of past events, such as a scrapbook with various objects that have a special connection to a specific time or event, such as bus tickets from a holiday, postcards, feathers, concert armbands, and so on. The concept behind art journaling is to create a multi-medium experience that has been artistically created as a constant source of good memories.

Collage artPaste newspaper cut-outs in unique patterns
AssemblageAdd objects to a 3D collage
Found ObjectsUp-cycle garbage to make art
Art JournalingA multi-media diary of daily objects
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