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Painting for Beginners and Essential Art Know-How

Learn how to paint, to improve your skills or refresh your knowledge on essential techniques. The links immediately below (with the folder icons) lead to all the articles on those subjects. The links below these take you directly to specific articles. If you can't find something, there's a search box at the top right of every page.
  1. Color Mixing
  2. Acrylics Painting
  3. Oil Painting
  4. Watercolor Painting
  5. Pastel Painting
  6. Artist's Reference Photos
  7. Art Composition & Perspective (18)
  8. Art Glossary A to Z (341)
  9. Brush Techniques (9)
  10. Knife Painting Techniques (11)
  11. Painting Problem Solver (43)
  12. Mixed Media Painting (9)
  13. Fine Art Printmaking (24)
  14. Painting Tips (212)
  15. Chinese / Japanese Brush (5)
  16. Digital Art (15)
  17. Egg Tempera (7)
  18. Encaustic Painting (5)
  19. Face and Body Painting (33)
  20. Painting Projects (36)
  21. Sketchbooks and Sketching (12)
  22. Step-by-Step Painting Demos (83)
  23. Still Life Painting (9)
  24. Varnishing Paintings (10)
  25. Fabric Painting (32)
  26. Finishing a Painting (4)

How to Decide What Paint to Use
Want to start painting but not sure what paint to use? Here's help on deciding how to choose between the most popular types of paint used.

Painting Techniques: Approaches to Covering the Canvas
A look at the different ways you can create a painting, with a photo showing an example of each.

Six Things To Decide Before Starting to Paint
Ultimately the degree to which you plan out a painting depends on your personality, some people find it essential and others a hindrance. But regardless of how detailed you like to plan (or not), there are several decisions that have to be made before you to start to paint.

Commonly Asked Questions by Absolute Beginners to Painting
No-one is born with a paint brush in their hand, everyone learned from scratch at some stage. This list of commonly asked questions will help you get started on your creative journey as an artist.

Learn to Paint: Your First Ever Painting
What you need to do and know to start painting for the very first time.

5 Ways to Ruin a Painting
Not every painting is going to be a masterpiece, but do these things and it's doomed.

5 Ways to Ruin an Art Paint Brush
If you look after it well, a paint brush can last a long time, but it's very easy to ruin it too. Don't do these things!

How to Hold a Paint Palette
If you hold a paint palette correctly it's far less tiring on your arm and hand.

Fine Art Painting Techniques
Find out what fine art painting technique was used to create the various effects and styles of painting shown in this visual index.

Art Worksheets
A collection of free art worksheets to use to complete various painting tutorials and exercises.

How to Paint in an Expressive or Painterly Style
Discover what it means to paint in an expressive or painterly style, and then learn how to do it yourself.

Secrets to Painting Realism
What many people mean when they say they'd like to learn to paint, is they'd like to learn to paint realism. To create a painting where the subject looks like it does in real life, or "real". It's only when you're up close you see the skillful manipulation of color, tone, and perspective to create the illusion of reality.

Painting Basic Shapes: A Sphere
The sphere is one of the basic shapes that creates the illusion of reality in a painting. Find out how to paint a sphere, not just a flat circle.

Painting a Background for a Portrait
See how to paint a great background for a portrait in this sequence of photos.

Painting on Colored Grounds
A look at painting on colored grounds rather than white, why you might do this and what the options are for ground colors.

Painting Accurate Ellipses on Objects
It's essential to have accurate ellipses on any cylindrical objects in a painting for them to appear real. Here are some tips on how to achieve accurate ellipses.

7 Steps to a Successful Painting
An explanation of the seven steps to a successful painting, by Canadian artist Brian Simons. Though this method of painting may seem quite simple and unsophisticated, it works.

How to Read the Label on a Tube of Paint
Find out what the 'small print' on a paint tube label means.

Negative Space in a Painting
A tutorial on what negative space in a painting is, how and why to use it, and why it's so useful.

Are You Holding Your Paint Brush Correctly?
When you pick up an artist's paint brush for the first time, chances are you'll hold it in your hand in the same way you would a pencil or pen, with your fingers close to the ferrule. If you never hold a brush in any other way, you'll be limiting the range of marks you create with a brush.

How to Paint Glazes
This hub of all my articles on glazing will help you on your way to using glazes successfully in your paintings.

How to Paint Shadows
This hub of all my articles on painting shadows articles will help you on your way to realistic and convincing shadows.

Myths About Being an Artist
There are a lot of myths about what it takes to be an artist, starting with the one about talent.

Painting by Numbers
A look at what Painting by Numbers involves, and why I think it's a helpful technique for beginners.

How to Create a Body of Work
If you want to get into an art gallery, you'll need a body of work showing you have a style and enough paintings.

Painting on Hardboard
What are the advantages of painting on hardboard and how do you prepare it?

Negative Space: What It Is and How to Use It in a Painting
Negative space isn't the place your mind retreats to when a painting isn't going well. Negative space is the space between objects or parts of an object, or around it. Studying this can have a surprisingly positive effect on a painting.

Painting Glass
What color is glass, and how do you paint it? There's no simple answer as glass is influenced by what's around it. You need to observe very carefully.

Painting on a Big Canvas
If you dream of painting on a big canvas but feel intimidated, here are some tips to help you turn a vast expanse of a big, white canvas into a painting.

22 Mistakes to Avoid When Painting
Tips on how to avoid mistakes commonly made in paintings, from the Canadan artist Brian Simons, who works in acrylics.

Canvas Keys: What Are They For?
Why you get those little bits of wood or plastic with a canvas.

Which Painting Subjects Sell Best?
If you want to sell lots of paintings, what subjects should you be painting? Here's the result of a survey.

How to Develop a Personal Painting Style
Tips from artists on how you too can develop a personal, identifiable painting style.

Painting Shadows: Cast Shadows and Form Shadows
Not all shadows are equal. There are in fact two very different kinds of shadows that occur in any subject -- cast shadows and form shadows. Identifying these and approaching them differently, rather than just painting a generic ‘shadow’, will enhance any painting.

Photorealism: What's the Point?
What's the point of painting in a photorealistic style? Why not just take a photograph?

Doing the Initial Pencil Sketch for a Painting
Find out how much detail should you put into your initial pencil sketch for a painting on canvas.

Safety Tips for Using Art Materials
Most of the safety issues with art materials ought to be common sense, but here are some safety tips to keep in mind when painting.

13 Summer Activities for Everyone
This list of summer activities will help you find a way to pass the time this summer. Whether you want to start a new hobby or delve deeper into the pastime you already love, this guide to summer activities will help you get there.

Clutter Control in a Still Life Painting
Tips on setting up a clean cut still life to work from. How to control the clutter surrounding the object.

Reflection Control in a Still Life Painting
Thought processes when looking at reflections in a potential still life. How to control the reflections in the object.

Painting Techniques: Scumbling
Find out what scumbling in a painting is, and how to do this art technique yourself.

5 Stages in Making a Painting
Understand the stages or steps in every painting's creation.

How to Make a Painting Look More Realistic
Don't despair if you can't get your paintings to look realistic enough, here are some tips on how to achieve greater realism.

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