How to Start Acrylic Painting: A Beginner's Guide

22 November 2023

Embarking on the world of acrylic painting can be daunting, especially for beginners who are unsure about materials and techniques. Fear not! This guide is curated to provide valuable information and video tutorials to kickstart your acrylic painting journey.

First Step: Selecting Your Materials

1. Acrylic Paints:

Acquiring the right acrylic paints is pivotal. Opt for a limited palette of 5 essential colors - blue, yellow, red, black, and white. This intentional choice empowers beginners to focus on mastering color mixing, a fundamental skill. While I occasionally use black for mixing browns, I recommend exploring the richness of raw umber, burnt umber, and burnt sienna.My go-to brands for beginners include Liquitex Basics, Reeves, and Pebeo Studio acrylics. The opaque colors in these brands provide better pigment quality, ensuring a vibrant and durable finish. If you're ready to invest, find these acrylic paints conveniently on our Amazon store.

2. Artist Brushes:

The world of brushes is vast, and as a beginner, it's essential to explore various types. From versatile nylon flats to specialized liner brushes, the options are endless. During my artistic journey, I've discovered quality brushes at reasonable prices, particularly favoring affordable yet reliable options for everyday use and splurging a bit on liners for precision.Explore and find brushes that suit your style on our Amazon store.

3. Canvas:

Canvas is the foundation of your artwork. In my early days, when formal canvases were out of reach, I improvised using flour sacks to create my canvas stretcher. For those on a tight budget, consider alternatives such as canvas pads, thick cardboard, or plywood. You can find budget-friendly canvas options on our Amazon store.

DIY | How to Make Your Own Canvas | by JM Lisondra

4. Other Materials:

  • Easel: While not a strict necessity, investing in an easel provides a more comfortable painting position, making it a worthy consideration for beginners.
  • Palette: A paper plate can serve as a makeshift palette, but investing in a proper artist palette enhances color mixing precision.
  • Water and Rag: Acrylics dry fast, necessitating constant cleaning of brushes. Keep water and a dry rag nearby for efficient cleaning.

For a more extensive collection of materials, feel free to explore our dedicated Amazon page.

Second Step: Acrylic Painting Basics

1. Basic Color Mixing:

Delve into the art of color mixing by combining primary colors with neutrals. In this tutorial, I guide you through creating a harmonious palette using blue, yellow, red, black, and white. Refer to the specific color names for accuracy, ensuring your color palette is as vibrant as your imagination.

Basic Color Mixing in Acrylic Using 5 Limited Colors by JM Lisondra

2. How to Blend Acrylics:

Mastering blending techniques can be challenging due to acrylics' fast-drying nature. Watch the tutorial to grasp essential techniques, including wet-on-wet, wet-on-dry, and glazing, adding depth and dimension to your paintings.

3 Ways to Blend Acrylic Paints Tutorial for beginners by JM Lisondra

3. Painting Lights and Shadows:

Understanding the interplay of light and shadow is critical for creating realistic artwork. This tutorial breaks down the process, making it easier for beginners to add a touch of realism to their paintings.

How to Paint Lights and Shadows Using Acrylic by JM Lisondra

4. Color Mixing to Match the Reference:

Elevate your skills by learning to match colors with a reference photo. This tutorial guides you through replicating colors accurately using the 5 limited colors, providing a valuable skill for recreating scenes and images.

Color Mixing to Match the Reference Using Acrylic by JM Lisondra


Congratulations! Armed with essential materials and newfound techniques, you're now equipped to embark on your first basic acrylic painting. Dive into Level 1 and Level 2 tutorials on our website, and don't hesitate to drop your questions or suggestions in the comments. Happy painting!

Happy painting!

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