Painting is one of the easiest crafts to do and is great for both kids and adults. We’ve all done some form of painting in our life, whether it was finger painting when we were kids or art class in school. One great thing about painting is that you can really express yourself. You can do interesting designs and abstract paintings. Or you can choose specific subject matters like people, nature, animals, etc. Your paintings can be big or small. Supplies are easy to come by and it’s not expensive to get started. Here’s everything you need to know about painting with acrylic paints. While oil paints and watercolors are also options for painting, they each require different supplies and techniques than acrylics.
Acrylic paints are easiest to work with, as they are quick drying and don’t have strong odors, like oil paints. You can buy sets of paints with a variety of colors. Acrylic paints are also easy to mix together to make custom colors to get exactly what you are looking for.
Choose the right brushes based on the type of paint you are using. There are specific brushes made for acrylic paints. Get several brushes with different sizes you’ll need based on the size of your painting. I recommend starting out with a cheap set of brushes that contains various sizes. After completing a few paintings, you’ll have a better idea of what shapes and sizes you like and you can buy some better quality brushes.
A paint palette allows you to work with your paints. You’ll put your acrylic paints on the palette to work with. You will also use your palette to mix custom colors. You can buy palettes that you hold in your hand while you work or ones you can just leave on your work table.
Canvases and Boards
You can use either canvases, canvas boards, canvasette paper or even wooden boards to paint on. Canvases are probably the most popular to work with, especially if you are new to painting. You can get canvases of all sizes online or at an art supply/crafts store. They are relatively inexpensive and you can buy sets of them as well. For canvasette paper, you’ll need artists tape and some kind of board to tape the paper onto while working.
You’ll need an easel to hold your canvas while you are painting. Most easels are foldable for easy storage. For small to medium size canvases, you can use a tabletop easel. For larger paintings, you’ll need a floor standing easel. They are relatively inexpensive and easy to find.
Brush Cleaning Materials
You’ll need to clean your brushes as you are working and when you are finished. For acrylic paint you will need a container to hold water, so you can rinse out your brushes while you are working. When you are done painting, you can just use soap and water to clean.
You’ll need a smock or apron to wear while painting. You’ll also want to put down a cloth underneath your easel and on the table where you keep your paints, paint palette and brushes.
STEPS FOR PAINTING
Note: once you start painting, it is important to clean your brushes as you are working and when switching colors. See instructions below on cleaning and drying brushes properly.
- Setup your workspace.
Setup your easel on your work table or floor where you will be working. You’ll likely be working on your painting over the course of several days, so make sure you have a safe place to keep the easel and canvas while you’re not working on it. Put down your cloth or tarp underneath your easel to catch any paint drips or spills, and put down your cloth or paper on the work table that holds your paints, brushes and palette.
- Sketch your painting with a pencil.
Get a pencil and sketch out your painting. Make sure you are happy with it before you start painting, but of course you can and should make adaptations and changes as you start painting. Your paint will cover up the pencil marks.
- Put paints on the palette.
Figure out what colors you will be working with first, and put some of each on your palette to work with. Don’t overdo it, as you can always add more paint to the palette as needed. As you start painting, you’ll get a feel for how much paint you will need for each area of your painting. As needed, use your palette to create custom colors by mixing paints. If you are trying to get a color but aren’t sure what to mix, look online for instructions.
- Paint large areas first then smaller details
Work on the large areas of color first, working your way up to the smaller and smaller details. Do not leave any area uncovered with paint. Even if you have large white areas of your painting, make sure to paint with a white color. Make sure the under layers are dry before painting over them. Arcylcys can take 5-20 minutes or more to dry, depending on how much paint you use in a particular area.
- Clean your brushes as you are working
You will need to continuously clean your brushes as you are working. It is necessary when switching colors, as well as preventing the brushes from drying with paint on them, which can cause them to be unusable. For acrylic paints, rinse them in your water container and dry them with a cloth before using them again.
- Step back and look at your work
As you are working, it’s important that you step back and assess your progress. Look at the painting from a slight distance to take it all in. Don’t feel rushed to get it all done in one sitting. Taking breaks and looking at it with “fresh eyes” will give you new perspectives and inspiration.
- Let it dry
Give the painting the appropriate amount of time to dry. Acrylics can dry within 5-20 minutes, but can take longer if you use a lot of paint in any section. The more paint you use, the longer it will take to dry.
- Clean your brushes
After each sitting, clean your brushes with mild soap and water. Put some soap in the palm of your hand and rub your brush in the soap/water mixture. Rinse with water and let them dry on a paper towel or cloth.