Painting With Acrylics For Beginners

Acrylic painting is a creative way to show off your artistic skills. You can paint anything you want, whether it’s your favorite animal or a landscape scene.

If you are interested in learning how to paint with acrylics, then this article will help you get started. This guide will teach you the basics of painting with acrylics and give you tips on how to make your paintings look more realistic.

What Is Acrylic?

Acrylic paints are made up of water, acrylic resin, and particles of pigment. They dry quickly so they don’t need much preparation time before use. The main advantage of using acrylics over oil paints is that they are water-based. Water is what makes the paint flow smoothly.

You’ll need to mix your own acrylic paint because store bought paints won’t always match the exact shade you want. If you’d like to learn more about mixing your own paints, check out our article How To Make Your Own Acrylic Paint.

The most common types of acrylics include:

• Oil-free acrylics

• Watercolor acrylics

• Acrylic gloss medium

• Acrylic matte medium

The most common brand of acrylic paint is Winsor & Newton. This company offers a wide variety of colors and finishes. Other brands include Royal Talens, Liquitex, and Spectrum Brands.

How Does Acrylic Painting Work?

Painting with acrylics is different than painting with oils because there’s no prolonged drying period after applying the paint. Once the paint dries, it becomes permanent. In order to remove the paint, you’ll need to scrub it away. There are special products designed for cleaning up acrylics, but if you’re not careful, you could damage the surface.

Acrylic colors vary in intensity depending on their opacity. Opaque colors like black, white, and brown tend to be darker than transparent colors such as blue and green. If you plan to use darker shades of color, start by mixing two light colors together. For example, mix a pale yellow with an orangey red. Then add more of each color until you reach the desired shade.

You should also experiment with adding other media into your paintings. Try glazing with clear acrylic medium, which adds even more depth to your work.

Brushes That Work Best With Acrylic Paint

There are many different types of brushes available for artists. There are pros and cons to each type, so choose the one that best serves your need. Here are some of the best ones to consider when starting out with acrylic painting.

Soft Tip Brushes

These brushes have short handles and soft bristles. Soft tip brushes are great for blending colors and creating smooth gradients.

Hard Bristle Brushes

These brushes are usually used for detailed work or for applying thick layers of paint. Hard bristle brushes can be used with both acrylic and oil paints.

Round Brushes

Round brushes come in various sizes. Some are flat while others are round. Flat brushes are good for applying large areas of color. Round brushes are ideal for fine details.

Flat Brushes

Flat brushes are similar to round brushes except they have a flat edge instead of a rounded edge. These brushes are useful for applying thin washes of color.

Stippling Brushes

Stippling brushes create patterns by dragging them across the canvas. Stippling brushes are especially helpful for creating texture.

Other Types of Brushes

Some people prefer to use brushes that aren’t specifically designed for acrylics. You may want to look into these options:

Felt-Tip Brushes

Felt-tip brushes are made from felt material. They’re often used for calligraphy and lettering. Felt-tip brushes are inexpensive and easy to find.

Palette Knives

Palette knives are similar to palette boards. Palette knives are typically used for scraping off excess paint, but they can be Bob-Ross’ed into painting tools, too.


Paintbrushes are another option if you don’t already have a collection of brushes. The size and shape of the brush will determine how it works best with acrylics.

What Type of Canvas Works Best With Acrylic Paint

The type of canvas you choose depends on what kind of art you’d like to make. When choosing a canvas, keep in mind that acrylic paint won’t adhere well to stretched canvases. Instead, choose a canvas that’s primed with gesso.

Canvases that are coated with a water-based varnish are also suitable for acrylic painting. However, this type of coating is not recommended for oils because it tends to crack over time.

How To Start Painting With Acrylics

Acrylics are very versatile. They can be applied using any number of techniques. In fact, there are so many ways to apply acrylics that we’ve created an entire article just for beginners! Read on to learn everything you need to know about acrylic painting.

Acrylic Painting Techniques

When beginning to paint with acrylics, it’s important to understand the basic principles behind the medium. Once you grasp those concepts, you’ll be able to start experimenting with new ideas and techniques.

