In this guide, find 18 acrylic painting tutorials to improve your skills, from the best paint brands to how to mix and blend colours. From the tutorials on this list, you can learn all about acrylic paint, its working properties and how to improve your acrylic painting skills. If you’re a complete beginner, you can work your way through each tutorial, learning first about the supplies, then some of the techniques. If you’re an intermediate painter, pick and choose a tutorial you want to learn!
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Best acrylic paint brands
Our first acrylic painting tutorial on the list is a review of the best acrylic paint brands. With this review, you can learn more about the ingredients that make acrylic paint, the working properties and how these attributes differ between brands. Plus you can find the perfect acrylic paint brand for your needs as an artist. There are many acrylic paint brands on the market, each with their own unique properties. If you prefer working with thick acrylic paint, get a heavy body variety and if you want to paint fine details, make sure to get soft body acrylics. Other than that, you can get fluid acrylics which are great for creating glazes and even using with an airbrushing tool.
In summary, here are four top picks, of the best acrylic paint brands:
Acrylic paint mediums
The second acrylic painting tutorial for beginners on the list is all about acrylic paint mediums. You can alter the consistency of your paint with a medium, making it thicker or thinner, glossy or matte. Find a medium for your painting practice to achieve completely custom results that are unique to your practice. For example, you could thicken heavy body acrylics with a gel medium to create texture on the canvas, build up thick paint to create structure and almost sculptural effects. Alternatively, you could mix some glazing medium into soft body acrylic paint, which makes the paint runny and translucent. This will allow you to carry out the glazing technique, where you can alter the colour profiles of previous layers and add subtle details to your paintings.
Best surfaces for acrylic painting
Acrylic paint is a versatile medium, so you can use it on a number of acrylic paint surfaces. In this review, we’ve picked the best options, so you can choose a surface that provides stability and your desired size, weight and smoothness. For example wooden panels are extra smooth, so are great for detail work, whereas canvases have a slight surface texture. However, canvases have an advantage in that they are much more lightweight and easy to transport when working on a large scale. If you’re a beginner on a budget, try practising your skills on acrylic paper, before moving onto investing in more expensive canvases. For a review of the best acrylic paper, check out our guide!
Acrylic paint brushes: review
In this acrylic painting tutorial, we’ve reviewed the best acrylic paint brushes, discussing the different types available and their individual benefits. Acrylic brushes are made from synthetic fibres and come in a variety of shapes and sizes.
The most important factor to consider when choosing acrylic brushes, is the stiffness of the bristles as this will affect your ability to move paint across the surface, and how easy it is to control. For example, if you want fine lines and details, get a soft acrylic brush with long bristles, like a round or liner brush. Soft brushes work best with soft body and fluid acrylic paints.
Stiffer acrylic brushes are great for painting large areas of colour quickly, with heavy body paint. In our tutorial, find recommendations for all the best brands of acrylic paint brushes for different budgets.
Best palettes for acrylic painting
Palettes for acrylic painting look a little different to palettes for oil and watercolour painting. Acrylics dry fast, so you’ll need to get a palette that’s easy to clean. In our tutorial, we review the best options for artists who work in the studio and artists who want to get outside to paint. Our top pick is the Masterson Sta-Wet Palette, as this is sealable, so it prevents paint from drying quickly.
Stop acrylic paint drying out tutorial
One of the most notable attributes of acrylic paint compared to other mediums is that it dries so fast and once dry, it’s not soluble. This is great for artists who like to work quickly, however it can pose as an obstacle when using the blending technique to create soft edges and gradients. There are a number of ways to slow the drying process of acrylic and therefore increase the open working time. In our acrylic painting tutorial, learn which mediums to use to slow the drying process and how to keep colours wet on your palette.
How to clean acrylic paint brushes tutorial
Clean your acrylic paint brushes properly and they will last much longer! In this acrylic painting tutorial, we give 6 tips on how to clean and preserve your brushes, to keep them soft, springy and performing at their best.
We also share a process on how to remove dried acrylic paint from brushes. You don’t have to throw your favourite brushes away if acrylic paint dries in the bristles. Follow the easy steps to remove the hardened paint.
