Step-by-Step Acrylic Painting for Beginners

Updated on October 1, 2018
Robie Benve profile image

Robie is a self-taught artist who loves sharing what she's learned about art and painting in the hope that it might help other creatives.

Acrylic painting for beginners step-by-step.
Acrylic painting for beginners step-by-step. | Source

How to Paint With Acrylics

To start an acrylic painting you need to make sure you have these two things:

  • 7 basic painting supplies (see below), and
  • ideas for what to paint.

Of course, there are techniques for how to make your idea into a piece of art. We will discuss those further on, including:

  • best lighting
  • planning your painting's layout
  • tinting your canvas
  • drawing your idea first
  • painting the middle values first
  • then adding details and highlights

Let's get started!

7 Supplies You'll Need for Acrylic Painting

Do you want to learn how to paint with acrylics? I've compiled a list of the seven things you'll need to get started with more detail further on:

  • acrylic paint
  • a variety of brushes
  • painting support (canvas or gesso boards)
  • a palette
  • water
  • cloth rags or paper towels
  • easel

Assorted paint brushes from my studio.
Assorted paint brushes from my studio. | Source
Example of artist-quality acrylic paints.
Example of artist-quality acrylic paints. | Source

Basic Acrylic Painting Supplies

An example of a limited color palette from trusted brands. From left: Cadmium Yellow Medium, Naphtol Red, Phthalo Green (blue shade) Ultramarine Blue, and Titanium White. You can stop here, but I like to add Raw Sienna and Burnt Umber.
An example of a limited color palette from trusted brands. From left: Cadmium Yellow Medium, Naphtol Red, Phthalo Green (blue shade) Ultramarine Blue, and Titanium White. You can stop here, but I like to add Raw Sienna and Burnt Umber. | Source

1. Acrylic Paint

Get the best quality paint you can afford. Aim for artist quality, not student quality. The student quality hues have more fillers and respond less efficiently to color and media mixing. You don’t need many colors; a limited palette of basic colors is great for starters. To begin with a very limited palette, you can buy single tubes and make your own primary color combination. If you want a pre-made set, the Liquitex 4-Color Mixing set has a good choice of tubes: Quinacridone Crimson, Yellow Medium Azo, Phthalo Blue (Green Shade), and Titanium White. Black can always be obtained by mixing the three primary colors together.

Note of caution: If you use phthalo, either blue or green, be aware that it's a very strong pigment. A small amount goes a long way. I avoided phthalo for many years because it can really mess you up, but I grew to love it. When used in small quantities, it's an amazingly flexible color, very useful in many color mixes. I rarely used it pure, right out of the tube, however.

Big brushes are best when painting big areas or using a loose painting style. Small brushes  (like the one I'm using above) are best for small areas and details.
Big brushes are best when painting big areas or using a loose painting style. Small brushes (like the one I'm using above) are best for small areas and details. | Source

2. Brushes of Different Shapes and Sizes

A rule of thumb for brushes is to use big brushes for big areas and loose painting styles and to use small brushes for small areas and details. That's why it's important to have a variety of sizes.

A few examples of painting supports that you can use. Stretched canvas, canvas sheets from a pad, and gesso boards.
A few examples of painting supports that you can use. Stretched canvas, canvas sheets from a pad, and gesso boards. | Source

3. Painting Support

Acrylic paint works on many kinds of surfaces, including canvas, paper, or board. If you buy pre-primed canvas, make sure it’s primed with acrylic gesso. A canvas primed for oil painting is not suitable. Acrylics don’t stick on oily surfaces and would peel off with time.

4. Palette

Your palette is the surface on which you mix your paint. You can use any flat, tray-like object made of plastic or other water-proof material.

5. Water

Get a big jug of water to rinse the brushes when you switch from one color to another. Better yet, you should have two containers of water: one to rinse brushes after painting and one with clean water to use to dilute paint and moisten brushes when needed. (Read Tips for Cleaning Acrylic Paint Brushes for more information.)

To avoid color contamination,change the water in your jars  often. Have two containers: one to rinse dirty brushes and one with clean water to dilute paint and moisten brushes when needed.
To avoid color contamination,change the water in your jars often. Have two containers: one to rinse dirty brushes and one with clean water to dilute paint and moisten brushes when needed. | Source

6. Cloth Rag or Paper Towel

These come in very handy to dab brushes after rinsing, correct mistakes, and keep your hands clean.

It's best to keep your works-in-progress at an angle. Either a stand-up easel or a table-top one will work.
It's best to keep your works-in-progress at an angle. Either a stand-up easel or a table-top one will work. | Source

7. Easel

It’s beneficial to keep your painting support at an angle directly opposite you as you work. This helps a lot with perspective and proportions. To keep your canvas or board inclined, you can use a stand-up easel or a tabletop one. Easels come in different shapes and prices. You can get a tabletop easel for less than $10.

The student grade supplies are cheaper, but they can make your work harder. Cheap canvasses don't seem to grip the paint as well as more expensive ones.

Pay Attention to the Quality of Materials!

The quality of the materials you use is crucial, especially the paint. There are student quality canvasses, brushes, and paints and professional ones available as well.

