best painting tutorials

Painting Tutorials for Beginners: Best YouTube Painting Videos

A curation of the best painting tutorials for beginners — free videos from some of the best YouTube art channels. Watch step-by-step tutorials, discover a new art process or get some sound advice about techniques and brushwork skills that could transform your painting practice.

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Best acrylic painting tutorials for beginners

Start small: Paint a mini canvas

Try these five easy paintings that an artist of any level could follow along with. Mini canvases seem much more approachable than extra large canvases for complete beginners, and artist Charvi Ashtekar demonstrates step by step how to complete each mini painting. 

Paint trees with a fan brush

In this video by Acrylic Painting Techniques, the process of painting trees is broken down into a few easy steps. All you need is a fan brush, preferably one with stiff, synthetic bristles. Learn how to mix and brighten natural looking leaf tones and try some of the brushwork techniques demonstrated in the video.

Acrylic painting techniques

Acrylic paint is such a versatile medium that can be used with a number of different tools and brush techniques. Jennifer Funnell Visual Arts breaks each technique down to show viewers the possibilities of acrylic painting and how to replicate each technique themselves. From sgraffito and dry brushing to using the impasto technique to play with texture. Find a set of techniques to suit your acrylic painting practice. 

How to blend acrylic paint

Blending is a concept that a lot of beginner acrylic painters struggle with, as acrylic dries so fast. 

Syndia Art shows viewers how to get the right consistency, how to keep the brush wet enough to blend and gives a demo of the blending technique in action. If you want to learn how to extend the open working time of acrylic paint to blend it for longer, get an Open medium to decrease the drying speed. If you want to learn more about blending acrylic paint, check out our guide.

Easy acrylic seascape demonstration

Emily Mackey Art shows you step-by-step how to create a super fun, vibrant ocean scene. This painting is beginner to intermediate level, so it might be best to practice your techniques a bit before approaching a painting like this. Get a canvas, or panel, some brushes and paint and you’re all set to make some art! For a rundown of the best acrylic painting tutorials, check out our guide! It’s perfect for those just getting started with acrylics.

Oil painting tutorials for beginners

Oil painting for complete beginners

Florent Farges – arts breaks the basics of oil painting down for beginners. Oil painting can feel inaccessible for someone who has never picked up a brush before, but there are so many benefits to learning to paint with the medium. Florent Farges gives an overview of what oil paint is made of, how to use some of the essential materials, the basic techniques and gives a demonstration of how to paint an eye.

Learn the basics and paint some cherries

This tutorial is easy to follow along with for complete beginners. Fruits like cherries and apples are made up of basic shapes, and are mostly monochromatic, but by painting them as practice pieces, you will learn valuable lessons in colour mixing and shading. Lena Danya will walk you through how to mix the colours, how to identify colours from the reference. She uses Gamblin paints, some oil paper and a glass palette to mix onto.

Paint a tropical ocean scene

Ocean scenes can be complex subjects to paint, as there is a lot of blending involved to achieve a sense of realism. Watch our video on how to paint this tranquil tropical scene, to master blending and layering with oils. Plus, discover the secret to painting a realistic sky gradient. 

Landscape oil painting tips

In this video, Stuart Davies creates three small landscape sketches with oil. He shows viewers how to paint quickly, creating the illusion of detail with spontaneous brushstrokes. Make sure to get a stiff brush, preferably in a square or filbert shape and some oil paper to make a similar oil sketch. It helps if the brush is large, compared to the size of the surface, as this will force you to focus on the composition of the piece, instead of spending hours on tiny details. 

Flower oil painting timelapse

Some of the most beautiful paintings can come from the most simple references, watch how Aleksey V demonstrates painting cherry blossoms in a jar, starting with an underpainting. Get creative and make your own still life set-up, with flowers, or fruits. Making the set-up is almost as fun as painting it!

Watercolour painting tutorials for beginners

Watercolour for complete beginners

Watercolour is a wonderfully delicate medium that dances across the paper in brilliant and vibrant feathers of colour, it also has a mind of its own and can feel difficult to control for complete beginners. Artist Kirsty Partridge will walk you through all the supplies you need and some basic techniques like painting wet on wet and light to dark. 

Watercolour painting ideas

Learn to paint three simple watercolour landscapes, with big skies. A sunset seascape, a galaxy and a clear blue sky with distant hills and a wind turbine. Artist makoccino will show you how to mix the colours, how to layer the paint and a few essential techniques. For the stars in the galaxy painting, makoccino uses white gouache with a bristle brush to splatter paint across the surface to resemble star formations. For more watercolour painting ideas, check out our guide.

Watercolour brushwork

Paint loose florals with watercolour. Emma Jane Lefebvre uses a large round brush and shows artists drills and practice strokes to help them achieve looser yet more accurate marks in paintings. For example, mastering varying pressure can help with painting petal and leaf formations, as leaves taper to a point at the ends. 