Acrylic painting techniques
Most of the tutorials on this list so far have covered acrylic painting supplies, but once you’ve understood how the supplies work, the next step is to learn some techniques then put them to practice.
In our tutorial, find techniques for creating texture, blending gradients, glazing, pouring and more! There may be one or two techniques you haven’t heard of that you’ll want to try for yourself.
Impasto painting technique
The impasto technique is a great one for acrylic painters who want to create texture and add depth and dimension to an artwork. Impasto is the technique of pasting thick paint onto the surface, to create a sense of movement and a painterly appearance. Artists can choose to paint texture with a stiff brush, or with a palette knife. This tutorial covers everything you need to know to get started with the technique, from the supplies to the application method, the process and some inspiration of famous artists who used this technique.
Oil vs acrylic painting tutorial
In this acrylic painting tutorial, we compare acrylic and oil paints, discussing the benefits of both. If you’re undecided on which paint to use for your next project, this is a helpful read. We cover the key differences between acrylic and oil paint, such as drying time, working properties and permanence. This is also a great tutorial to read for those who are thinking of transitioning to painting with oils, from acrylics.
How to mix colours
One of the most important and most difficult skills you will learn as an artist is how to accurately mix colours. Understanding how to mix accurate values, how to alter the saturation of a colour and choose colour profiles that work with the composition of your piece will make your paintings much more successful. In our colour mixing tutorial, we teach some of the colour mixing jargon and show a step by step process of how to approach accurate colour mixing from a reference.
Acrylic painting on wood tutorial
Acrylic painting on wood is a fun and unique way to create artwork. In this tutorial, we walk through the supplies you’ll need and how to prep the wood surface before painting. We also share a few acrylic painting ideas and projects you can try on wood.
How to blend acrylic paint tutorial
Blending acrylic paint is a bit different than other mediums because it dries quickly, so you need to add a medium to slow the drying time. In this acrylic painting tutorial, we show a few different methods of blending and share advice on how to keep your acrylic paints wet enough to blend. Creating seamless blends is an essential skill, especially if you’re painting large gradients, for example skies, seascapes or backgrounds.
Beginner’s acrylic painting tutorial
This acrylic painting tutorial is a comprehensive guide on how to get started with acrylics for complete beginners. Use it as a reference if you don’t know where to start. We cover the acrylic painting supplies you’ll need, how to set up your workstation and a few beginner’s acrylic painting techniques. After reading this guide, you’ll be ready to start practising and creating your own artworks in acrylics!
Varnish an acrylic painting tutorial
Varnishing your acrylic paintings is an important step in the process, it adds a layer of protection and can enhance the colours. In this tutorial, we walk you through the different types of varnish, how to apply it and when to do it. We also share a few tips on troubleshooting common varnishing problems.
Best painting easels for acrylic
An easel is an important piece of equipment for any painter, whether you’re a beginner or a professional. In this acrylic painting tutorial, we share the best easels for acrylic painters and explain the different features to look for when choosing one. We also include a few tips on how to set up your easel and how to use it.
Composition in art tutorial
This one isn’t specific to acrylic painting, but is a great tutorial to learn how to compose paintings to make them more visually appealing. Good composition is an important skill for any artist to learn, as it can make or break a painting. In this tutorial, we discuss the elements of good composition, like how to choose a focal point and how to lead the eye in to the artwork, and share some tips on how to apply them to your own work.
Acrylic painting ideas
Once you’ve read and watched some acrylic painting tutorials, you’ll need some ideas of what to paint! In this tutorial, find 11 acrylic painting ideas and tutorials, from landscapes to abstracts, portraits and more. One really fun idea, is painting a night sky and using the splatter technique to flick paint across your sky gradient to create the impression of stars.
Once you’ve read through a few acrylic painting tutorials, why not take an acrylic painting course on Skillshare! There are hundreds of courses made by talented, professional artists, so you can put your new knowledge to practice. Check out our landscape painting ideas if you want to try painting a greater range of landscape scenes.
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