Student quality has a smaller percentage of pigment in the acrylic binder and fillers. It’s hard to see the difference until you start painting with it. The paint behaves in a less efficient and more challenging way. When in doubt, go for the professional quality. Otherwise, you may waste time and energy to obtain the results you want.

The rule of thumb is this: Get the best tools you can afford. For paint, Golden is a great brand and so is Liquitex. Pay attention to the labels and avoid paints that say "student" or "studio". Go for "artist" quality.

For example, Liquitex Basics is student quality and Liquitex Heavy Body is artist quality.

"Painting is damned difficult - you always think you've got it, but you haven't." Paul Cezanne

How long have you been painting with acrylics?

See results

There is no substitute for practice. The more acquainted you are with the acrylic medium... the easier it is to express your ideas with more professionalism.

— Joseph Orr

Getting Started Painting

What Is the Best Light for Painting?

Once you've gathered your painting supplies, it's time to find a well-lit area. The old masters like Leonardo and Botticelli set up their studio in a room with tall windows that would get northern light because it's less direct, remains pretty stable throughout the day, and does not alter colors with its warmth or hue.

  • If you can’t have a nice Northern window in your painting area or if you need to paint when it’s dark outside, make sure that your artificial lighting has a neutral light scope. Compact fluorescent lights (CFL) are good for this.

Arrange your light source and your canvas so that the light is higher than the canvas, and it’s not coming from behind you. This is to avoid disturbing reflections on the painting surface and having your shadow cast on the painting surface.

 "Towards the Light" acrylic on canvas, by © Robie Benve, all rights reserved.
"Towards the Light" acrylic on canvas, by © Robie Benve, all rights reserved.

Deciding Your Painting's Focus

What do you want to paint? What are you trying to represent? Maybe it’s a landscape, but what is it about that landscape that inspired you to paint it? Its light? Its calm? Its liveliness?

Before you get started, decide what you are trying to represent in your painting and plan the composition of your painting around it.

If you work from a photograph, there is no reason to be 100% faithful to the photo layout and/or colors. You can alter sizes, positions, and colors of things to suit your artistic goal. You can edit some of the trees out, add some others, and move a home or a bridge to make your composition more balanced.

In fact, if you do use a photograph, use it for reference only, don't copy it. Make a sketch of the elements and shapes that you like, but then put the photo away. Then feel free to rearrange the figures and create your own composition for your painting.

Easy Things for Beginners to Paint

The best painters don't necessarily choose complicated subjects to paint. One of the most difficult things to paint, for example, is a portrait of a person. But think about all of the beautiful paintings you've seen (or seen pictures of) that are of much simpler subjects.

  • A vase of flowers
  • A simple landscape
  • A scene at the beach
  • A still life of simple objects
  • A bowl of fruit
  • A spot in your garden or a local park

These subjects will offer plenty of challenges for a beginning painter while keeping allowing you to keep your painting simple.

Plan Your Layout: It Will Save You Trouble Later

The temptation to start painting right away is huge, but if you jump right into the drawing and painting on your canvas, you may find yourself stuck with a weak painting that needs improvement and you don't know how to "save" it. In many cases, this is a sign of poor composition and value structure.

Before you jump into your painting, make some preliminary sketches to use as a reference. The rule of thirds can help you decide how to plan the layout of your painting and where to place your focal point.

You can paint different colors from what you see in order to stick with a specific color scheme. Some planning using value sketches can make a huge difference.

The quick drying time and incredible flexibility of acrylics allow for 'almost' foolproof experimentation.

— Corrine Loomis-Dietz

Start Drawing on a Tinted Canvas

I used to draw first and then apply a tinted background for my painting. The problem with that is that the paint smudges your drawing and it can make details hard to see.

I learned to tint the canvas first and then draw my layout. It’s much easier this way.

You can pick any ground color that complements your composition. When in doubt, I usually paint a diluted base of yellow ochre on the whole canvas. It provides the painting a vibrant undertone and it helps me avoid the feeling of artist’s block in front of a white canvas.

Tips for Painting With Water-Based Paints

  1. Acrylic paint is water-based so you can thin it with water. There is no need to use chemical paint thinner. You can also clean your brushes with water.
  2. Even though acrylic paints are water-soluble, they dry quickly and are water-resistant when they're dry.
  3. You can't mix acrylic and oil paints (oil and water don't mix!).
  4. You can use acrylics with a watercolor technique, but unlike watercolor paints, you can't reactivate the paint once it's dry.

First layout of the composition with middle values of each shape painted in. "High Pastures" by Robie Benve
First layout of the composition with middle values of each shape painted in. "High Pastures" by Robie Benve | Source

Paint the Middle Values First

When you are happy with your composition, fill the rough shape of the focal point of your painting with the middle value for that object.

Then move to another object or shape adjacent your focal point and paint its rough shape with the middle value.

Keep working around the whole composition blocking in all the shapes and objects. Don’t bother about shadows and highlights at this stage.

Here's some guidance on different brushstroke options to help you.

Value Scale
Value Scale | Source

Adding Details to Your Painting

Once you have blocked off all the shapes in your composition, step back and take a look. Does it make sense? Did you choose good colors for each object?

Then go back and make any needed changes to the colors. When you are happy with the colors, it is time to start filling in more details: smaller shapes and different values. Start with the lighter values then move to the darker ones.

