Basic Beginners Guide to Acrylics

So you've always wanted to paint but felt a little timid at that blank canvas? Here's some tips to help. Anyone can create a canvass with paint on it but making it what you want it to be is another matter. Do you want to do a real scene or just an abstract idea; perhaps something whimsical that only exists in your mind's eye? First decide what it is you want to paint.

Tip 1.) Sketching it out.

 In general, the more detailed you draw on your canvas the more details will come out in your painting. Take your time in drawing everything out. Make sure things are in their proper proportions. If drawing from a photo, make a mental note of where the points of interest are that are in the picture.

Tip 2.) Block in colors.

 Pick the darkest color of your subject (rock, tree bark, water, cement). Layers will be added later. (And, yes, paint over all that drawing.) 

Tip 3.) Start from the furthest out part of your painting.

 In a sunset scene start with the horizon. Your paint may overlap the block colors you've put on but that's okay. Painting is about layering and in order for your painting to look at all realistic it will need depth. 

Tip 3.) DIP that brush tip!

 If you're like me you are thinking about how much all that beautiful creamy paint cost you and try to only use what you need. But as sad as it sounds, some paint will be lost. To make a good-looking smooth texture you will need to DIP that brush. 

Tip 4.) In most cases, you ONLY need three colors (plus white).

YES, you can make a painting with just three or four paints! Cadmium Yellow Medium, Titanium White, Phthalocyanine Blue, and Naphthol Crimson can be mixed for practically any desired color. The only colors you may need to buy specific tubes of is if you need lazer green, hot pink or the like. 

Tip 5.) Hardly (if ever) use black straight from the tube.

 Black is used to deaden color. NOT to deepen it. Sometimes on canvas even straight black does't seem.... "black" enough. Try using Phthalocyanine Blue and Naphthol Crimson instead to make a more convincing "black".  (Bonus: Add the yellow to that for brown and white to that for a nice gray)

Tip 6.) Not too much white.

 though adding white to your colors seems like the logical choice to make colors brighter it actualy dulls them in the proscess. Try using the yellow instead to enhance and brighten your colors.