7 Helpful Acrylic Painting Techniques for Beginners

Simple painting techniques with acrylic (i.e. mixing and misting) can give you a head-start and improve your pieces, but there’s more that you need to learn in order to improve.

If you’re working on improving your painting techniques, here are the ones you should learn to master to make your work look much better:

1. Dry-brushing
Applying paint straight onto the canvas without dipping the brush in water results in strong, colorful strokes and gives a more painterly effect, but be careful when using this technique since it will make your lines appear uneven.

2. Wet-over-dry
Adding wet paint over a dried under-layer allows you to add more details to the piece, and you’ll be able to notice right away that acrylics lend themselves particularly well to this technique.

3. Washing
Acrylic actually looks like watercolor when you dater it down, and you can use this to great effect by applying translucent washes on your painting surface. However, unlike watercolor, your brushstrokes will set permanently once they dry.

You can try mixing this with the dry-brush method to vary the textures in your pieces.

4. Blending
Easily the trickiest part of acrylic painting, blending is a great way to add different colors and texture to a piece, and when used in the right way, you can even give it the illusion of depth.

Wet-on-wet is the best way to blend two colors together to achieve this, but you can also blend using a dry method, where you layer in paints and let them set before dry-brushing colors over them.

5. Dabbing
This painting technique is essentially what it’s called. By using the corner of a sponge (or even a paper towel) to add color accents to your piece, you can achieve certain textures that are difficult to recreate with brushes or even with your fingers.

6. Glazing
Sealing pencil sketches to paint over can be done easily with glazing. Diluted acrylic paint will appear as translucent when painted on your work surface, which makes for a great base layer that you can add onto as you go along.

Using a gel medium is the most even way to achieve this, but lightly spraying with a small amount of water works as well.

7. Splattering
Splattering is a great technique that gives an abstract quality (or even as a way of adding texture) to your art. Depending on your work surface, you can splatter it in different ways to make it as even or as uneven as you like.
Use a brush that’s fairly wet. This way, the paint will flick off the bristles onto the canvas much easier.

(Disclaimer: this list is compiled in no particular order.)

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