Never picked up a paintbrush in your life? Was middle school art class the last time you painted something? That’s okay!
With the right painting tips, even beginners can look like professionals.
Okay, you’re not going to look like a professional anytime soon – but you can at least pretend to be a professional in front of your friends, and that’s really what matters.
Whether you’re a beginner or you’ve attended a few painting classes, here are 10 painting tips to help you get started.
1) Start with acrylic paints
There’s no rule for which medium you need to start with. However, acrylics are the friendliest paints for beginners.They’re easy to use. They’re also easier to clean up compared to oil paints.
As you become more experienced, you can start using oils and watercolors. Or, if you want to dive right into the deep end of the pool, you can start using oils and watercolors right away – I’m not your boss.
Yes, art snobs may sneer at those who use acrylic paint. Professionals don’t like how quickly acrylics dry. But if you’re a beginner, neither of these things matter to you.
2) Look for student grade paints
If you sign up for one of our painting classes, then we’ll ship everything you need for a class – no shopping required.
If you’re shopping on your own, however,then we recommend looking for student-grade paints. If you’re getting more serious about painting, then craft paint may not be good enough. It doesn’t have enough pigment. Professional-grade paint is, understandably, the best because it’s easier to blend and provides better coverage. However, look for student-grade paints, which offer similar quality to professional-grade paints – but at cheaper prices.
3) It’s easier than you think to create new colors
Remember in elementary school when you blended primary colors together to create new and exciting colors? You can do that as an adult, too! If you have the three primary colors (red, blue, and yellow), then you can mix any color.
Blending to create new colors is fun. It’s what separates your art from your friends’ art. You might be working from the same original piece – but based on how you mix the colors, the finished products can be significantly different.
Anyways, color blending isn’t just for pros. Learning basic color theory lets you create any color you need – and it saves money on paint.
4) Cheaper paint can be frustrating to work with
Some people don’t like painting because they find it frustrating. Many people are surprised to discover this frustration was caused by the paint – not the activity.
Yes, cheap paint can be frustrating to work with. Cheap paint contains little pigment and more filler ingredients. That means you might think you’re painting a red apple – only to discover it’s an ugly shade of orange-ish brown.
We send high-quality paint when you sign up for a class, which means less frustration – and more fun painting.
5) Consider adding white to cheaper paints
We’re not judging you for using cheaper paints – we get it, you’re a beginner and you just want paint that gets the job done.
If you are using cheaper paints,then here’s a trick: add a small amount of white to increase the opacity.Because they have less pigment, cheaper paints are more transparent. Adding white will lighten the color, making it easier to choose an appropriate color for the subject.
6) Avoid muddy hues by mixing two or three colors
Up above, we talked about how fun it is to mix multiple colors together. It’s true! Unfortunately, beginner painters also make the same mistake repeatedly: they mix too many colors together and create mud.
To avoid muddy hues, mix just two to three colors together. Avoid over-mixing your pigments. Once you have created the color you like, stop mixing.
7) Keep your subject on your left-hand side (if you’re right-handed)
Whatever your subject is, keep it on the opposite side of your painting hand. Many beginners set up their easel, set out their paints, and get ready to start – only to realize their arm is blocking the view.
Keep your subject on your left-hand side(if you’re right-handed) or on your right-hand side (if you’re left-handed).
8) Avoid using too much water
If you’re using acrylic paint, then adding too much water could affect how the painting dries. Acrylic paint has binders.When you add too much water, it affects how the painting dries. This is a particular issue for cheaper acrylic paints.
As a beginner, it’s hard to know the right amount of water to use. With more experience, it gets easier to mix the perfect amount.
9) Get a bigger water jar
Many beginners get a water jar that’s way too small – like a tiny cup or mug.
Instead, use something like a mason jar.Fill it with water. With a mason jar, the color of the water won’t affect the paint.
10) Acknowledge there’s a learning curve
Some of the world’s greatest painters spent decades of their lives painting – only to create one or two renowned pieces of art.
Don’t be hard on yourself if your first few paintings are bad. Beginner painters can be easily frustrated. Yes, your painting could look like something created by a six-year old. That’s okay!
If you’re having fun, then that’s the most important thing – and I guarantee you’ll get better (or at least learn something new) every time you paint.
Bonus Tip: Attend an online painting class
Want to try something new? Looking to flex your creative muscle in front of your friends? Just want to drink and have a good time? An online painting class could be perfect.
Online painting classes walk beginners through the painting process in a stress-free environment. You’re in your own home – what could go wrong? Plus, since we ship all materials to your door, you don’t have to wander into unfamiliar craft stores.