How To Paint With Acrylics On Canvas: 3 Essential Steps
Acrylics are versatile and one of the most popular mediums for painting. It is easier than watercolor and oil to learn how to paint with acrylics on canvas but still, acrylics offer you an incredible variety of techniques and paintings look amazing and are sold for hundreds of thousands.
To paint with acrylic on canvas you need essential supplies and some extra supplies . The process relies on 3 main stages: preparation, painting, and protection. You also will need patience and knowledge on how to prepare the surface, how to mix and blend the paint, and how to protect the painting.
All of it is here. I will guide you through the basic process that you will repeat again and again no matter what youre painting. It is quite universal to start and it will be your base. After you will be more confident, you are free to break any rules and experiment!
In this article:
- * towel or paper towel
- * apron
There is any medium on that list as mediums, as for me, require a bit more knowledge in painting. This guide is for a complete beginner.
Just for quick notice, mediums can help us make the paint dry slower, make it more fluid, heavier for different techniques, make it pourable for acrylic pouring, etc.
Setup Your Painting Supplies
You need a comfortable position to work if you dont want any mistakes. Most artists have a tabletop easel where they can place their canvas at a slight angle to work. However, it all depends on you if you prefer to work on a flat surface instead. You also need to get your other art supplies close by where you can reach them easily. Make sure you have your workspace set up with all your supplies, including your acrylic paint brushes, palette, palette knives, water, and any other material you will need. Acrylic painting usually requires fast-paced work because it is fast drying, and it is good to have everything close for a more comfortable experience.
B Blend Acrylic Paint With Water: Wet
This technique is different from wet-on-wet blending only in one thing: your painting surface stays dry, you dont mist it with water. Only your brush or paint can be wet for this technique.
What do you need:
- paper towels.
How to blend acrylic paint with wet-on-dry technique:
You may pick different colors and the result will be more distinctive than mine, the purpose was to show the process ð
If you dont like regular horizontal blends, you can do like Greg, he is creating beautiful blends with a wet brush:
Also Check: Best Light Grey Paint Colors
Where To Buy Fabric Medium
You can buy a fabric medium in any offline craft shop or online. For online Amazon and Blick are the biggest and my favorite marketplaces to shop for art supplies, but you can always purchase mediums directly from the manufacturer official website, however, I think most of time it ends up being more expensive than Amazon! ð
While I recommend only 6 fabric mediums here, there are, of course, more than that on the market. I also tried Deco Art paints and mediums and it worked well enough on old jeans shorts:
Craft Paint : My Top Tips For Using Acrylic Paint
Are you wondering how to use acrylic paint? I love using acrylic craft paint its one of my top supplies for all of my creative projects. In this article I share my TOP eight favorite tips with you!
Plaid has a great painting education center with tips on how to use acrylic paint, as well as videos. Enjoy that and the guide below and if there are more questions you have that I can answer on how to use acrylic paint, leave them in the comments. Ill do my best to help you.
Recommended Reading: Olympic Poxolon 2 Epoxy Pool Paint
More Tips To Get Creative
There are a variety of mediums and techniques to increase the versatility of acrylic paints.
Thin acrylic paint with a water or glazing medium to produce watercolor-like effects such as washes and glazes. You can also brush on acrylic paints thickly, alone or with a gel medium, for impasto effects similar to those of oil paint.
Acrylic dries into an insoluble, water-resistant flexible paint film. This means that, unlike watercolor paint, which is water-soluble even when dry, you can paint on top of previous layers of acrylic paint without fear of lifting the color beneath.
Save money by purchasing good-quality household decorating brushes. Look for brushes that arent too thick, or cut off half of the hairs.
Acrylic is ideal for mixed media and collage. The paint acts as an adhesive and dries clear. It also makes a good surface for drawing on with graphite, oil pastel, and oil sticks.
Use acrylics for painting studies of your subject outdoors. When dry, this water-resistant paint won’t be ruined if you happen to get caught in the rain. Because of its quick drying time and chemical properties, it is also very useful as an underpainting for oil painting. You can work out many of the color and composition issues of your painting using fast-drying acrylics before committing yourself to oils. Just remember that you can paint oil over acrylic but not vice versa.
Get A Canvas And An Easel
It is often recommended for beginners in acrylics to start painting with an easel. True, it makes life easier when you start painting horizontally, it will be hard to create right proportion and perspectives. An easel helps you to fix the painting, keeps it vertically, and can be adjusted to any size of canvases.
When I was painting oil, I always did it with an easel, seating in front of my painting.
