When you are first learning to paint, it can seem a bit daunting. In this first of a series of painting for beginners’ tutorials, we will reveal how to learn to paint, making it approachable for most everyone!

This article, along with the linked “10 Quick Acrylic Paint Tips” video, will focus on acrylic beginner painting techniques, and even include links to easy beginner painting ideas so you can jump right in and release your inner artist!

Fun Quotes by Bob Ross

It’s the imperfections that make something beautiful, that’s what makes it different and unique from everything else.

— Bob Ross

Acrylic Painting Preparation and Tools

1. Your Palette Surface

You can mix paint on any non-stick surface. Here are some options: tempered glass (and scrape it clean with a razor), coated paper plates, disposable palettes, OR, my favorite hack: coat any flat object with foil (with the matte-side facing up), and the neutral, non-stick surface will work like a dream. Then you can just toss it when you’re done!

2. Mixing Acrylic Paints

Use more paint than you think. Pour extra on your plate and use a palette knife to mix your colors so you can mix larger quantities. Pull from the edge of your paint piles so you’ll always have some pure color to use later. Don’t hesitate to scoop up large amounts – you will work more freely and easily if you’re not concerned about how much paint you’re using, and you’ll get better coverage.

3. Choosing Acrylic Brushes

Use synthetic brushes, and a variety of shapes and sizes. Always start with the largest brush to fill in your larger shapes, then work your way to a smaller brush ONLY for your final details.

Acrylic Painting Techniques

4. Use WATER With Acrylics

if you get one thing from this guide, make it WATER. Use it often to make your paint flow. I get my brush re-wetted almost as often as I pick up paint. If you’re struggling with your paint, you probably need water.

5. Blending Acrylic Paints

Blend wet-into-wet. This is another reason it’s good to have pre-mixed paint and a lot of it – so you can easily jump into blending while the acrylic is still wet. The more you brush, the smoother the blend will be. Experiment with brush strokes!

6. When to Wet, When to Dry

You can re-wet tacky paint *sometimes* to keep blending. If it’s too dry, or dry in patches, it can instead lift off the paint. So sometimes you need to let it dry, which is why the next point is important:

7. Paint Acrylics in Layers

Once your paint is dry, you can layer anything on top and the other colors won’t mix in. Acrylic dries quickly, so just give it a few moments or use a blow-dryer to speed it up. Then the layers on top can go on easily (and you can even repeat a blending layer for a more vibrant look). Two layers will always make your colors stronger and your blending smoother!

Acrylic Painting Brush Maintenance

8. Clean Your Brushes Often

Clean your brush completely OFTEN, and especially when you switch between colors. This will keep your palette colors pure, and allow you firm control of your mixtures without any gunk from your previous mixtures muddying it up. Cleaning your brush also gets out old color or too much color, which can affect the size and your control of the brush.

9. Keep Your Brushes Happy

When you take a break from a brush, leave it in your water so it doesn’t dry out. Use paper or fabric towels to keep wiping your brush so your brush and water cup stay clean, thus keeping your mixtures and brushstrokes controlled. Follow the linked video on how to clean brushes for more ideas.

Acrylic Painting Tutorials and Links

10. Practice Using Acrylics

Confidently painting comes with muscle memory and experience – when you don’t have to think so hard about the supplies you’re using. My advice: practice painting from simple photos without pressuring yourself to make a pretty picture. Get throw-away canvas sheets or acrylic paper, and allow yourself to make mistakes. You’ll learn the most about how acrylics work in these stressless moments of exploration.

11. Bonus! Try this to practice:

Want to learn how to control paint, but learning how to mix colors and stuff is a little too much for your first tries? PAINT IN BLACK AND WHITE.

Below you’ll find a Pin board filled with simple references to get started:

Beginners Acrylic Painting Kits

Thanks for sharing! :)