Paint the shadows. Shadows should be of a cooler color than the rest of the object. Note: Shadows are never black.

The final painting, after all the steps finally I added details and highlights. "High Pastures", acrylic on canvas by Robie Benve
The final painting, after all the steps finally I added details and highlights. "High Pastures", acrylic on canvas by Robie Benve | Source

Paint the Highlights Last

The last thing you need to do is to add the highlights. Highlights don’t have to be white; they can be a very light value of the main color of the object.

Step back often and look at your painting from a distance. This will help you see the direction your painting is going and evaluate the values and areas that need tweaking or improvement.

"Rich Peonies", 10"x10" acrylic on canvas by ©Robie Benve Art, all rights reserved
"Rich Peonies", 10"x10" acrylic on canvas by ©Robie Benve Art, all rights reserved | Source

Tell a Story on Canvas

Throughout the process, keep your focal point in mind. What were you trying to achieve? Does it come through to the viewer? The goal should not be to represent something, but to tell a story, to convey feelings. To remind yourself of the story that you are trying to depict, it’s a good idea to decide on a title that summarizes it from the beginning and keep it in mind. It might help to write it down and keep it in front of you.

Keep Painting Fun, No Matter What!

One of the main challenges for beginner artists is that the painting does not come out looking like what you had in your head. How our imagination envisions the final piece is often very different from the results on canvas.

It’s okay for the painting to take a different turn during execution and come out different. It takes a lot of practice to be able to plan to know exactly how to render a certain effect.

Don’t get discouraged. Keep painting and don’t forget the most important thing: in painting, the fun is in the journey, not the destination.

Enjoy every step of it, even the mistakes, because they teach you a lot.

Painting is like music. Harmony and rhythm are very important
Painting is like music. Harmony and rhythm are very important | Source

Questions & Answers

  • Do you have any tips for keeping my acrylic paints usable after they've been mixed on a palette?

    I like to keep my acrylics wet by spraying them with water as soon as I squeeze them out. Creating a moisturizing film on top prevents the blobs of paint from drying.

    I make sure I spray throughout the painting process, including the mixed paint pools. Don't spray too much water; you don't want to make the paint too runny, just wet on the surface.

    I've heard of people using a stay-wet palette, and they say it works. I haven't tried it yet, but I think I need to look into it, especially if I start painting more with acrylics (I've been doing a lot of oil painting lately).

    This palette has a lidded plastic tray containing a piece of acrylic paper over a thin rectangular sponge. Keeping the sponge wet provides moisture to the paint and, once you close the lid, it can stay wet for days.

  • I would like to design a painting for my kitchen. What do you suggest for a beginner?

    To pick a good subject for a painting to hang in your kitchen, a place where you are going to spend a lot of time, I would choose something that makes you smile and gives you good vibes. I have two of my first paintings hanging in my kitchen, and I still love looking at them. For mine, I chose a colorful subject because I love colorful paintings.

    Also, I looked at art by painters that I admired and picked two pieces that I really liked and copied them. It's not recommended to sell them, because they are made from a copyrighted image, but to keep in my kitchen it's super fine. It's also much easier to paint using a painting as a reference, rather than a photo.

    Whatever you are painting, make it something that brings you joy and, since you say you are a beginner, keep it simple.

    Aim for something that you feel it's doable, with some degree of challenge, of course, as any painting should have, but within reach.

  • How can I convince people that painting is fun to do?

    Convincing others that anything is fun to do is quite tricky.

    I have a kid that does not want to have anything to do with painting, and I tried to convince him he can do it, but he's stubborn on his refusal. So, trying to convince people that painting is fun does not always work, but it's worth a try.

    That said, I can think of two analogies that may come in handy.

    1. Appetite and food enjoyment.

    Even if we are not hungry, seeing someone eating with true pleasure and enjoyment can make us crave that food. I remember as a child seeing a cartoon of Vicky the Viking where the hungry Vikings devoured huge roasted thighs, holding them with their hands and taking big bites out of them. Those scenes made a life-long impression on me. I still crave roasted thighs now, after many years.

    2. Bob Ross.

    He made millions of regular people think that painting was easy and fun. How did he do it? He showed how much fun he was having creating and that making mistakes is not a big deal, you can fix mistakes or turn them into opportunities for unplanned beauty.

    The two examples have one thing in common: both the Vikings and Bob Ross were truly enjoying what they were doing, and that showed through.

    In short, I think the best way to convince others that painting is fun is to do it and talk about it with passion. Show them how much you enjoy painting, talk about how it makes your life happier.

    Talk about painting with a sparkle in your eyes and a grin on your face, and they will want to have that joy in their life.

  • I've never painted before. I usually draw animation, but I've been asked to paint something lively and radiant on a fabric canvas. I've sketched an elegant but straightforward landscape drawing on paper, and now I'm going to my canvas. Any tips on how I begin to sketch, and what I should avoid doing as a beginner?

    It sounds like so far you have been doing the right things.

    To transfer your sketch to canvas, maybe you can use the grid method. You may want to look it up online, but in a nutshell, you draw a grid of squares over your sketch and draw a proportional grid on your canvas. Then you focus on one square at a time and draw the image on each square on your canvas until the entire image has been transferred. Keep the grid lines light, and when you're finished, you can erase or paint over them, and start working on painting your landscape. I hope this helps.

