Art Tutorial – How to Learn To Paint

Learning to paint with oil or acrylic paints can be a rewarding and enjoyable experience. Below is a beginner’s tutorial to help you get started:

Materials Needed:

  1. Paints:
    • For oils: Start with basic colors like titanium white, cadmium yellow, cadmium red, ultramarine blue, and burnt sienna.
    • For acrylics: Get the same basic colors along with some medium to extend drying time.
  2. Brushes:
    • A variety of brushes, including flat and round brushes in different sizes.
  3. Canvas or Painting Surface:
    • Stretched canvas or canvas board for acrylics or oils.
  4. Palette:
    • A palette for mixing colors.
  5. Palette Knife:
    • For mixing and applying paint.
  6. Palette Cups:
    • For cleaning brushes and holding water or medium.
  7. Easel:
    • To hold your canvas or painting surface.
  8. Rags or Paper Towels:
    • For cleaning brushes and wiping off excess paint.
  9. Medium (for acrylics):
    • Gel or fluid medium to extend drying time or create texture.

Getting Started:

  1. Set Up Your Workspace:
    • Choose a well-lit and ventilated space. Cover your workspace with newspaper or a drop cloth to protect surfaces from paint splatter.
  2. Prepare Your Canvas:
    • If you’re using a canvas, you may want to apply a thin coat of gesso to prime it. This creates a smooth surface for your paint.
  3. Mix Your Colors:
    • Start with the basic colors and experiment with mixing them to create different shades and tones. Use the palette knife for mixing.
  4. Choose Your Subject:
    • Decide what you want to paint. It could be a simple still life, a landscape, or even an abstract piece.
  5. Sketch Your Composition:
    • Use a pencil to lightly sketch your composition on the canvas. Don’t worry about being too detailed; this is just a guide.
  6. Start Painting:
    • Begin with the background and work your way forward. For oils, start with the darkest colors and build up to the lighter ones. For acrylics, you can work in any order.
  7. Experiment with Techniques:
    • Try different brushstrokes, palette knife techniques, and layering to add depth and texture to your painting.
  8. Let It Dry:
    • Allow your painting to dry completely before adding additional layers. Oils can take days to weeks to dry, while acrylics dry faster.
  9. Fine-Tune and Detail:
    • Once the initial layers are dry, add finer details and make any necessary adjustments.
  10. Protect Your Artwork:
  • Once your painting is complete and fully dry, consider applying a varnish to protect and enhance the colors.


  • Don’t be afraid to make mistakes. Every artist learns from trial and error.
  • Take breaks to avoid fatigue and overworking the painting.
  • Practice regularly to improve your skills.

Remember, the most important thing is to enjoy the process and have fun with your painting! As you gain experience, you’ll develop your own style and techniques.

Certainly! Let’s delve a bit deeper into some specific tips and techniques for both oil and acrylic painting:

Oil Painting Tips:

  1. Fat over Lean:
    • Follow the principle of “fat over lean.” This means using paint with more oil content (fat) on top of layers with less oil content (lean) to prevent cracking.
  2. Blending:
    • Take advantage of the slow drying time of oils for blending colors seamlessly. Use a soft brush and blend adjacent colors while they’re still wet.
  3. Glazing:
    • Create depth by applying thin, translucent layers of color (glazes) over dry paint. This technique enhances the luminosity of the colors.
  4. Texture:
    • Experiment with impasto techniques by applying thick layers of paint to create texture. Palette knives are excellent tools for achieving this effect.
  5. Drying Time:
    • Be patient with drying times. Oils can take days or even weeks to dry completely. Avoid overworking the paint while it’s still wet.

Acrylic Painting Tips:

  1. Quick Drying:
    • Acrylics dry faster than oils, so work quickly and keep a spray bottle or palette with airtight lids to prevent the paint from drying prematurely.
  2. Layering:
    • Since acrylics dry quickly, you can layer different colors and details more rapidly. Work from dark to light, similar to oils, but with the advantage of speed.
  3. Mediums:
    • Experiment with different acrylic mediums to alter the texture and drying time. Matte medium, gloss medium, and molding paste are popular choices.
  4. Retarders:
    • If you want to extend the drying time of acrylics, consider using retarders. This allows for more blending and wet-on-wet techniques.
  5. Thinning:
    • Thin acrylics with water for a more watercolor-like effect, or use a glazing medium for translucent layers.

General Tips for Both:

  1. Clean Your Brushes:
    • Keep your brushes clean by wiping them regularly on a rag or paper towel. For a more thorough cleaning, use soap and water for acrylics and solvent for oils.
  2. Composition:
    • Pay attention to the composition of your painting. Consider the rule of thirds, leading lines, and balance to create visually appealing artwork.
  3. Color Harmony:
    • Develop an understanding of color theory. Experiment with complementary, analogous, and monochromatic color schemes to create harmony in your paintings.
  4. Experiment:
    • Don’t be afraid to try new techniques and styles. Art is about self-expression, and experimentation can lead to unique and captivating results.
  5. Learn from Others:
    • Study the works of other artists, attend workshops, and watch tutorials. Learning from different sources can provide valuable insights and inspiration.
  6. Patience and Persistence:
    • Improvement takes time. Be patient with yourself, and don’t get discouraged by initial challenges. Keep practicing, and you’ll see progress over time.

Remember, there are no strict rules in art, so feel free to adapt these tips to suit your personal style and preferences. Enjoy the creative journey!

