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How To Get Started With Acrylic Painting - Painting for Beginners

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. 

  • Where do I find the right acrylic painting materials?  
  • Where do I find beginner painting instruction?
  • What's an easy painting for beginners to paint? 

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

Acrylic paint has a distinct set of properties which make it standout from oils and watercolors. 

  • Sharp lines and brushstrokes
  • Standout colors that pop and can be used on a variety of different mediums such as wood and canvases.
  • Can look completely different based on the techniques you use
  • Dries very quickly and is easy to work with

Since it dries quickly and is easy to work with - it makes it the perfect medium for beginners to paint with.

Learning How to Paint The Bean


What Should I Paint

The options are endless on what you can potentially paint: classics such as Starry Night, cities, animals, landscapes, and food. You really can't go wrong - here's a list off paintings ideas to get you started.

    • The Starry Night (if you want to do this we've included a free video tutorial below)
    • Your favorite skyline
    • Waves (here is one of our favorites) 
    • Your favorite animal or a pet
    • Fish
    • Building that you love
    • Stars
    • The Sky
    • Childhood memories (Catching fireflies)
    • A lit up street
    • Your favorite sports teams logo
    • Your favorite tree
    • A street lit park bench


What Brushes Do I Need?

There are 8 main types of brushes when painting with acrylics: Round, Pointed Round, Flat, Bright, Filbert, Angular Flat, Fan and Detail Round. Paintbrush types

Not all of these are necessary to get start we recommend getting started with a round, bright, filbert and a flat. Each of these paintbrushes also come with a number after the name of the brush, the larger the number the wider the brush. 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 the one we include this in our Starter Box experience.

To learn more about brushes and how to take care of them - check out our post on brush care.

What Paints Do I Need?

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 these colors together to create any additional hues/colors that you may need. There are two different thicknesses for  acrylic paints referred to as "body:  heavy body (thicker) and soft body (thinner) - if you want to work on a painting that has more textures then we recommend buying the heavy paint - they’re also the most popular. Don't buy too much to begin with, acrylic paints can last a while and you will be mixing the paints with water as well. Don't forget your palette to mix the paints - we recommend a 8" x 10" heavy paper board.

What Techniques Do I Need to Learn?

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 - we suggest buying a 16"x20" canvas and one that that doesn't requiring pretreatment. If you choose to go with a canvas, we also suggest an easel so you can paint comfortably while you sit.

Color Mixing

We want to provide you with some quick color mixing tips, but a lot of it has to do with experimentation. Color mixing is the first step to begin with, often times you will use colors on their own but mixing is also required. 

Don't use black to make colors dark, adding black paint typically leads to colors being more cloudy and muddied. 

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.

Make your blues standout by adding red to it, it'll make you blues much more deeper in color.

You can partially mix colors before you start to paint, you will get a cool mix of colors when you start to apply the paint to the canvas.


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.Drybrush Stroke


The perfect technique when you want to see texture, diluting the paint with water will lead to this type of technique being applied. The paint will set in a texture manner permanently when using this type of technique.Washing Technique



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 repeat as long as needed.

No Matter What Keep Having Fun

A big hurdle to overcome for beginner artists is that the painting doesn't come out as they intended it. It's fine if the painting isn't perfect it's yours! Have fun, relax and create something. The video tutorial we provided above have some of the techniques and it shows you how to use all the materials as well.

General FAQ

What do I need to start painting?
The following items are needed to get started with acrylic painting: acrylic paints, paintbrushes, canvas, thick paper palette, cup of water, easel or table to set canvas on.
What type of paint is best for beginners?
Acrylic paints are the best to start with due to the fact that they dry easily,  they are easy to mix colors with and they are easy to clean up. Oils take a longer amount of time to dry and are not as easy to apply.
What colors do I need to get started with acrylic painting?
We recommended starting out with small amounts of basic colors which include the following: White, Black, Red, Yellow and Blue. These basic colors can be mixed to create varying hues and additional colors.
What types of paintbrushes do I need for acrylic painting?
We recommend that you buy the following synthetic brushes to get started Round 1, Round 6, Filbert 8 and Flat 12. These brushes can be used to carry out most acrylic painting techniques.

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