© 2012 Robie Benve

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • profile image

      Frances Plascencia 

      8 weeks ago

      I would love to learn to paint but have no experience

    • profile image

      Chris hemsworth 

      2 months ago

      Thanks for sharing the idea

    • Robie Benve profile imageAUTHOR

      Robie Benve 

      4 months ago from Ohio

      Hi Kylee, thank you very much for your feedback, it's very much appreciated.

    • profile image

      Kylee Henrie 

      4 months ago

      This is the most helpful and straight forward article I've found. Thank you so much. :)

    • Robie Benve profile imageAUTHOR

      Robie Benve 

      5 months ago from Ohio

      Thanks a lot Nouveau Artiste for your supporting words. I see that you are new to the Hubpages community, welcome!! I hope you'll love it as much as me. :)

    • nouveauartiste profile image

      Nouveau Artiste 

      5 months ago from Dover, NH

      Hi Robie,

      I appreciate the detail in this article. Well written and too the point! Thank you for your valuable resources keep share the information like this…

    • Robie Benve profile imageAUTHOR

      Robie Benve 

      5 months ago from Ohio

      Thanks a lot MaryB, glad to hear you appreciated my writings.

    • profile image

      MaryB 

      5 months ago

      Very helpful and encouraging - thank you!

    • profile image

      ingrid gerbich 

      5 months ago

      I want to learn every thing I can. thank you so much for it his information

    • Robie Benve profile imageAUTHOR

      Robie Benve 

      7 months ago from Ohio

      Hi Aasif, that is a very good question. The short answer is that it depends, you may start a painting from light to dark, from dark to light, or whichever way you feel like it's going to work for that specific painting. I think that with acrylics most people put down the darks first, and then fill the shapes with a mid-value color, adding the lights at the end, especially the highlights and reflections, those should be painted only at the end.

      The rule of thumbs is to paint "general to specific". Big shapes first, unifying things of similar color/value, and details later.

      That is really what counts, don't get bogged down into details too soon. Light first or dark first, that depends on your personal style.

    • profile image

      Aasif haneef 

      7 months ago

      Hello Robie...your article was very helpful to us,

      Nice.

      Acrylic paint is starting from light to dark,dark to light or it is up to painter or situations?

    • profile image

      Hugusta Manniui 

      8 months ago

      This worked great thanks for you advice!!!

    • profile image

      Nokhuthula 

      9 months ago

      It was a good help.looking forward to be working out with your site

    • Robie Benve profile imageAUTHOR

      Robie Benve 

      11 months ago from Ohio

      Hi Karen, for bigger canvases I like to start with brushes meant for wall painting. I got a few at a home improvement store, a set of 1, 1.5, and 2 inches. I also got a few from the dollar store, not too bad. Paint can be applied with all kinds of tool. Brushes are the most popular. As long as you find a tool (or brush) that makes the mark you need at hat time, you are fine. Cheaper brushes sometimes are awesome, other times they shed or the bristle "bush up" and lose their shape. But anything goes, really. In general, I like to use a brush much bigger than what I would have picked up at first. Especially in the beginning stages of a painting, or for bigger canvases. Towards the end I add details with smaller brushes. Also, big brushes and big canvases need a lot of paint. Mix twice the amount you think you'll need, and use it all. :) I hope this helps.

    • Robie Benve profile imageAUTHOR

      Robie Benve 

      11 months ago from Ohio

      Hi Barbara, paint can be applied with any tool. Brushes are the most popular. Some people use their fingers, others, palette knives, some people even old credit cards or toothbrushes. The bottom line is, as long as you find a tool (brush) that makes the mark you need at that time, you are fine. Cheaper brushes sometimes are awesome, other times they shed or the bristles spread out and lose their shape. But anything goes, really. In general, I like to use a brush much bigger than what I would have picked up at first. Especially in the beginning stages of a painting, it's size 10 or bigger. Towards the end I add details with smaller brushes. I hope this helps.

    • profile image

      Karen 

      11 months ago

      What 3 or 4 brushes would you recommend for large canvas 3-4 ft acrylic painting? Is there a set that you like?

      Thanks for your help.

    • profile image

      Barbara Hood 

      11 months ago

      My problem seems to be finding the right brushes to use on what....never know what size to use...I mostly paint scenery....not much on faces. I have painted animals, barns, churches, birds and lots of flowers.....can you help me?

    • Robie Benve profile imageAUTHOR

      Robie Benve 

      11 months ago from Ohio

      Hi Sandy, since you like to draw, I would suggest looking at painting as drawing with color. Use you knowledge of dark and light when you apply color. Squint and mix colors of the right value, that simplifies things. For more articles with tips for beginners, click on my profile and peruse my writings, there are probably a few that you may find interesting. Thanks a lot for taking the time to read and leave a comment. Have fun with your new art set!

