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Learning how to paint with acrylics is a hit and trial method. You buy painting supplies from different brands, try out various painting techniques and brainstorm unique ideas to know what suits you. Acrylic painting for beginners can be tricky and it can take some time to get into the rhythm of creating exceptional artwork. 

This experience can be pleasant for some artists but it can get overwhelming with time. It can be exhausting and time consuming, as well as you may end up wasting valuable art supplies. Unfortunately, many people don’t afford the luxury of time or money to experiment. We can make this process simpler for you! We can assist you by giving important tips that can help you get acquainted with acrylic painting. Read the guide for acrylic painting for beginners below.

Getting familiar with acrylic paints

Before diving into the world of acrylic painting, it’s necessary to know about acrylic paints. Simply putting, acrylic paints are composed of pigments suspended in acrylic polymer emulsion. They are fast drying paints. They are water-soluble and when dried, they are water-resistant. Acrylic paints offer versatility to a greater extent than other types of paints. They come in different formats, a wide range of colors and consistencies. Moreover they are permanent and stick to almost all kinds of surfaces. These paints usually have low odors and are non-flammable. 

Why work with acrylics?

The possibilities are endless when it comes to working with acrylics. Acrylics offer flexibility which enables artists to be more creative and innovative. They encourage different kinds of painting styles, designs and techniques, which otherwise would be left unexplored. Here are 4 ways acrylics expand your painting potentials;

  1. Acrylic paints can be used on almost all surfaces. You are not bound to work on canvas only! You can paint on paper, wood, fabric and even on glass. Now you can venture beyond painting on canvas and try working on fabric, wood or whatever you feel like.

  2. Acrylic paints last long. They can be used to create permanent artwork, which will not lose its brilliance over the years. The colors won’t fade and the painting would look the same decades after as it does on the day it was painted.


  3. They allow you to implement different styles of painting. You can go thick, like impasto style paintings or you can go thin, giving your painting a watercolor effect. Moreover, you can apply multiple layers after paint dries.


  4. Most importantly, you don’t need a big studio to be able to work with acrylics. They have low odor and have no fumes, which means a smaller workplace won’t be an issue.

Gathering supplies before starting

Painting supplies

It’s essential to have your tools ready before you start your craft. As a beginner, it is not necessary to invest heavily on supplies. For acrylic painting, you can count on these basic items to get started:

  1. Acrylic Paints
  2. Set of Paint Brushes
  3. Canvas or other painting surface
  4. Easel or other supporting stand
  5. Palette or a dish to pour paints and mix them
  6. Clean paper towels or rags
  7. Water

Our recommended products

  • Easy to use
  • Vibrant Colors
  • Affordable Price
  • Beginner Friendly

Liquitex BASICS Acrylic Paint

  • Suitable for intermediates
  • 48 Colors
  • Moderate Price
  • Professional looking results

Liquitex Professional Acrylic Set

  • High Color Strength
  • Non-Yellowing
  • Crack-free after dry
  • Suitable for professionals

Princeton Real Value Brush Set

  • Synthetic golden taklon bristles
  • Work well for different mediums
  • Comfortable handle
  • Suitable for beginners

Winsor & Newton Galeria Brush

  • Perfect control and responsiveness
  • Bristles made from synthetic filaments
  • Bristles maintain shape
  • Suitable for intermediates

KINGART Golden Taklon Brush Set

  • Bristles made from golden taklon
  • Highly durable and easy to clean
  • Best choice for professional brushes for acrylics, oil paints and watercolors

Setting up your working place

Things are bound to get messy when you work with paints. No matter how careful you are, you can spill paint or drop your palette. We recommend setting up your easel or stand in an open space. For you this can be a room, patio or backyard, whatever suits you. If an open space is not available, it is advisable to use plastic sheets to cover the floor and nearby furniture to avoid getting paint on them. Above all, it is important to have your supplies close, so you don’t have to move away from your canvas. Acrylics dry fast, so you don’t have the time to reach out for your supplies. You lose your focus and rhythm by constantly swaying away from your workplace. Make sure the lighting is adequate for the true form of colors to be visible. Consequently, it will help you to get your color shades right.

Trying your hands on materials

To be able to work effectively, you must be familiar with materials you are working with. It is key to try out how your supplies work to get a hang of it. Firstly, you can try out multiple brushes to see what they are suited for. Secondly, you can swatch all paint colors and blend colors to get familiar with various shades of a single color. This will be helpful in adding detailed colors in your paintings. You can observe exactly how much time it takes for certain acrylic colors to dry. Lastly, you can paint in multiple layers to understand how the painting in layers looks like. These practices would teach you how you can add more sharpness to your art.

Painting practice

Visualizing your painting ideas

As a beginner, it is paramount to have a clear picture of what you want to draw. Spend time visualizing your ideas and conjure up a rough sketch of what you would like to create. Try thinking of all the major and small details that you would want to have in your painting.  Every detail matters when it comes to producing art. Look up for some color schemes that you can try in your painting. Having a grasp of your drawing will go a long way in making you capable of putting those ideas into practice. Initially, we recommend going for simple and easy ideas for acrylic painting and working your way up towards complex ideas with time. It would be easy to envision simpler ideas and applying them would not be an overwhelming task.

Roughly sketching your idea on canvas

In the beginning, it is in your best interest to use a pencil or charcoal to roughly sketch your idea on canvas. It is crucial for you to get used to scaling dimensions from your thoughts or paper sketch onto a canvas. This rough sketch would give you a faint idea of how your painting would look like on a canvas. It would be easier to know from where to start and where to finish. 

Getting into the real business

Now that you have taken care of all prerequisites, it’s time to start painting. Painting styles differ from artist to artist but here are some general tips that can help you regardless of your style of painting. 

  1. Acrylics dry fast and you have less time to work with it before it dries completely. We advise you to keep a bottle of spray with you. You can use it to moist your paint. It would buy you more time to work with paints. But be careful, spraying too much would dilute the paint and wash it away.
  2. Choose a base color that represents your painting. Applying that color first and working your way towards other colors and blends would help you get a better idea of how color shades would appear. Usually acrylic paints get a bit darker when they dry. You can step back from your canvas every couple of minutes to observe your progress. You can have a clear picture of how your colors look and if there’s anything that can improve it.
  3. Start with the basic objects and major details of your painting. It’s important that you have a strong foundation before you work on minor details. Getting your basic details right can go a long way in creating minor details and eventually make them more prominent.
  4. Begin at the center and paint the sides last. Mostly, basic objects are centered and you get a better perspective of your design starting from center.

We hope you find this acrylic painting for beginners guide helpful. Remember! You would not create a masterpiece on your first go. You would make mistakes and things would get messy. There is a learning curve. Take your time, learn from your mistakes and keep practicing. Eventually you would become better at painting and soon you would be able create beautiful artwork!

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