What are the visual arts?

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At Art Cantina, we include eleven main disciplines and numerous subcategories under the term, Visual Arts.

The most defining characteristic of the visual arts is that you, the artist and maker, use your hands (and usually several tools) to create “something”… an object that can be admired, sold, or even be useful. That something can be two-dimensional, such as a painting, photograph or handmade paper, or three-dimensional, possibly an intricate piece of jewelry or a larger-than-life sculpture.

Most often these creations are one-of-a-kind, although some works of art can be replicated, such as bronze sculpture. But rarely do multiple copies happen with just a push of a button. Much craft and technique goes into each piece of art, whether you use time-honored skills or embrace modern technologies, or a combination of both.

Check out the eleven main disciplines and subcategories below, and then open the door and start learning the visual arts!

what visual arts skill do you want to learn?


acrylic, airbrush, digital/tablet, enamel, encaustic, fresco, gouache, ink wash, mixed media, mural, oil, pastel, tempera, watercolor


charcoal, colored pencil, conte, graphite, mixed media, pen & ink, pyrography, metalpoint, scratchboard


bronze/cast metal, cold casting, metal fabrication, ceramic, glass, mixed media, paper, stone, wood


relief (woodcut, woodblock, linocut); intaglio (etching, engraving, messotint, aquatint); screenprinting, stencil; monotype, lithograph

Collage / Mosaics

ceramic, glass, mixed media, paper, photographic, stone / tile

Ceramics / Pottery

glazes, handbuilding, mosaics, raku, slip casting, sculpture, tiles, wheel throwing

Glass Arts

glass blowing, flame / lampworking, kiln-forming, fusing / slumping, casting, cold-working / engraving, stained / leaded glass, glass painting, screenprinting, mosaics, beadmaking, neon

Jewelry / Metalsmithing

casting, metal forming / shaping, chain mail, wire wrapping, polymer clay, metal clay, resin, enameling, beading, beadmaking, soldering, gemstone setting, lapidary, engraving, stamping, etching, texturing, CAD (computer-aided design & production)

Fiber Arts / Textiles

basketry, beadwork, crochet / knitting, embroidery / crewel, lacework / tatting, dyeing, encaustic, surface design, batik, felting, hooked art, braiding / knotting / tying / wrapping / coiling, sewing, hand-stitching / applique, quilting, spinning, weaving, tapestry, wearable art, clothing design

Paper Arts

calligraphy, book illumination, bookmaking, book binding, collage, embossing, papermaking, paper sculpture, quilling


fundamentals / preparation, camera basics, equipment & materials, light & lighting, film photography, darkroom techniques & printmaking, alternative processes & chemistry, digital photography & printmaking, digital editing / manipulation, film-making / videography