    • profile image

      Sandy Halpern 

      11 months ago

      Hi I love to draw so my hubby got me an art set. I am new to painting and don’t know the first thing about it. I was wondering if you could give me some advice for a beginner. Thanks

    • Robie Benve profile imageAUTHOR

      Robie Benve 

      11 months ago from Ohio

      Hi Juana, I don't know how old you are, but there is not "too old" in art. You are who you are, and your work magically reflects that, and also it changes with you as you keep practicing. Painting is a fascinating journey, where every traveler has different skills, different experiences, and different personality. There is no right or wrong, as long as we enjoy the journey. Happy Panting!

    • Robie Benve profile imageAUTHOR

      Robie Benve 

      11 months ago from Ohio

      That's wonderful Jay! What a great and fun way to break the ice and start painting again! Thanks for sharing and keep it up. May those be just the beginning, with many more paintings to come.

    • profile image

      Juana Wooldridge 

      11 months ago

      I am so excited to start!!! IHope I am Not to old

    • profile image

      Jay 

      11 months ago

      I just started painting again after years of nothing. I did an X-Mas variation of Starry Night (with a snowman in the foreground!) and an Elf on the Shelf for my son in law and set the elf up like he did it. Even signed it "Elf". I thought I'd do terribly, and while the end result wasn't what I'd hoped for, the kids absolutely LOVED them. I read this article beforehand and it reminded me why I wanted to do this to begin with-FUN. I'll try the materials you recommended and keep practicing. Thanks.

    • Robie Benve profile imageAUTHOR

      Robie Benve 

      12 months ago from Ohio

      Hi Nawal, I wrote an article with some tips on how to get over an artistic burnout, maybe you can find some tips in there that will help you get started.

      https://toughnickel.com/self-employment/be-the-ceo...

      Good luck to you :)

    • profile image

      Nawal 

      12 months ago

      I have a need to get started but always something stop me need help to get out of my mood

    • Robie Benve profile imageAUTHOR

      Robie Benve 

      12 months ago from Ohio

      Hi Ehis, I call painting my "free" mental therapy, who does not need some every once in a while? Glad to hear you are getting started, I would say jump into it. The good thing with acrylics is that you can paint over and change everything is you don't like the results. Have no fear. Pain on. Watch some you tube video for some free instructions. You can also borrow video from a library, if you have one nearby. Happy painting!!

    • profile image

      Ehis 

      12 months ago

      Well I've been trying to get so many things off my head I think painting would help me do that but my biggest problem is that I don't know where to start from and I really need a teacher to help me aim this thinking. I've learnt somethings now the position of your light painting supplies and all that

    • Robie Benve profile imageAUTHOR

      Robie Benve 

      13 months ago from Ohio

      Hi Eileen, thanks for stopping by and leaving your feedback. Happy painting and good luck finding the perfect lighting solution for your needs. :)

    • profile image

      Eileen 

      13 months ago

      This was so helpful! I’ve been painting with acrylics for almost 2 years and have trouble with the lighting. I don’t have a northern window for light, but I can work around that and now know not to have the light behind me!!

    • profile image

      Diana Adkins 

      13 months ago

      Thank you. This is the first thing I have read about acrylic painting and it is very easy to understand and encouraging.

    • Robie Benve profile imageAUTHOR

      Robie Benve 

      16 months ago from Ohio

      Hi Sharry, the internet can be a great source of inspiration for an artist, but you are right, you need to be careful and use copyright-free photos. There are several sites that provide them, check them out. Here are a few: Wikimedia Commons, Morgue File, Flickr Creative Commons. pay attention to the different kind of licenses and what they allow you to do. There are also facebook groups that share free photos for artists to use, you'd have to ask to join the group (one is called Photos for Artists). And of course you can always use your own photos or somebidy else's, with permission.

      I hope this helps. Happy painting!!

    • profile image

      Sharry 

      16 months ago

      Robie, I started discovering an ability to paint with Paint Nite. For the next three years I've used images that appealed to me that I've found on the internet as my guides and I'm getting much better. But, now I need to be careful I'm not accused of copying someone else's work. And now I don't know where to begin, and I feel stymied because I haven't yet found "my" style. Any thoughts or suggestions? Thanks!

    • Robie Benve profile imageAUTHOR

      Robie Benve 

      17 months ago from Ohio

      Hi Sarah, that's it: prctice is the key word. The more you paint the more you learn. The more you learn the more you (and probably others too) are going to like yout paintings. Keep those brushes moving. :)

    • profile image

      Sarah 

      17 months ago

      Thank you for your tips and words of encouragement. I am just beginning. Hmm, must practice, practice, practice.

    • Robie Benve profile imageAUTHOR

      Robie Benve 

      20 months ago from Ohio

      Awesome Lynnie, keep on painting and have as much fun as you can.That's the best way to go, I think. Every painting we do teaches us something; every painting we start has the potential of being our best one yet. And if turns out not so good, oh well, let's start another one, or paint over. It's a wonderful journey no matter what. :)

    • profile image

      Lynnie 

      20 months ago

      I have no talent but I love to paint with acrylics canvases are inexpensive in bulk packs and make you feel professional it is so much fun - thanks for the tips !

    • profile image

      Dr Salma Mohsin 

      20 months ago

      I have done a lot of paintings in oil and water colour.Never tried my hand on acrylic.Your tips and suggestions for a beginner in acrylic are very useful and to the point.

