A Beginners Guide To Paint with Acrylics

Ayushi Dixit

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Acrylics are a beautiful medium to paint with. However, working with acrylics can be tricky as well. People can expect to come across a few difficulties while working with them. That is why at first, a lot of people are scared of painting with acrylics. However, if used correctly, it can be a very forgiving and fulfilling medium. Here is a list of pros and cons to help you decide if acrylics are the best choice of medium for you!

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  • Brightness– Colors in acrylic medium look very bright and have excellent saturation.
  • Opacity – Acrylics are opaque, unlike watercolors, which means that if you put a second layer of color over the first layer, the first one won’t be visible.
  • Vibrant- The nature of acrylics is very vibrant. You can mix various interesting shades, giving the finished painting a breath of fresh air!
  • Texture – Acrylics are thicker than watercolor and thinner than oil paints, making it a perfect intermediate medium choice. There are heavy acrylics available as well for sculpture like paintings.
  • Drying time- The quick drying time of acrylics is both a boon and a bane. Unlike oil paintings, you do not need to wait for days and months for one layer to dry or to varnish your artwork and ship it. The best part is that you get a similar rich effect like that of oils!


  • Drying time- Acrylics dry super quickly. There is not much time for thought between mixing a color and putting it on your canvas else the paint will dry up.
  • Blending- Because they dry too quickly, blending can be a harrowing task. You need to work at a fast and steady pace and blend the two colors before they dry up. It is a delicate balance that you can gain only through practice.
  • Mixing colors- Once again, because they dry too quickly, you cannot mix all the colors before starting your painting. You have to mix on the go, which can be very frustrating for some people.


Following certain tips and tricks can help you overcome the above-mentioned cons and make the best use of the pros to create your own masterpiece!

  • Blending- To obtain a smoother transition and blend, use just a tiny bit of water while painting. Work quickly to not let the paints dry. If you add a little white between two layers of transition, the blend will come out smoother.
  • Retarder- If the quick drying time of acrylics is too much of a trouble for you, you can mix a little bit of retarder into your colors which will delay their drying.
  • Surface- Use a sturdy surface for painting with acrylics. Weak quality paper cannot support them. Your paper needs to be 250 GSM or above. You can also choose to work on canvases, wooden panels and clothes.
  • Mistakes- Because acrylics are opaque, you can always paint over your mistakes. How beautiful is that!
  • Practice, practice, and practice- Every medium behaves differently in different people’s hands. Some people take advantage of the cons, while some find the pros to be barriers. Discover your own comfort level with the medium by regular practicing.

Various brands make good quality Acrylic paints- Camel, Fevicryl, Faber Castell, etc. These paints are available in two types- Student grade and Artist Grade. As the name explains itself, if you are a beginner, you can start with student-grade oil paints and move on to Artist grade. Some people like to begin with Artist Grade as well, and there is nothing wrong with it. Artist Grade paints tend to be a little costlier than student grade. But if you can afford them, then definitely go for an artist-grade set.

Lastly, the only supply required for making good art is practice! Fancy art supplies do not necessarily translate into good art. So just enjoy the process and paint your heart out!

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