To begin, let’s take a closer look at some of the most common methods of application.

Brush Application

The first step when starting your acrylic paintings is to select a brush. There are several different kinds of brushes available to help you achieve specific results.

For example, round brushes are ideal for applying large amounts of color quickly. Flat brushes are perfect for applying thin washes. And stippling brushes are excellent for adding texture.

Once you’ve selected a brush, hold it firmly against the surface of the canvas. Then, drag the bristles across the canvas in a circular motion. Keep moving until you reach the desired area.

You can also mix up your brush strokes by alternating between two or more brushes. For instance, you could use a round brush for larger areas and then switch to a flat brush for smaller details.

Stroke Size

Another important factor to consider when painting with acrylics is stroke size. Strokes should be no wider than 1/4 inch (6 mm). If you try to create a thicker line, the paint will run together.

However, too small of a stroke can result in a blurry image. So, experiment with various sizes until you find one that produces the effect you want.

Wash Technique

Next, you’ll want to decide whether you want to work wet-on-wet or dry-brush. Wet-on-wet means that you apply the paint directly onto the canvas without waiting for it to dry. Dry-brush refers to applying the paint after it has dried.

In general, working wet-on-wetter is easier because you don’t have to worry about getting paint on your hands. But, if you prefer to work dry-brushed, you can always add additional layers later.

In either case, once you’ve decided which technique you’d like to use, you’ll need to prepare your palette. A good rule of thumb is to have enough paints to cover the entire canvas.

Palette Preparation

Before you start painting, make sure you have all the supplies you need. You’ll need:

• Paint – This includes both the colors you plan to use and the medium itself.

• Brushes – These include round, flat, and stipple brushes.

• Other tools – Depending on what kind of effects you want to achieve, you may need things such as sponges, paper towels, and other objects.

Tips for Successful Acrylic Painting

Now that you’re ready to get started, here are a few tips to keep in mind while painting with acrylics.

1. Start With a Clear Base Layer

It’s best to start your painting with a clear base layer. This helps prevent unwanted paint from bleeding through to the next layer. To do this, simply lay down a thick coat of white paint. Let it completely dry before proceeding.

2. Use a Stable Surface

When using a stable surface, you won’t have any trouble keeping your canvas steady. Choose a sturdy table or easel that allows you to move around easily.

3. Work Patiently

Don’t rush your work! Take your time when creating each new layer. Try not to touch the previous layer until it has fully dried. Otherwise, the paint might smear.

4. Add More Layers

As you continue to work, you may notice some parts of the canvas look lighter than others. This happens because the lightest parts absorb the most paint, making them look brighter.

To fix this problem, just add another layer of paint over the top. The darker layer will soak up less paint, so it appears darker.

5. Mix Up Your Brushstrokes

You can vary your brushstroke by alternating between different types of brushes. For example, you could use a large round brush for larger areas, and then switch to a smaller flat brush for smaller details and highlights.

6. Experiment With Different Effects

Depending on how you feel about the results, you can play around with different techniques. For instance, you could try adding watercolor washes, blending multiple colors together, or even experimenting with glazing.

7. Clean Up After Yourself

If you’re finished with a piece, be sure to clean up any leftover paint. If you leave it there, it will eventually cause damage to the canvas.

8. Keep It Simple

Keep in mind that simple is often better. When you first begin painting, you may find yourself trying to create something complicated. However, if you stick to simpler designs, you’ll end up with more satisfying results.

9. Don’t Be Afraid to Ask Questions

If you ever run into problems, don’t hesitate to ask someone else for help. There are many people who love sharing their knowledge with others.

10. Enjoy the Process

The process of learning to paint isn’t always easy. But once you’ve mastered the basics, you’ll enjoy the feeling of accomplishment.

11. Share Your Artwork

Once you’ve created a masterpiece, share it with friends and family. You never know where it might lead.

12. Practice Makes Perfect

The more you practice, the easier it will become. So keep at it!

13. Have Fun!

Art should be fun, so don’t stress it. No matter how difficult it gets, keep in mind that you’re doing something you love.