      Thanks Robie

    • Robie Benve profile imageAUTHOR

      Robie Benve 

      20 months ago from Ohio

      Hi Jody, you are very welcome, it's great to hear that something I write sharing my passion for painting is inspiring to another artist. Thanks a lot for your comment. Happy Painting!

    • Robie Benve profile imageAUTHOR

      Robie Benve 

      20 months ago from Ohio

      Hi Varun, I saw your pencil portraits, you are very talented! Have fun experimenting with acrylics, I bet you can do amazing things with them!

    • profile image

      Judy Burchett 

      20 months ago

      I'm trying to figure out a few styles of painting. Your article has given me away to focus on my vision. Thanks for the advice on that.

      Judy Burchett

      Harrisonburg, Virginia

    • Varun N Rao profile image

      Varun N Rao 

      20 months ago from Bengaluru

      Hi Robie, that's a wonderful and a very useful article. I am a portrait artist primarily working with pencils but off late, I am working with Acrylics on canvas and kind off struggling a bit with my approach. Your article has given me some direction I was looking for and will build up more on it. Do go through my profile... www.facebook.com/vartoonss when you have time. I will keep following your blogs for more. Thanks again!

    • Robie Benve profile imageAUTHOR

      Robie Benve 

      21 months ago from Ohio

      Hi Katie, keeping it simple is the key, even if you don't have a hand problem. : ) I love that you are learning as much as you can while you can't use your hand, you'll be ready for success when the time comes, hopefully very soon.

      I sent you an email with some useful links. Thanks a lot for reading and your comment! : )

    • profile image

      Katie.mason10@aol.com 

      21 months ago

      Ive wanted to paint on canvas forever but just haven't but always in the back of my mind. I've all kinds of creative things through my life time I love it from simple coloring to jewelry

      I'm 69 years old. My hands are giving me different problems now. Recently surgery on my right hand for trigger release of middle finger and trigger thumb. February 20th I was at the ER had cellulitis. My hand swelled to twice its size.

      It turned out to be Staph infection. I've never had any thing hurt so bad. It's been a ordeal. But doing much better now. God is good! I kept my hand and fingers.

      During recovery I've been watching on YouTube painting videos. I've decided on one and that's Clive5Art from Wales in UK

      In the past I had been on Pinterest and saved all different articles of which one is yours.

      I've just started reading this. I know Practice is So Important. Right now I'm handicapped since I'm right handed.

      But want to learn "How ".

      To keep it simple.

      I've been obtaining various items for my wanting to paint. I've chosen Acrylic painting.

      Looking forward too learn much more from your site and you

      Katie and Sheldon

      Williamsburg, Virginia

    • Robie Benve profile imageAUTHOR

      Robie Benve 

      21 months ago from Ohio

      Yay Mona, that's the attitude I love! Start doodling, sketching, painting, do the things you love, no worries about the final results. The important thing is the process, the fun, and the learning from our own mistakes. :)

    • Jason mackenzie profile image

      Jason Mackenzie 

      21 months ago from Perth WA 6000

      Very informative article - an encouraging too!! I appreciate the time you have spent in researching the information and the positive tone with which you have presented even the most difficult concepts.

    • Robie Benve profile imageAUTHOR

      Robie Benve 

      22 months ago from Ohio

      Hello Khan, I have seen some artwork with calligraphy on canvas, both Asian and Arabic, and I love it. I have never tried including fancy calligraphy in my paintings, only some basic text when needed, but it can surely be done. I can't really give you any decent tips on how to paint calligraphy, but it sounds like a wonderful thing to learn. Good luck to you, and happy painting! :)

    • Robie Benve profile imageAUTHOR

      Robie Benve 

      22 months ago from Ohio

      Hi Julie, you comment is very encouraging and made my day! It is truly as you said. It's ok to make mistakes. There would be no masterworks if the great painters didn't accept to make mistakes and then moved on, and kept painting. :) Being creative, and having fun while doing it, that's what it's all about. Happy painting!

    • profile image

      Julie s 

      22 months ago

      I've read other articles on beginning painting with acrylics and they were more "clinical" in their approach. Your article suggests that it's okay to try and to make mistakes. To create a feeling, tell a story and aim for that. Excellent article for a beginner like me. Thank you.

    • profile image

      Rosi. A 

      22 months ago

      Thanks for all tips.

    • Robie Benve profile imageAUTHOR

      Robie Benve 

      23 months ago from Ohio

      You are very welcome Vinca Voda. :)

    • profile image

      Jan Bushey 

      23 months ago

      I have been trying to learn to paint. Not easy, I have taken lesson from different teacher with different styles. I don't seem to be good at any of them. But I won't give up. Thanks for your help

    • profile image

      Vinca Voda 

      23 months ago

      Thank you so much!

    • profile image

      Tina Whethers 

      24 months ago

      Thanks for tips

    • Robie Benve profile imageAUTHOR

      Robie Benve 

      2 years ago from Ohio

      Thanks a lot Magicfive! Receiving some positive feedback never gets old. :) ;)

    • MAGICFIVE profile image

      MAGICFIVE 

      2 years ago from New York

      Great ideas! I love your artwork - mostly your use of white and "light."

