25-04-2019   |   by Dehradun College of Art   |   Workshop

Basic Tips to Remember for Painting with Acrylic

We must let go of the life we have planned, so as to accept the one that is waiting for us.

If you want to try playing with colours then acrylics are the way to go, they are cheaper than oil paints and also the easiest to master than other liquid mediums, but it still won’t be a cakewalk, you will need to practice with many different techniques and styles to find what works for you, along with some precautions to protect your supplies and get the best out of your paintings.


To paint you need brushes, and you’ll need a variety of them for different tasks like detailed work or blending colours, for acrylics, it’s best if you stick to synthetic bristles because they’ll last longer compared to natural hair brushes and they’re also cheaper. And always clean your brushes with soap water when you’re done using them otherwise the paint will dry and ruin your brush.


There are many types and brands of paints with different names for the same colour, and they also have a different consistency and texture, experiment to see what works best for you, and avoid adding too much water to the paint it can break the emulsion. You can try mixing your own colours to get some interesting hues which sometimes come off better than store brought one-dimensional colours.

Mixing Colour

You won’t always have the colour you need, and at times like this colour mixing skills come in real handy, you just need to check out the colour wheel to see what proportions of colour you need to combine, use dark colours sparingly because they are too overpowering. And the best part about mixing your colours is that you can get many hues of one colour and sometimes they even come together better than the store brought colours.


Acrylics dry very easily, and the dried paint will be useless, you can add some water to make it usable if it has thickened but after solidifying they are useless, so it’s better to be cautious while using them. And you can use water mister/sprayers to keep the acrylic moist in your palette, this can also dilute your paint so use cautiously, there are also moisture retaining palettes to keep the paint from drying and you can mix gesso or other retarder mediums to your paint to extend their life.


Gesso is a white paint mixture which is used as a base on canvas for acrylic or oil painting. If you’re stretching your own canvas for painting, then you need to apply gesso to the canvas to make it smooth and easier to work with, usually the store brought canvas frames will be primed with gesso so there is generally no need for it, but if  you still feel it isn’t enough for then you can give it another coat to reassure yourself, as I stated in the last point you can also use it to keep your paints wet, just remember that gesso dries with a yellowish tint, so remember that while adding gesso to your paint.

After the paint dries

Applying the paint is only half the challenge, what happens after is the real test of our skills. Your painting will go through quite a bit of microscopic changes while drying like the colour will darken and the whites will dry with a yellowish shade, or a bluish shade if painted over darker colours. You can use professional quality paints to lessen that, so the best option is to build the colours in thin layers to reduce the darkening and making the colour richer or add a bit of white to lighten the colours. And for fixing the whites you can add thinner layers or blue to counter the yellowing and orange/yellow to counter the bluing of the colours.

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