Mixed media, hand made or digital?

Ticking upload boxes on portfolio sites, such as the Association of Illustrators in the UK and the Directory of Illustration in the US is always problematic for me. Nearly everything these days ends up digital. If you just scan it in and send it to the client, I guess it is hand made. Anything added and it could be deemed digital. On the other hand, visibly digital is quite different from using digital means to an end (isn’t it completely obvious who has used Illustrator or some special Photoshop brushes?). So what are art directors expecting if they key in the tag ‘digital’?

This image, my most recent, is a mix of sources. Is it therefore to be tagged ‘mixed media’? Or ‘digital’ because I assembled it digitally? Or ‘hand made’ because I drew or painted most of it?

volcano prediction

I painted a volcano in watercolour. I scanned it in and inserted it in the magnifying glass which is a paid-for photo. The hand I made in the app Handy and altered to suit both my intended colour and style. The flow chart was drawn in graphite, scanned, coloured and warped with the perspective tool in Photoshop, and given a gradient to match the volcano sky. The pencil was drawn and coloured by hand in Procreate app on my iPad. You see the problem??

I’ll go put it on the two portfolio sites and randomly pick tags. Hopefully someone will be searching for “volcano” instead of by medium.


  1. If I were you, I tagged it “mixed media”, because you have used both quite equally. But yes, I understand your point. It’s not so simple to label someone’s artwork. 🙂


    1. Thanks. Good advice – and they allow you 10 tags anyway so I’ve been doing that with other tags too. But also wondering if that’s what ‘mixed media’ was intended for!


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