Art History Lab

Unlocking the Beauty of Acrylic Painting for Beginners

Acrylic paints are a popular medium used by both professional artists and beginners because of their versatility, fast-drying time, and ease of use. They are great for use on many surfaces and can be water-soluble, making them easy to clean up.

In this article, we will discuss the benefits of acrylic paints for beginners and different types of acrylic paints available in the market.

Benefits of Acrylic Paints for Beginners

Fast Drying Time

One of the significant benefits of acrylic paints is their fast-drying time. Unlike oils, watercolor, or tempera paints, acrylic paints can dry within minutes or hours, depending on the thickness of the layers applied.

This feature is incredibly beneficial for beginners who are still learning to paint because it allows them to make quick corrections or adjustments without having to wait for an extended period for the paint to dry. Additionally, the fast-drying time means that you can finish a painting within a day or two, making acrylic paints ideal for those who have limited time to paint.

Performance Versatility

Another significant advantage of acrylic paints is their versatility in performance. They are water-soluble and can be used in various techniques, such as watercolor-like washes and traditional brush and canvas painting, making them suitable for a wide range of applications.

Moreover, acrylic paints’ water solubility means you can easily use them for a variety of effects. Applying water to the paint can thin it out, making it more transparent and suitable for glazing, or you can add various mediums to thicken the paint to create impasto paintings.

Acrylic paints also adhere to a broad range of surfaces, including wood, glass, metal, and plastic, making them an excellent choice for mixed-media projects.

Water Solubility

The water solubility of acrylic paints also makes them easy to clean up with just soap and water. This feature is especially beneficial for beginners who may have accidental smudges or paint drips on surfaces other than the canvas.

Moreover, you can easily clean your brushes with water, making it more convenient and less messy than other types of paints that require specific solvents for cleaning.

Great for use on Many Surfaces

Another reason why acrylic paints are an excellent choice for beginners is their suitability for use on many surfaces. This feature provides beginners with a wide range of options when it comes to finding the perfect surface to paint on.

Acrylic paints can be easily applied to surfaces such as paper, canvas, fabric, wood, ceramic, and plastic. This means that beginners can explore different mediums and create pieces with more variety.

Different Types of Acrylic Paints Available

Craft Paints

Craft paints are a more affordable type of acrylic paint widely available in craft stores. They are suitable for use on various surfaces, including paper, cardboard, and wood.

Although craft paints contain lower pigment levels than other acrylic paints, they are still an excellent choice for beginners who are still getting accustomed to the acrylic paint medium. They also come in a wide range of colors, making them a convenient choice for those who need to match specific color schemes.

Student Grade Acrylic Paints

Student-grade acrylic paints are a more affordable version of artist-grade acrylic paints, but with similar features. They are specifically designed for beginners and hobbyists and have higher pigment levels than craft paints.

They also provide a broader range of colors, allowing for greater creativity and color mixing. Student-grade acrylic paints are also easier to mix, contain less binder, and have a slightly broader viscosity range than artist-grade acrylic paints.

Artist or Professional-Grade Acrylic Paints

Finally, we have artist-grade or professional-grade acrylic paints. These types of acrylic paints contain the highest pigment levels, giving them a more vibrant color output.

The professional-grade acrylic paints also have a vast range of consistency options, from fluid to heavy-body, which allows artists to create unique textural effects. Moreover, these paints are archival, making them an excellent choice for artists who want long-lasting artwork.


Acrylic paints offer many benefits that make them an excellent choice for beginners and professionals alike. Their fast-drying time, water solubility, performance versatility, and suitability for use on many surfaces make them ideal for artists seeking convenience and versatility.

Understanding the different types of acrylic paints available and their unique features can help beginners choose the right acrylic paint for their artistic needs.Acrylic paints are a popular medium used by artists because of their versatility, fast-drying time, and ease of use. Whether you are a beginner or a professional artist, choosing the right acrylic paint can be daunting.

In this article, we will discuss the process of making your acrylic paints, recommendation as well as affordbale acrylic paint options available for beginners.

How to Make Acrylic Paints Yourself

Process of Making Acrylic Paints

Making your acrylic paint is an affordable and rewarding process that allows you to customize the color, consistency, and texture of your paint. The process of making acrylic paint involves the following steps:

Step 1: Choose Your Pigment

The first step is to choose your pigment.

Pigment powder is the main ingredient that gives the paint its color. It comes in a variety of colors and shades, and you can mix it to create unique color blends.

Step 2: Choose Your Solvent

The next step is to choose your solvent. The solvent is a liquid that dissolves the pigment and forms a solution.

