Do you want to learn how to paint using acrylic paints - but don't know where to start?! If you've never painted before - painting can seem intimidating.
All these are common questions and leave many too afraid to pick up a brush. But painting is easier than you think and once you start - you'll realize how much fun it is and let your inner artist shine.
We'll cover these questions and more in our step-by-step guide below.
Acrylic paint has a distinct set of properties that make it different from oils and watercolors – and perfect for beginners.
The options are endless on what you can potentially paint. Here's a list off paintings ideas to get you started.
Each paintbrush has a number after the name of the brush - the larger the number, the wider the brush.
You don’t need all these brushes. We recommend that you buy the following synthetic brushes to get started - Round 1, Round 6, Filbert 8 and Flat 12. This 5-brush set is commonly used in many painting classes and is also included in our Starter Box experience.
To learn more about brushes and how to take care of them - check out our post on brush care.
As we mentioned earlier, acrylic painting is very easy to work with - which makes it great for beginners. For colors, start with basic tubes of red, blue, yellow, black and white. Keep in mind you can mix colors together to create any additional hues/colors you need.
There are two different thicknesses or “body” for acrylic paints: heavy body (thicker) and soft body (thinner). Heavy body is more popular because it allows you to paint with more textures.
Don't buy too much a large quantity at the outset, acrylic paints last a while and you’ll also be mixing the paints with water. An 8 oz tube will last a while. Don't forget your palette to mix the paints - we recommend a 8" x 10" heavy paper board.
Now that we've talked through the items you need for acrylic painting, let's talk about the mediums you can potentially paint on: canvas, wood or fabrics. For beginners, the easiest medium is canvas - buy a 16"x20" canvas that that doesn't require pretreatment. If you choose to go with a canvas, grab an easel so you can paint comfortably while you sit.
We’ll provide you with some quick color mixing tips, but a lot of it has to do with experimentation.
1) Don't use black to make colors dark - adding black paint typically leads to colors being more cloudy and muddied.
2) A touch of white or a lighter version of the color you are using will add a differentiated hue to the color. Adding the color white to any color will help with hue and opacity as well.
3) Make your blues deeper in color by adding – red to it. Who knew?!
Now we’ll go over some painting techniques.
Dabbing is similar to taking a web sponge and putting it onto a canvas. It is a commonly used technique that creates a unique texture. We used the splatter technique to create the backdrop for our Lovebirds At Dusk painting
When you take a completely dry brush, put some paint on it and then apply it to a canvas you will create a strong color on the canvas. The lines will be rigid and uneven because there is no water to smooth it out. The dry-brush technique leads to a unique look with jagged edges.
The perfect technique when you want to see texture - dilute the paint with water and it’ll set with the texture applied.
This technique allows you to create smaller dots. Dip your paintbrush into the color, hold it perpendicular to the surface, and then touch the tip of the paintbrush to the surface several times. Keep repeating as long as needed.
It's fine if the painting isn't perfect - it's yours! Have fun, relax and create something.
For a live demo, check out the video tutorial above - it has some of the techniques we covered and shows you how to use all the materials.
Acrylic paints are the best to start since they dry easily, easy to mix, and easy to clean up. Oils take a longer amount of time to dry and are not as easy to apply.