Acrylic paints are a fairly easy to use, they dry quickly and are cheaper to buy than oil or watercolours - perfect for beginner artists.
Are you ready to try acrylic painting, but not quite sure where best to start? Or maybe you have already given it a go, but are now looking for a few pointers? You've come to the right place. Let me start by telling you...
“Acrylics are perfect for beginners. They dry quickly, they are fairly easy to use and they're not too expensive to buy. In fact, they are much cheaper than oils or watercolours”
Let's get you started with a few simple acrylic painting tips so that you can begin to enjoy the process of creating.
Acrylic Painting Tips For You
Invest in some professional grade paint - Professional grade paint is much better than the cheaper craft paint. It has more pigment and will be easier for you to blend and give better coverage. Acrylic paint generally dries a little darker, so the cheaper the paint, the darker it will dry because the paint contains less pigment and more filler.
Be decisive with your strokes - Acrylic paint dries fast, which is great if you don't want to wait days for a layer to dry (which you would have to do with oil paint), but if you want to blend, this may prove frustrating. The key is to make sure each of your strokes is made with purpose and is decisive, so each stroke must count. If you are struggling with the fast drying time of acrylic paint, then you could try adding a medium to slow the drying process. You can also use a mist of water to extend drying time of your colours.
Learn to mix your colours - Before you apply your brush to canvas, be as certain as you can about the colour By learning to mix your own shades and colours will save you money. Read up on colour theory to help you learn how to mix any colour from the three primary colours of red, blue and yellow.
Know your brushes - Stiff bristled synthetic brushes are best for thick acrylic paint and its good to have a variety of brushes to hand to create different effects. Start off with a medium sized filbert brush if you are on a tight budget (a flat, pointed brush), that way, if you use just the tip, you can get a narrow brush mark and if you push down, a broad mark. Look for brushes where the hairs quickly spring back up when you bend them as with acrylic being a medium-bodied paint they adhere much better on synthetic, bristle brushes rather than softer brushes which are more suited to watercolour.
Look after your materials - Make sure you clean your brushes with mild soap and water after you finish painting, then lay your brushes flat to dry then store them with the bristles facing up so that they don't become splayed and bent.
Use a palette knife to add texture - It's fun to mix things up a bit, so rather than just painting with a brush, try adding different textures to your artwork by either scaping paint away or adding thick layers with a palette knife.
Stain your canvas - I personally find a plain white canvas quite uninspiring when starting a new painting. A stained canvas can help you judge the values and tones to use in your painting. Work the large areas first and then move to the smaller and finer details.
Use warm and cold shades to add contrasts - Contrast is the best way to add a realistic look and make your paintings visually interesting. To do this, go for warm colours such as reds, yellows and oranges and use them next to cool shades such as blues, purples and greens.
Don't be afraid to use bright colours - It's amazing how lively a painting can become when bright bold colours are used alongside highlights of white.
Remember: Mistakes can be fixed - The joy of acrylic paint is it dries quickly, so you won't have to wait long to paint over any mistakes when the piece is dry.
So now you have some basics tips on acrylic painting for beginners, I recommend you find a reference image to practice. Photographs are always a great reference source. The more you paint, the more you'll learn as the old saying goes "Practice makes perfect". I hope these beginner tips help you to get started on your painting journey. It's worth mentioning that acrylic paint is also ideal for mixed media and collage as the paint acts as an adhesive and dries clear. It also makes a good surface for drawing on with graphite, oil pastel and oil sticks, you can really get creative with it! If you search on Youtube, there will be an abundance of tutorials to help get you started with your painting. Whatever you decide to paint, make sure you take a photograph, follow me on instagram and share with me your creation by using the hashtag (#neopogartstuff) on your post, I would love to see what you come up with.