Water is the most common solvent used, but you can also use isopropyl alcohol or mineral spirits. Step 3: Add Binder

The final step is to add a binder to the mixture.

The binder holds the pigment and solvent together, forming the paint. You can use acrylic polymer emulsion as a binder.

Benefits of Making Acrylic Paints

Making your acrylic paint has several advantages, including affordability and customization. When you make your acrylic paint, you can mix different pigment colors to create unique blends.

This process allows you to experiment with the color intensity and the texture of your paint, which can add a personal touch to your artwork. Additionally, making acrylic paint is an affordable option that can save you money in the long run.

Recommendations for Acrylic Paints for Beginners

Best Value Recommendation – LIQUITEX BASICS

LIQUITEX BASICS is a popular choice for beginners because of its affordable price point and high-quality pigment. This student grade acrylic paint comes in a wide range of colors and has excellent lightfastness.

Additionally, it has a smooth consistency suitable for both brush and palette knife work, with a slow drying time, making it perfect for blending and layering techniques. Budget-Friendly Recommendation – WINSOR & NEWTON Galeria Acrylic Paint Set

WINSOR & NEWTON Galeria offers an affordable set of acrylic paints that are ideal for beginners.

The set includes 10 different colors, offering excellent color retention and strong pigment. This acrylic paint also has a buttery consistency that thins well with water, leaving a glossy finish.

The high viscosity of the paint allows for easy blending and mixing without losing its vibrant color.

Premium Choice Recommendation – GOLDEN Fluid Acrylics

GOLDEN Fluid Acrylics is a premium choice for professionals or artists wanting to invest in high-quality fluid paints. These versatile paints have a lower pigment concentration than heavy body acrylics, making them perfect for detailed work.

Goldberg comes in a vast array of colors, including iridescent and metallic tones, giving artists a wide range of shades to pick from to render their desired effect. These paints can be mixed with other acrylic paint mediums or even used as an ink.


In conclusion, selecting the right acrylic paint for your project depends on your individual preference, budget, and application process. LIQUITEX BASICS, WINSOR & NEWTON Galeria, and GOLDEN Fluid Acrylics are all suitable options for beginners and professionals alike.

Moreover, mixing your paint allows you to customize the color and texture of your paint, adding a personal touch to your artwork and saving you money.Acrylic painting is a popular medium for beginners because of its versatility, fast-drying time, and ease of use. However, starting with acrylic painting requires some essentials to set up your workspace.

In this article, we will discuss the items beginners will need to start painting and offer step-by-step guidance to help you achieve a successful acrylic painting process. What do You Need to Begin Painting with Acrylics?


Acrylic paintbrushes come in a variety of shapes and sizes. The best choices for beginners include flat brushes which can form a broad, sweeping stroke, round brushes which allow you to make finer details, and filbert brushes which offer a combination of both flat and round brushes.

Proper care of your brushes is also essential to maintain their quality and longevity. To avoid damaging the bristles, put brushes in water immediately after use and wash them with a gentle soap.

Also, store your brushes in a dry place with the bristles up.


When it comes to painting surfaces, canvases are one of the most popular choices for beginners. Stretched canvas on a wooden frame is a durable and popular option.

You can also choose canvas boards, which are pre-primed and offer a more economical option. As a beginner, you can experiment to find the best type of canvas board that supports your painting style.


A palette is an essential item used to mix your paints. A standard acrylic paint palette has a flat surface, and you can use a damp spray bottle to keep your paint moist while you are painting.

Alternatively, you can also use an artist palette pad made of disposable wax-coated paper. The palette paper is perfect for quick and easy clean-up, and it allows you to keep your colors separate.

Acrylic Painting for Beginners – Step by Step Guide

Setting Up Your Workspace

Set up your acrylic painting workspace with adequate ventilation and natural light. Make sure you have plenty of space to move around and have all your painting supplies accessible.

Use a large container of water for washing brushes and keep a spray bottle nearby. This spray bottle provides a mist of water to keep your paint from drying out too quickly.

Cover your workspace with a plastic or vinyl tablecloth to protect it from paint stains.

Mixing Your Colors

Mixing colors is one of the most enjoyable aspects of acrylic painting. Begin by selecting the colors you want to use.

As you mix, start with a small amount of paint first and add additional amounts as needed. The key is to have fun, experiment, and create unique color blends.

Mix your colors on the palette using a palette knife or brush, and test the color on a scrap piece of paper or canvas to ensure the shade is the right one.

Experimentation and Planning

Before you start your painting, consider creating a reference or a sketch of your idea. Experiment with different paint techniques and color combinations on scrap canvas or paper to find the right composition.

