Art media is the material used by an artist, composer or designer to create a work of art. This is a list of types of art and the materials used within those types.


Main articles: Outline of architecture and Building material

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.


Further information: List of woods

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


Main article: Ceramic art

A ceramic material is worked by hand and with tools that might be colored or glazed, then fired in a kiln and hardened by heat, to make earthenware, stoneware, sculpture and mosaic art.


Main article: Outline of drawing and drawings

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

Indigenous materials for painting

The 20th Century was the century in which the Indigenous Art Movement (Indigenouism) appeared.

Traditional supports for drawing


Main articles: Electronic art, Digital art, and Electronic media

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. This allows for instant alterations to modify, add or undo, and delete any actions made, at any time when creating a work.

Digital artists achieve a level of industry and production quality in marketing advertisements, on magazines, and special effects in animated or live action films. There are 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.

Here are some examples of electronic forms that mirror traditional methods:


Main articles: Outline of film and Cinematic techniques

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


Main article: Culinary art

In the cooking and baking industries, culinary art media include a chef's tools and equipment, including ovens, stoves, grills, and griddles. 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 texture and taste, including layers of complimenting flavors, from bitter to sweet or sour in a dish, also serve to influence the consumer's appreciation of the finished product.

Graphic narrative

Main article: Graphic narrative

Graphic narrative is an art form that uses images deployed in sequence for graphic storytelling or to convey information.[2] The best-known example of sequential art is comics, especially comic books and comic strips, which are a printed arrangement of art and speech balloons.


The transparent and decorative art of glass making by hand was in recent history a relatively common skill, whereas today it is a scarcely practiced specialised skill. To handle the melted liquid state to the brittle hardened finish, makes using glass a precarious and fragile material to work with. Glassblowing, colouring and marking methods are used individually or combined to form small and large glass peaces of art, from studio glass or stained glass, to all kinds of glassware.


Further information: Lighting designer

The illumination of light as a practical use to visibly reveal what may be shaded or in the 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.


Main articles: Literature and Writing implement

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

Main articles: Gardening and Landscape architecture

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.


Main article: Outline of painting

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

Main articles: Performing arts and Performance art

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.


Main article: Outline of photography

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:


Main article: Outline of 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.


Carving media

Casting Media

Modeling Media

Assembled Media

Finishing materials



Main articles: List of musical instruments and Music theory

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.

Technical products

Further information: Industrial design, Product design, and Engineering

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

See also


  1. ^ Mayer, Ralph. The Artist's Handbook of Materials and Techniques, Viking, 1940, ISBN 978-0670837014
  2. ^ Will Eisner, Graphic Storytelling and Visual Narrative, Poorhouse Press, 2001 (1st. ed.: 1996), p. 6.