Absolutely, let’s delve into some more advanced techniques and considerations for oil and acrylic painting:

Advanced Techniques:

  1. Scumbling and Glazing (Both):
    • Scumbling involves applying a thin layer of opaque paint over dry layers to create a hazy or broken color effect. Glazing, on the other hand, uses translucent layers to enhance color depth. Experiment with both techniques to add complexity to your paintings.
  2. Underpainting (Both):
    • Consider starting with an underpainting, a monochromatic or complementary color layer that establishes the basic values and tones of your composition. This can provide a strong foundation for subsequent layers.
  3. Palette Choice (Both):
    • Develop a personalized color palette based on your preferences and style. Having a signature palette can give your work a cohesive and recognizable quality.
  4. Sgraffito (Both):
    • Sgraffito involves scratching through layers of paint to reveal the layers beneath. This technique can add texture and interest to your artwork. Use the back end of a brush or a palette knife for controlled scratching.
  5. Wet-on-Wet Blending (Oils):
    • Take advantage of the extended drying time of oils to blend colors directly on the canvas while they are still wet. This technique is excellent for creating smooth transitions and atmospheric effects.
  6. Dry Brushing (Acrylics):
    • For acrylics, try dry brushing by using a brush with very little paint. This technique adds texture by allowing the canvas texture to show through the paint.
  7. Palette Cleanup (Both):
    • Save and reuse mixed colors by scraping excess paint off your palette onto a separate surface. This can create interesting color variations and save you time remixing.
  8. Experiment with Tools (Both):
    • Beyond brushes, try using unconventional tools for painting, such as sponges, rags, or even your fingers. This can lead to unique textures and effects.


  1. Color Temperature (Both):
    • Understand the concept of color temperature—warm and cool colors. This knowledge can help you create depth and atmosphere in your paintings.
  2. Light and Shadow (Both):
    • Study the way light interacts with different surfaces. Pay attention to shadows and highlights to make your paintings more realistic and three-dimensional.
  3. Focal Point (Both):
    • Establish a focal point in your painting. This area should draw the viewer’s attention and be the most detailed or vibrant part of the composition.
  4. Critique Your Work (Both):
    • Step back and objectively assess your work. Look for areas of improvement and consider seeking feedback from others, whether it’s from fellow artists or art communities online.
  5. Document Your Process (Both):
    • Take progress photos of your work. This not only helps you track your development but can also be valuable for sharing your artistic journey with others.

Remember, the key to mastering painting is consistent practice and a willingness to push your boundaries. Embrace challenges, learn from your experiences, and most importantly, enjoy the creative process. Happy painting!

Certainly! Let’s start from the very beginning. Whether you’re using oil or acrylic paints, the fundamental principles of painting remain largely the same. Here’s a step-by-step guide for beginners:

Step 1: Set Up Your Painting Space

  1. Choose a Well-Lit Area:
    • Ensure you have good natural or artificial lighting. Proper lighting helps you see colors accurately.
  2. Cover Your Workspace:
    • Protect your surfaces with a drop cloth or newspapers to catch any paint splatters.

Step 2: Gather Materials

  1. Paints:
    • Start with a basic set of colors. For oil, consider titanium white, cadmium yellow, cadmium red, ultramarine blue, and burnt sienna. For acrylics, get the same basic colors.
  2. Brushes:
    • Get a variety of brushes – flat, round, and detail brushes in different sizes.
  3. Canvas or Painting Surface:
    • Choose a canvas or canvas board. You can start with a smaller size for practice.
  4. Palette:
    • A palette for mixing colors. A disposable palette or a glass palette that’s easy to clean is a good choice.
  5. Palette Knife:
    • For mixing colors and applying paint with texture.
  6. Palette Cups:
    • For cleaning brushes and holding water or medium (for acrylics).
  7. Easel:
    • Use an easel to hold your canvas at a comfortable working height.

Step 3: Understand Basic Color Theory

  1. Primary Colors:
    • Learn about the primary colors (red, blue, yellow) and how they can be mixed to create secondary colors.
  2. Color Wheel:
    • Familiarize yourself with the color wheel. This tool helps you understand color relationships.

Step 4: Practice Basic Techniques

  1. Brush Handling:
    • Experiment with brush strokes. Practice making thin lines, broad strokes, and stippling (dotting).
  2. Blending:
    • Learn to blend colors by mixing them on your palette or directly on the canvas. This is crucial for creating smooth transitions.
  3. Layering:
    • Understand how to layer paints to build depth in your paintings.

Step 5: Basic Painting Exercise

  1. Choose a Simple Subject:
    • Start with a simple subject like a piece of fruit or a simple landscape.
  2. Sketch the Composition:
    • Lightly sketch the basic shapes and outlines of your subject on the canvas using a pencil.
  3. Block In Colors:
    • Begin painting by blocking in the main colors. Don’t worry about details at this stage.
  4. Add Details:
    • Once the initial layers are dry, add details. Focus on shadows, highlights, and refining shapes.
  5. Experiment with Techniques:
    • Try different techniques such as dry brushing, scumbling, or glazing.

Step 6: Learn from Mistakes

  1. Don’t Fear Mistakes:
    • Mistakes are part of the learning process. Embrace them and use them as opportunities to improve.
  2. Analyze Your Work:
    • Regularly step back and evaluate your painting. Identify areas for improvement and consider how to address them.

Step 7: Continue Learning and Experimenting

  1. Watch Tutorials:
    • Explore online tutorials and watch experienced artists paint. This can provide valuable insights and tips.
  2. Join Art Communities:
    • Connect with other artists, share your work, and seek feedback in online art communities or local art groups.
  3. Experiment with Styles:
    • As you gain confidence, try different styles and subjects. This will help you discover your preferences and develop your unique artistic voice.

Remember, painting is a journey, and each stroke contributes to your growth as an artist. Enjoy the process, be patient with yourself, and celebrate your progress along the way!