You’ve got your acrylic paint, your work surface, and you’re really inspired to paint. But how exactly do you do get started? Here’s a guide to acrylic painting techniques for beginners that will help you begin your artistic journey.
Once you’ve assembled all of the necessary tools for acrylic painting, you’re ready for the fun part: putting paint to paper or canvas. Here, we’ll explore some easy key techniques for applying paint, mixing color, and building paintings so that you can paint like a pro in no time.
One of the great things about these techniques for building a painting is that they will grow as your skills develop. Mastering these basic techniques is like laying a groundwork for your future painting. These techniques can become more involved complex as you advance.
Start your painting by creating a “sketch” of the image in paint. Often this is done in a color that contrasts with the palette you have in mind for the finished piece. You can paint over the underpainting entirely using opaque acrylic to cover any evidence of the paint below, or you can let parts of it shine through for a dimensional effect.
By incorporating matte medium into your paint, you can create luminous scenes. The technique, which is detailed in this tutorial, is simple: Mix acrylic paint with a small amount of matte medium and apply the paint in thin layers, building the color until it creates a rich, complex color.
Layering, which can be combined with either of the two above methods, is simply to paint in layers. This means that you’ll build the painting from the bottom up. You’ll start by painting big blocks of color, often as washes, and then adding more and more refinement as you add layers.
The technique is detailed in this post about how to paint a self portrait, but the method could be applied to paint other subject matter.
PAINT IN BLOCKS OF COLOR
This is a fantastic method for beginners. Trace your image, separating each color or tone into separate shapes. Create a palette, and then paint in the shapes as if it were your own DIY paint by numbers piece. This is an easy method with monochromatic palettes or can be employed with a variety of colors, too.
COLOR MIXING TECHNIQUES
Mixing acrylic colors is fairly simple: Combine colors and mix using a palette knife. But once you’ve mastered color mixing, you can explore some more creative methods. Here are just two.
PARTIALLY MIX COLORS BEFORE PAINTING
Instead of fully mixing the two colors, just give them a brief mix with your palette knife. Then, use the partially mixed colors to paint. You’ll get a fascinating mingling of colors as you apply the paint to your work surface.
CREATE A FAMILY OF COLORS
Creating a family of colors or tones to work with in a painting can help you create subtle variances in your painting. Whether it’s slight varieties of skin tones or varying shades of pink, having a family of tones pre-mixed before you paint can really help streamline the process.
THEN, GET CREATIVE
While there are a few tried-and-true techniques all beginners should try out, don’t limit yourself to the basics! Mix and match these methods and techniques, exploring the ways of painting that feel right to you. As you develop your skills, you’ll notice that your techniques will become refined into your own unique method of creating art.