This was a setup in one studio I was painting while traveling, very simple easel!
If you consider buying an easel, Id recommend doing it in an art store, where you can touch it, and check how comfortable is it for you. If you still are more of online shopping, try tabletop easels they are cheaper, need less space, and portable . Tabletop easels are one of the cheapest options yet durable, I dont really like flimsy easels:
It is also important to stand up, and back up to see the whole painting, to compare it with reference, if you have one, to check the proportion.
Canvas is an element of success in painting. Check the texture, the stretcher bars , and how the canvas is stretched , the priming. Always read some reviews before buying online.
Triple primed, 100% cotton canvas, with good-quality wooden stretcher bars it is a great and wallet-friendly option for a beginner. I recommended Blick Premier Cotton Canvas, but you are free to choose from more than dozens of options among the 38 canvases that I reviewed.
Read Also: Can You Paint Marble Countertops
Useful Acrylic Tools And Supplies
Brushes: Synthetic materials such as nylon are the best choice for acrylic paintbrushes. Stiff brushes are good for applications of thick paint soft and supple ones are good for applications of thinned paint. Acrylics are harder on brushes made of animal hair, which can swell and lose its spring when soaked in water.
Palette: The acrylic painter needs a palette thats flat and impervious to water. Plastic palettes designed for acrylics are available some have lids or sealable compartments to prevent drying. Enameled butcher trays, thick glass, and plastic cutting boards also work well. Aluminum pans from frozen pies and melamine plates can work in a pinch. Avoid wooden palettes, which absorb water.
Surfaces: One of the advantages to working with acrylics is that you can apply them to almost any stable, nongreasy surface. Water-absorbent surfaces, such as wood, need to be sealed beforehand. Preferred painting surfaces include artists canvas, hardboard, fiberboard and heavy watercolor paper that has been prepared with a good quality acrylic dispersion primer. Using prestretched gessoed canvases saves time, but theyre often not of archival quality.
Water container: A large, unbreakable water container is a must. Change the water frequently so you dont contaminate the colors on your palette.
Choosing Between The Different Viscosities Of Acrylic Paint
Acrylic paints are available in different viscosities. It is always best to opt for a paint with a suitable consistency for its intended application. For example, you can use water or medium to thin Heavy Body Colour, but you may notice spots where the paint isnt as vibrant. Be careful of using too much water in your mixes. Using too much can compromise the integrity of the binder, which will cause adhesion problems. If you require fluid paint, it is advisable to choose a paint with a low viscosity formulation. Do not think that a more fluid acrylic paint is just the heavy body version watered down! Regardless of their consistency, artists acrylic paints contain a high volume of superior pigments.
Heavy Body Acrylics
Heavy Body Acrylics have a thick, high viscosity texture. They are great for artists who look to retain the texture of their brush strokes. Or artists who work with a thick impasto technique. The stiffer the hair of the brushes you use, the more texture will be in each stroke. These paints can be applied with a brush or a knife and give your work an almost sculptural quality.
Soft Body Acrylics
High Flow Acrylics & Acrylic Inks
Acrylic Paint Markers
Slow Drying Acrylic Paints
Read Also: Green Paint Colors For Living Room
Can You Blend Acrylic Paint With Water: Wet Blending
Yes, this is probably the most obvious method you CAN blend acrylic paint with water, some artists call it watercolor technique, or wet techniques. This is the cheapest and most beginner-friendly option, as long as you dont get all messy with too much water.
There are some variations on how to blend acrylic paint with water:
And Now Its Your Turn
Youre now well-armed with what you need to know as a beginner in acrylics. Im going to turn it over to you now.
Your blank canvas awaitsWhat will you fill it with?
P.s. I would love to hear what type of painting you are going to make, feel free to drop a comment below and share your ideas, You might inspire another budding artist!
P.s.s If your dying to learn anything in particular with Acrylic paintings, let me know and Ill make sure I cover it .
And until next time, stay nifty and creative!
You May Like: How To Get Spray Paint Off
Try These Acrylic Painting Techniques With Your Next Painting To Gogh Tutorial
Now that youve learned these simple techniques, what will you paint next?
Painting to Goghs step-by-step tutorials make it easy for you to start expressing yourself, experimenting with new methods, and building up your paint skills.
Our beginner-friendly painting tutorials are delivered right to your doorstep with artist-led video instructions to help you master all the different techniques weve covered. Simply choose a painting and order your kit to get started.
Our Top Tips For Painting Plastic With Acrylic Paint
In addition to our recommendations for painting plastic, we have a few other tips and tricks up our sleeve to help you to get the best out of your painting project. They are based on our own experience of plastic painting projects so you can be sure that they work!