    • profile image

      leonard 

      2 years ago

      i am a retired 65 year old farmer in the Philippines and was given a bunch of stuff for Acrylliic painting and I don't know what to do with it. I am so happy I found your blog. I don't know how I got to your website and i should say not very computer saavy and am afraid if but I am afraid if shutdown my computer, i can not get your website back.

      just in case here is my email add lzg2k9@gmail.com and maybe give me some tips. Thank you.

    • Robie Benve profile imageAUTHOR

      Robie Benve 

      2 years ago from Ohio

      Hi Inga, that's right , getting the painting supplies is only the beginning, then there is the "and now what?" stage. Glad to be of help! :) I hope your make great use of those supplies by paintings squared miles of canvas and enjoying every minute of it! Best wishes :)

    • profile image

      Inga 

      2 years ago

      Thank you for the checklist. I just picked up supplies on a whim from our local dollar store and brought them home wondering what the hell was I thinking. Your article really helped me to focus on the next steps.

    • profile image

      Eduardo 

      2 years ago

      Excelente el artículo, de esta manera podremos pintar mejor nuestros cuadros...muchas gracias y bendiciones...

    • Robie Benve profile imageAUTHOR

      Robie Benve 

      2 years ago from Ohio

      Hello Rae, thanks a lot for your kind words and comments! Happy you found the article helpful. Blessings to you too, and Happy Painting!

    • profile image

      Rae 

      2 years ago

      This is perfect! You're a great teacher. Thanks for taking the time to break painting down in this way -- it makes perfect sense and is so helpful! God Bless!

    • Robie Benve profile imageAUTHOR

      Robie Benve 

      2 years ago from Ohio

      Great! That's exactly how I started: with a beginners' set received for Christmas, including an easel. How wonderful! Enjoy! :)

    • Meisjunk profile image

      Jennifer Kessner 

      2 years ago from Pennsylvania

      I've always wanted to learn to paint! For this Christmas, I was given a beginners set, and then I found an easel for $15! This article is great, thanks so much!

    • Dolores Monet profile image

      Dolores Monet 

      2 years ago from East Coast, United States

      I used to paint with acrylics but have not done so for way too long. Just trying to get back into it, I really appreciated this article.

    • Kristen Howe profile image

      Kristen Howe 

      3 years ago from Northeast Ohio

      You're very welcome Robie. It sounds like fun.

    • Robie Benve profile imageAUTHOR

      Robie Benve 

      3 years ago from Ohio

      Hi Kristen, glad you found the hub informative! Thanks a lot!

    • Kristen Howe profile image

      Kristen Howe 

      3 years ago from Northeast Ohio

      Great hub, Robie. This was very informative on how to get starters with easy steps from prep to doing the painting.

    • Robie Benve profile imageAUTHOR

      Robie Benve 

      3 years ago from Ohio

      Hi Scribenet, I found that doing the first layer of shape-painting using mid values helped me quite a bit. I usually leave the lightest highlights for the last fancy touches, I learned that less is better for strong highlights. You are right, looking for the perfect reference photo is very important. A good starting composition is the needed foundation for a good painting. Once you find one you like, dive in and have fun! Happy painting!

    • Scribenet profile image

      Scribenet 

      3 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      I like the idea of doing the shapes in the middle values of the final acrylic colors and then detailing with the shadows and highlights. I think I will start looking for a composition with colors that appeal to me. I am going to have to go through all the photos I have taken!

    • Robie Benve profile imageAUTHOR

      Robie Benve 

      3 years ago from Ohio

      Hello Jonas, painting daily is a wonderful way to improve one's skills. One way to start is to create a painting challenge for yourself, like 30 paintings in 30 days. There is one going on every September, check the blog of artist Leslie Saeta, she organizes a 30 paintings in 30 days challenge every year. The fact that thousands of painters participate really gives me the incentinve and commitment to paint daily, you may want to check that out. Thanks a lot for your feedback and Happy Painting!

    • Jonas Rodrigo profile image

      Jonas Rodrigo 

      3 years ago

      I resolved to myself a while back to make painting a daily habit, but I've never really gotten around to doing it. Thank you for this very useful hub. Cheers!

    • Robie Benve profile imageAUTHOR

      Robie Benve 

      3 years ago from Ohio

      Hi Sebrina, I call them happy accidents: when you make a mistake ad you have the chance to use your creativity to turn it into something else and make it work. Art is full of happy accidents. :) Thanks for stopping by!

    • profile image

      Sebrina 

      3 years ago

      Love the advice but I can NEVER draw out my paintings and this bothers me. If I make a mistake I'll just make it into something else.

    • Robie Benve profile imageAUTHOR

      Robie Benve 

      3 years ago from Ohio

      Great to hear you enjoyed and found my hub useful, Gclightning! Happy painting!

    • profile image

      Gclightning 

      3 years ago

      Awesome!☺️ totally useful

    • Robie Benve profile imageAUTHOR

      Robie Benve 

      3 years ago from Ohio

      That's great Sal Enmad, have fun with your painting! Glad you found my info helpful. :)

    • profile image

      Sal enmad 

      3 years ago

      thanks for tips just starting to paint with acrylics . So really helpful

    • Robie Benve profile imageAUTHOR

      Robie Benve 

      3 years ago from Ohio

      Yes MonkeyShine, acrylics are kind of in the middle between watercolors and oils, hope you like them when you try, you can do all kind of art with acrylics. thanks!