Dos and Don’ts for watercolour painting

Kirsty Partridge Art shares her dos and don’ts for watercolour painting, from getting the right supplies, to making a sketch. Plus, learn some layering techniques to get the best from your painting. Kirsty also shows artists how to use other art mediums in conjunction with watercolour, such as coloured pencil and gouache.

Gouache painting videos for beginners

Gouache landscape painting tips for beginners

Sarah Burns Studio shares her beach painting process with gouache. Sarah starts with light washes of colour to make the sea and sky tones blend, then layers beautiful sunset colours on top. Watch the tutorial and get valuable tips for painting, such as achieving sunset colours with a limited palette.

Gouache beginner mistakes

Avoid making common beginner mistakes with gouache by first watching this video by Jess Chung. Gouache has its own set of properties and conditions that it performs best in. Discover how to approach painting with gouache to ensure success. For example, wait for layers to dry before applying wet paint to achieve clean crisp lines. This is something that may sound obvious to someone who has worked with gouache before, but this video is great if you need an overview of the basics.

Paint a mini coastal scene with gouache

Exercise your new found knowledge about gouache by painting a mini coastal scene! The reference for this painting was taken in Cornwall in the UK, which comes alive in the summer with bright pink pops of heather. This is a fun painting that involves layering and some detail work. It’s the perfect introduction to gouache landscape painting for a complete beginner. 

Tips for painting architecture with gouache

Join James Gurney as he paints en plein air with gouache, capturing the light on this old building. James starts with an underpainting, then establishes block colours with a large brush. Then moves on to painting textures and details. He also gives valuable tips on how to deal with changing conditions when painting outdoors, such as shifting light patterns.

Abstract art videos for beginners

Paint 7 abstract artworks

See the process of seven different acrylic paintings by Rinske Douna and watch the different techniques and methods you can use for applying paint to create abstract artworks. Apply acrylic to the surface with an airbrush for fine blends, or with a palette knife to achieve impasto texture. Use tools like catalyst blades and wedges to scrape paint from the surface. It’s important to note that the type of paint you choose will affect your results. Heavy body paint is thick, with it artists can achieve sculptural looking layers. Whereas soft body paint is runnier, so you can achieve thin layers and details. 

Abstract acrylic painting tips for beginners

Find nine tips for beginner abstract painters in this video by Indie Ru and watch the process of this beautiful purple and blue painting. Indie starts the painting by layering modelling paste on the canvas. This provides a textural base for colours. Paint over the modelling paste with acrylic and get creative to achieve your desired effects. If you want more abstract art ideas, check out our guide.

Realism art videos for beginners

Landscape realism 

Michael James Smith creates photorealistic paintings with acrylic and oil. Watch how he layers texture to achieve the appearance of detail. Michael uses a fan brush to create texture in the grass and the impression of flowers, making multiple marks at once. Although realism to this level takes years of practice and is difficult to achieve, artists can learn from watching how layers are built to create the illusion of realism.

How to paint realistic details alla prima

Painting feathers and fur details in wildlife art is a challenge for beginner and intermediate painters. Chuck Black Art gives some insight into how he learned to paint details using the wet on wet technique. Usually artists layer texture and finish off with some fine details here and there to create realistic paintings. But when painting with oil, paint dries slowly and can therefore take time to complete when waiting for layers to dry. Painting detail wet on wet makes the painting process faster and more efficient.

Landscape painting videos for beginners

Paint a sunset

Alpay Efe paints a magical sunset using luminous pinks and purples. Watch the process of how Alpay Efe paints a soft sky gradient, then layers deep blue clouds on top. The success in this painting is down to attention to edges, colour transitions, texture in the grass and clouds and wonderful colour harmony. Take some tips from the process to create a sunset in your own style. We have our own sunset painting tutorial, check the blog for more!

12 landscape painting tips

James Gurney turns simple landscapes that many people may overlook in life into beautiful works of art by creating wonderful compositions and accurately translating the quality of light. James gives tips on how to start a painting, how to render edges and paint details like tapered branches as the final step. 

Portrait painting videos for beginners

A lesson in painting skin tones

Andrew Tischler gives valuable insight on three ways to improve the portrait painting process. From creating an underpainting, to achieving realistic skin tones, learn which colours to use and how to approach portrait painting as a beginner. Another tip Andrew gives is how portrait artists can achieve accuracy by using the grid method

Avoid this mistake when portrait painting

SIMPLIFY Drawing and Painting does a deep dive into one of the most common mistakes made by beginner portrait painters: over modelling. Instead of focussing on the constituent tiny details of a piece, this instructor shows beginners how to focus on the larger value relationships first, and see the reference as a whole. Use Photoshop as a tool to accurately determine the tonal value in the image before starting a painting.

Portrait painting with watercolour

Get some inspiration from HamRib Art’s painting process and get some valuable tips on how to paint portraits with watercolour. The first port of call for this painting, is saturating the paper with water, so that colours blur into one another, which is an excellent way to create soft edges.

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