- Use the best quality painters tape that you can afford to tape off areas that you do not want to be painted.
- Ensure the tape has been applied flat so that no paint can seep underneath it.
- After you have finished painting, pull the tape off straight away so that the dried paint does not peel off with the tape.
- You should always use a primer before painting, regardless of whether the item is going to be used or not.
- Depending on the item you are going to be painting, you may wish to use a liquid sander rather than sandpaper as a liquid sander is more gentle.
- Always test your paint to ensure that it is exactly what you want in terms of color and finish.
- To avoid the paint bubbling, make sure that the plastic item is at ambient temperature, that is, not too warm or cold.
Don’t Miss: Magnum Project Painter Plus True Airless
Acrylic Mediums Pastels Gels And Additives
When learning how to paint with acrylics, keep in mind that most brands of acrylics come in a range of viscosities or bodies. Soft or medium body is fluid, creamy and smooth heavy body is thicker, buttery and retains brushstrokes extra or super heavy body is very thick and ideal for impasto applications. The following products can be used with acrylics of any viscosity to create an almost limitless variety of effects.
Mediums are mixed with paint for thinning and glazing, and can be used as an adhesive for collage and mixed media work.
- Matte mediumdries flat without a glossy shine
- Gloss mediumdries with a glossy shine
- Blending mediumthins the paint while increasing open time to aid blending
- Flow improvermakes the paint flow evenly and quickly
Pastes and gels are mixed with paint to add texture or to increase or retain thickness of the paint while adding transparency and lengthening drying time.
- Gel mediumthickens and adds transparency
- Heavy geladds texture, allowing the paint to hold its peaks
- Modeling pastea very thick additive that allows the artist to create highly textured effects that dry to a flexible film
Retardant is mixed with acrylics to slow the drying time and is useful for wet-into-wet techniques too much may result in a film that never dries properly.
Many other additives are available, offering the artist a lifetime of experimentation and discovery.
- Iridescent colors
- Pouring medium
Buying Paint And Brushes
Many companies make acrylic paints in a fluid or liquid version as well as with a paste- or butter-like consistency. Artists will have a preferred brand based on aspects such as the colors available and the consistency of the paint. Check the lightfastness of the pigment by looking for the American Society for Testing and Materials rating on the tube.
You don’t need to buy a box of 64 different colors, though, as unlike the crayons you had as a kid, paints can be mixed for infinite varieties of results. You can start with 10 to 12 basic colors and mix shades from there. You could start with even fewer, really, as long as you have some primary colors, white, black, and brown.
Youll need stiff-bristled brushes for thick acrylic paint and soft-bristled brushes for watercolor effects. Youll be faced with an array of sizes and shapes , and you also get different lengths of the handle. If youre on a tight budget, start with a small and a medium-sized filbert . Filberts are a good choice because if you use just the tip, you get a narrow brush mark, and if you push down, you get a broad one. A good medium-sized flat brush will also come in handy. Depending on which edge you paint with, it can give you either a broader or thinner stroke. It will give you a more distinct brushstroke than a filbert brush.
You May Like: Paint On Sale At Home Depot
What Are The Best Brushes For Acrylic Painting
Normally, most people and first-timers use expensive brushes to get better-quality paints. But this might not be true for all cases. In fact, some of themare made from excellent quality synthetic hair, and they give amazing results if you know how to use them efficiently.
Therefore, instead of buying cheap brushes for your acrylic paints, you can select a few high-quality brushes, which should last a long time.
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, its 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.
You May Like: How To Fix Paint Chips On Car
How To Paint Acrylic On Canvas
This article was co-authored by Kelly Medford. Kelly Medford is an American painter based in Rome, Italy. She studied classical painting, drawing and printmaking both in the U.S. and in Italy. She works primarily en plein air on the streets of Rome, and also travels for private international collectors on commission. She founded Sketching Rome Tours in 2012 where she teaches sketchbook journaling to visitors of Rome. Kelly is a graduate of the Florence Academy of Art.There are 17 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page.wikiHow marks an article as reader-approved once it receives enough positive feedback. In this case, 100% of readers who voted found the article helpful, earning it our reader-approved status. This article has been viewed 97,206 times.
Using acrylic paint is a fun way to get started painting. The paints are usually cheaper than oil paints, and they dry quickly. To begin, gather your supplies and set up your work space. After that, learn the basic brush strokes to begin filling in your canvasses, and then work on learning more advanced techniques.