10 Simple Acrylic Painting Tips: Do’s and Don’ts to Become a Better Painter

Acrylic painting offers a vibrant, quick-drying medium perfect for artists who are eager to express their creativity through bold colors and textures.

Here’s how you can refine your acrylic painting techniques with ten expert tips designed to enhance the quality and depth of your artworks.


1. Mastering Color Mixing

Effective color mixing is crucial for any acrylic painter. Start by familiarizing yourself with the color wheel to understand primary, secondary, and complementary colors. This knowledge will help you create more sophisticated hues and shades, vital for dynamic paintings. Online tutorials, like this color wheel guide, can offer practical exercises to enhance your color mixing skills, moving you from beginner to pro.

2. Keeping Paint Wet

Acrylic paint’s fast-drying nature can be both a blessing and a curse. To keep your options open and your paint wetter longer, mist your palette with water regularly. Consider using a slow-drying medium or a wet palette system, which involves a dampened layer of paper beneath your palette paper to extend the working life of your paints.

3. Best Palette Options

You don’t need to invest in expensive art supplies to be a great painter. Common household items, such as the lid from a large food container or a glass kitchen board, can serve as effective palettes. These alternatives are not only cost-effective but also encourage a sustainable approach by repurposing materials.

rebekah burgess
Rebekah Burgess

4. Building Texture Through Layers

One of the most exciting aspects of acrylic painting is the ability to build up texture through layers. Don’t rush the process—gradual layering allows for depth and richness in texture. Utilize different tools like palette knives to apply thick paint for a textured surface, which can add a dramatic effect to your artwork.

5. Avoid Batch Mixing Colors

Instead of mixing large batches of color, mix fresh colors as you go to keep your painting vibrant and unique. Large batches can make your work appear uniform and flat; fresh mixes add variety and depth to your painting, making each area stand out with its own characteristics.

6. Choosing the Right Brushes

The brushes you choose can dramatically affect your painting style. Try different shapes and sizes to see which ones you prefer for various effects. Some artists love using round brushes for detailed work, while others might prefer flat brushes for broad strokes.

10 Simple Acrylic Painting Tips: Do's and Don'ts to Become a Better Painter 5
Oamul Wu

7. Grounding Your Canvas

Starting with a toned canvas can significantly enhance your acrylic paintings. Applying a neutral ground color, like gray or a soft ochre, can help illuminate your vibrant colors and reduce the starkness of white canvas. This technique also provides a harmonious background that ties your composition together.

8. Paint What You See

To improve realism in your paintings, focus on painting what you actually see rather than what you think you see. This practice develops your observational skills and helps you capture the true essence of your subject. Pay attention to details like light, shadow, and color nuances.

9. Thorough Cleaning

Maintaining your painting tools is essential. Ensure that you clean your brushes and workspace after each session. Acrylic paint becomes water-resistant when dry, so cleaning up immediately after use helps preserve your brushes’ bristles and keeps colors pure.


10. Continuous Learning and Experimentation

The best way to grow as an artist is to continuously challenge yourself with new techniques and styles. Explore different mediums, study other artists’ works, and never shy away from experimenting with new ideas in your acrylic paintings.

These tips are designed to help you develop a more professional approach to acrylic painting, enhancing both the process and the products of your artistic endeavors. Dive into each painting session with these practices in mind, and watch as your skills and results flourish.