acrylic painting for beginners

Acrylic Painting – Technique for beginners

In today’s post, beginners can learn about the materials required and steps for acrylic painting. As an example we will paint a picture of a pear. You may want understand the acrylic painting medium detailed in my previous post, before picking up the brush.

Quick Guide to Materials Required

To paint your masterpiece, you will need following material:

1. Pencil and eraser

2. Paints

  • The artist quality acrylic paints are preferable over student acrylic paints, the reason being that the latter tend to grain on paper and do not produce very good results.
  • You can buy an acrylic paint set from any art store. You can also buy selected shades of color.
  • Unlike the watercolors, in acrylic white and black are widely used.
  • As discussed above, acrylic paints dry very fast so take care not to leave your paints open, once dried you will never be able to retrieve the color no matter how much water you add later.
  • to keep them from drying quickly there are various methods:
  • Put some water on the paints on your palette
  • You can also keep a small spray bottle and spray water on your paints while you are working.
  • Another method is to add regarding mediums to the paints to slow down the drying time. There are a variety of mediums available in the market.

3. Brushes

  • You can buy medium sized round synthetic brushes and fine tip brushes if you wish to do detailed work. You will also need flat brushes. Brushes with slightly stiffer bristles are good for acrylic because these are not as easy flowing as watercolors but have a thicker consistency.
  • Taking care of your brushes
  • It is very important to clean your brushes quickly after use because if the acrylic paints will dry on the bristles they will become hard as wood and you may end up losing your favorite and best quality brushes.
  • Clean your brushes thoroughly after every use with clean water.

4. Palette (Mixing Plate)

  • While working with acrylic you can’t really use the usual plastic ones because if it dries on that you will never be able to wash it off.
  • There are specific palettes available in the market that is made for this medium.

However if you really don’t want to invest much on the palette you can use a glass sheet (which you can clean by using a glass scraper) or a switch board, these you can easily get from any electrical supply shop for very cheap. You can also paste a white sheet at the back of your glass sheet which will help you in color mixing.

5. Surface to paint on

  • The good thing about acrylics is that you can use them on a variety of surfaces.

Canvases are the first choice when it comes to acrylic painting. There are two varieties

First one is the canvas sheet stretched on a wooden frame and other is the canvas board. Canvas board is easier to work with because it gives solid –hard surface to work on. It is easier to frame and store in comparison to canvas stretched on the wooden frame. Both are commonly available in the market.

  • You can also use a hard board or any card board lying around your house.
  • An acrylic paper is also available on the market that is specially made for the acrylic paints.
  • You can also use watercolor paper for a thin application.
  • You can experiment with different surfaces.

6. Container: for water. Use a big one so that you don’t have to change the water too often. Using clean water is important for the colors to look fresh.

7. Cloth: to wipe your brush.

Acrylic Painting Steps

Colors that I have used for this demonstration:

  • Titanium white
  • Cadmium yellow medium
  • Yellow ochre
  • Sap green
  • Burnt sienna
  • Crimson Lake
  • Prussian blue
  • Black

You can use any colors according to your own understanding and observation.

1. Here I am using a reference photo for my painting. It is always good to use references when you are learning. It helps you to study the colors and composition. I have taken a picture of a pear.

picture of a pear

2.  You can take any cardboard or canvas. I have used an old canvas. The good thing about acrylic as I have already discussed is that you can paint over and over again on the same surface.



Step 1: prepare background for acrylic painting

Paint the canvas with a base color. I painted it in crimson red. But it is optional; you can leave it white and draw your composition.

3. Paint the pear by referring to the picture. You can either go from dark to light or light to dark.

Step 2 - Painting a pear with acrylic colors

4. Now color the background in shades of gray as in the reference photo, leaving some spaces here and there for your base color to show .this will add extra interest to your painting. But this is optional.

  • The background should be painted in such a way that the main object should stand out. One way of doing is to paint the background lighter on the shady side of the subject and darker on the side which is lighter.
  • Paint the shade of the subject.


Step 3 – Painting the background so that pear stands out

5. In the end, you can do the highlights with very light tones and white. You can go over any area that needs correction and paint it again. It is easier to do corrections in acrylic.

Step 4 – Giving final touch to the pear painting done with acrylic

To save your painting from dust you can apply varnish or any other mediums available in the market. But is not necessary.

Now that you have learned the basic process you can practice with more difficult compositions and different techniques.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s