You may also consider using a colorful image or reference photo to guide you in the painting process.

Putting Brush to Canvas

Begin painting by lightly sketching your composition with a pencil onto your canvas. After placing paint onto the palette, you can start painting, working from light to dark paint layers and from big to small brush strokes.

The acrylic paint dries quickly, so you need to blend and make your brushstrokes on the canvas as fast as possible. Use a clean brush to avoid mixing colors and keep wiping your brush between each color switching.

If necessary, use a hairdryer to speed up the paints drying time in between changing colors.

Perfecting the Finishing Touches

Before the paint dries entirely, refine details in your painting, and make adjustments to your composition. After the painting completely dries, apply a layer of varnish to protect your painting and add a glossy or matte finish.

You can also use UV-blocking varnish to prevent fading, especially if you intend to display your artwork in sunlight. Conclusion:

Acrylic painting is a fun and beginner-friendly painting medium for artists of all skill levels.

Starting with acrylic painting requires proper tools and equipment such as a variety of brushes, canvas surfaces, and a palette. Follow the step-by-step guide to improving your technique, experimentation, and color usage that would help you create an impressive acrylic painting.Acrylic painting is a versatile and beginner-friendly medium that offers endless possibilities for artistic expression.

As a beginner, you may have some questions regarding the best paint type, necessary colors, brush care, primer, and the difference between acrylic and oil painting. In this article, we will address these common questions to provide you with a better understanding of acrylic painting.

FAQs – Common Questions about Acrylic Painting for Beginners

Best Paint Type for Beginners

When it comes to the best paint type for beginners, acrylic paints are often recommended. They are easy to use and have a fast drying time, which allows artists to work quickly and make corrections or adjustments as needed.

Acrylic paints are water-based, making them easy to clean up with just soap and water. They are also versatile and adhere well to various surfaces, such as canvas, paper, wood, and more.

Necessary Colors for Acrylic Painting

As a beginner, it’s essential to have a basic set of colors that can be mixed to create a wide range of shades. The primary colors – red, blue, and yellow – are crucial for color mixing.

These colors can be mixed to create secondary colors, such as green (blue + yellow), orange (red + yellow), and purple (red + blue). It’s also helpful to have white and black for tinting and shading, as well as a few additional colors of your choice to expand your palette.

Brush Wetting and Care

Proper brush care is important to maintain the quality and longevity of your brushes. Before using your brushes, wet them with water and then gently remove excess moisture with a paper towel.

Wetting the brushes helps to prevent the paint from drying too quickly and allows for smoother application. After painting, clean your brushes with soap and warm water.

Gently reshape the bristles and let them air dry. Store your brushes with the bristles facing up to prevent damage to the bristles.

Primer for Acrylic Painting

Priming your canvas or painting surface is important for better adhesion and longevity of your acrylic painting. Acrylic gesso is commonly used as a primer for acrylic painting.

It provides a smooth surface with the right level of absorbency to allow the paint to adhere well. Apply a thin layer of gesso to your canvas using a brush or a roller, and let it dry completely before starting your painting.

This process ensures that the paint adheres evenly and enhances its overall durability. Acrylic vs.

Oil Painting

Acrylic painting and oil painting are two popular mediums with distinct characteristics. Acrylic paints have a fast drying time, allowing for quick layering and adjustment of colors.

They are water-based and can be easily cleaned up with soap and water. On the other hand, oil paints have a much longer drying time, giving artists more time to blend and work with the paint.

They also offer a wider range of textures and have a unique luminosity. However, oil paints require specific solvents for cleaning and have a longer drying time.

Both mediums have their advantages and it often comes down to personal preference and the desired effect. Conclusion:

Acrylic painting is a versatile and beginner-friendly medium that offers endless possibilities for artistic expression.

As a beginner, it’s essential to choose the right paint type, have a basic set of colors, properly care for brushes, prime your canvas, and understand the differences between acrylic and oil painting. By addressing these common questions, we hope to provide you with the knowledge and confidence to explore and create beautiful acrylic paintings.

Acrylic painting is a versatile and beginner-friendly medium that offers numerous benefits, such as ease of use, fast drying time, and water solubility. Understanding the necessary tools, such as brushes and canvases, is crucial for beginners.

Exploring color mixing and experimenting with different techniques will enhance artistic expression. In addition, addressing common questions about primer, brush care, and the differences between acrylic and oil painting provides valuable insights.

By diving into acrylic painting, beginners can unleash their creativity, learn new skills, and create beautiful works of art. The world of acrylic painting awaits, ready to be explored and enjoyed.

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