    • MonkeyShine75 profile image

      Mara Alexander 

      3 years ago from Los Angeles, California

      So kewl, this is a great. I've used water colors which I didn't like, and oil that I did like, but its too expensive. This should be just right. Thank you for sharing

      I voted it up

    • profile image

      Jacobb9205 

      3 years ago

      No problem, I did :)

    • Robie Benve profile imageAUTHOR

      Robie Benve 

      3 years ago from Ohio

      Hi jacob9205, thanks a lot for reading and I'm very happy you liked the content. Happy painting!

    • profile image

      Jacobb9205 

      3 years ago

      Wow great guide and suggestions, thank you!

    • Robie Benve profile imageAUTHOR

      Robie Benve 

      3 years ago from Ohio

      Thanks for stopping by amazaving! Happy hubbing to you!

    • amazaving profile image

      Amazaving 

      3 years ago

      I hadn't thought of a lot of this before. I'm glad I stopped to take a look!

    • Robie Benve profile imageAUTHOR

      Robie Benve 

      3 years ago from Ohio

      Thanks deepthiveera for your nice comment! I'm happy you find my hub useful for those who want to learn acrylic painting, that means I must have done something right because that was exactly the direction I tried to go. Thanks! :)))

    • Robie Benve profile imageAUTHOR

      Robie Benve 

      3 years ago from Ohio

      Thanks a lot for your supportive comment deborahmorrison1!! Big hugs to you!

    • deepthiveera profile image

      deepthiveera 

      3 years ago from Cumbum, Tamil Nadu, India

      Very nice Hub! It could be really a great guide for those who want to learn this Acrylic painting. Model paintings look great that may induce any one learn this kind of art. Thanks a lot for this useful and interesting Hub! Best wishes Robie Benve!

    • deborahmorrison1 profile image

      Deborah Morrison 

      3 years ago from Hamilton, Ontario, Canada

      Clear, useful, step by step tips for beginners on how to paint with acrylic. Well organized hub, and the fabulous pictures add that special touch.

    • Robie Benve profile imageAUTHOR

      Robie Benve 

      4 years ago from Ohio

      A painting set for Christmas, just the kind of gift I LOVE ML Morgan! That's wonderful and I am thrilled that you are going to use my hub as reference to get started. Cheers to a happy and long artistic journey! :)

    • profile image

      M L Morgan 

      4 years ago

      Thanks for sharing your info, I just bought my daughter a set of acrylics for Christmas. I will be using this info to get us started :)

    • Robie Benve profile imageAUTHOR

      Robie Benve 

      4 years ago from Ohio

      Thanks a lot Melissa for your wonderful comment! I'm happy to hear that you found my hub so helpful, and you are right even experienced painters can learn a thing or two every day, I know I can't ever run out of things to learn! That's part of what keeps painting fun though. :) Thank you and happy painting!

    • Melissa Sewell profile image

      Melissa Sewell 

      4 years ago from North Carolina

      This is an awesome Hub! I have been painting with acrylics for years and this would have helped me out a lot when I began. Shoot, who am I kidding? It still helped me out. This definitely teaches even the most experienced painters how to get back to their roots. Start fresh with new ideas. Great job! :)

    • Robie Benve profile imageAUTHOR

      Robie Benve 

      4 years ago from Ohio

      Hi LADINardi, try it out, since when I started toning the canvas before I start painting or drawing I can't do without! :) Thanks for stopping by and your feedback. :)

    • Robie Benve profile imageAUTHOR

      Robie Benve 

      4 years ago from Ohio

      Hi Andy, I cover the paint with plastic too, after spaying some water on it to keep it wet. It works for a while, but if you want to keep it fresh for days you should try refrigerator or freezer (or outdoors in winter). Thanks for your feedback! :)

    • LADiNardi profile image

      L.A. DiNardi 

      4 years ago from New Hampshire

      I never though of painting the canvas before I draw, or paint! This is great! Thank you for such a great article.

    • profile image

      Andy Morris 

      4 years ago

      Great tips on how to get started, I've never frozen my paints. I just cover them with plastic wrap and the stay fresh a long time.

    • Robie Benve profile imageAUTHOR

      Robie Benve 

      4 years ago from Ohio

      Thanks a lot eilval. Happy painting!

    • Robie Benve profile imageAUTHOR

      Robie Benve 

      4 years ago from Ohio

      Excellent suggestion Maggie42! Though I personally don't like putting paint in the freezer with food, I've heard of artists that freeze both oil and acrylic paint, and it stays "fresh" between sections. I've actually been considering to buy a small freezer for my studio to be used only for paint and such.

      I need to add this to the article text, don't I? :) Thanks!

    • eilval profile image

      Eileen 

      4 years ago from Western Cape , South Africa

      Interesting hub and great suggestions !

    • Maggie42 profile image

      Maggie42 

      4 years ago

      When I used to paint with oils we used to put the paints in the freezer between classes it stops you wasting paint as well as trying to remix the perfect colour. I haven't tried with acrylics but I can't see why it wouldn't work. Put a sheet of baking paper around your paint palate so you can easily detach it for freezing. I didn't see it mentioned so I thought I'd share.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, feltmagnet.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://feltmagnet.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)