Learn How to Paint
By Marion Boddy-Evans, About.com Guide
- What Paint to Use
- Buying Art Supplies
- Essential Painting Know-How
- Paint Brushes: Using & Cleaning
- Your First Painting
- Painting Tips
- Painting Problem Solver
- Painting from Photos
- Acrylic Painting Techniques
- Oil Painting Techniques
- Watercolor Painting Techniques
- Pastel Painting Techniques
- Other Types of Painting
- Beating Creative Block
- Varnishing & Framing
- Exhibiting & Selling Paintings
What Paint to Use
Having decided you'd like to learn to paint, you need to decide what paint you're going to use. The four main choices are: oils, acrylics, watercolors, and pastel. It's a very personal choice, and if you don't get on with one type of paint, be sure to try another.
- Pros and Cons of Different Types of Paint
- Choosing Between Student's and Artist's Quality Paint
- Quiz: The Best Paint for You?
- Quiz: Should You Use Oils or Acrylics?
- Do You Have to Learn How to Draw First?
Buying Art Supplies
I believe in buying the best quality paint you can afford that still lets you feel you can play or experiment with it. You need to feel able to paint over something that's not working, or scrape it off, rather than desperately trying to keep it because of the cost of the paint you've used. Here you'll find my suggestions for suitable art supplies to start painting.
- Acrylic Painting Supplies
- Oil Painting Supplies
- Watercolor Painting Supplies
- Pastel Painting Essentials
- Best Painting Easels
- Canvas for Paintings
- Best Painting Sketchbooks
- What the Label on a Tube of Paint Tells You
- Assessing a New Brand of Acrylic or Oil Paint
- Safety Tips for Using Art Materials
- Photo Gallery: Inside Artists' Studios
- Recommended Books on Painting
- Interesting Painting DVDs
Essential Painting Know-How
There is certain basic knowledge and fundamental painting techniques that apply regardless of what type of paint you're using.
- What You Need to Know About Color Theory for Painting
- Color Mixing Quiz
- Why Tone is Even More Important than Color
- Blending Colors
- How to Paint Glazes
- Scumbling Painting Technique
- Painting Basic Shapes: A Sphere
- Painting on a Big Canvas
- Sketching for Painting
- Art Worksheets
- Painting Terminology Explained
Paint Brushes: Using & Cleaning
Paint brushes come in all shapes and sizes, with different types of hairs from soft to stiff. They're an essential and important tool, used not only for getting the paint onto the canvas or paper but also for making expressive marks in the paint.
- Introduction to Art Paint Brushes
- How to Hold a Paint Brush Correctly
- How to Load a Brush with Paint
- Cleaning Paint Brushes
Your First Painting
Once you've got your paints and brushes, you're ready to start painting. But what exactly is it that you're going to be doing. Find out how to approach your first-ever painting.
- Six Things To Decide Before Starting to Paint
- Approaches to Covering a Canvas
- How to Paint a Background
- 5 Ways to Ruin a Painting
- 7 Steps to a Successful Painting
- How Long Should It Take to Finish a Painting?
- Monthly Painting Projects
- Where to Find Painting Ideas
- Tips on Painting from Reference Photographs
- Developing an Idea for an Abstract
Learn from the experiences of other artists through these painting tips. Some will save you time, some will save you paint. All will save you learning the hard way.
- Top 100 Painting Tips
- Color Mixing Tips
- 10 Tips for Loosening Up
- Tips for Landscape Painting
- Oil Painting Tips
Painting Problem Solver
Find answers to numerous painting problems and questions on all aspects of painting. You'll find solutions for issues associated with a specific type of paint and to things that apply generally when you're learning to paint, such as color mixing.
- Visual Painting Problem Solver
- Answers to Beginner's Questions
- Acrylic Problem Solver
- Oil Painting Problem Solver
- Watercolor Problem Solver
- Pastel Problem Solver
- Color Mixing Problem Solver
- Copyright for Artists FAQ
- Is it Okay to Use House Paint For Art?
Painting from Photos
Photos are an extremely useful tool for a painter. Find out how to make the most of your reference photos, and browse the collections of free artist's reference photos to find inspiration.
- Tips on Painting from Reference Photographs
- How To Take Reference Photographs
- Altering a Reference Photo for a Painting
- Free Reference Photos: Landscapes
- Free Reference Photos: Trees
- Free Reference Photos: Flowers
- Free Reference Photos: Monet's Garden
- Free Reference Photos: Abstract Ideas
- Free Reference Photos: Sunsets & Sunrises
- Free Reference Photos: Clouds
- Free Reference Photos: Sea
- Free Reference Photos: Snow Landscapes
- Free Reference Photos: Butterflies & Bugs
- Free Reference Photos: Barns
- Free Reference Photos: Venice
- Free Reference Photos: Textures and Details
- Free Reference Photos: Lions
- Free Reference Photos: Cheetahs
- Free Reference Photos: Zebras
- Free Reference Photos: Christmas
Acrylic Painting Techniques
Acrylic is a versatile paint that's great when you"re learning to paint (but it's definitely not just for beginners!) as it's easy to use, simple to hide mistakes, and can be painted on almost any surface.
- Getting Started with Acrylics
- Basic Color Palette
- How to Use a Moisture-Retaining Palette
- Painting Without a Palette
- 10 Acrylic Painting Tips for Beginners
- How to Clean Your Acrylic Paint Brushes
- How Thick Should the Paint Be?
- How Much Water / Medium Can You Add?
- How Many Brushes to Use
- Which Brand of Acrylic Paint is Best?
- Mixing Different Brands of Acrylic
- Painting Glazes with Acrylics
- Acrylic Painting Problem Solver
- Quiz: Should You Use Acrylics or Oils?
Oil Painting Techniques
Oil paint is what the Old Masters used and can produce beautiful results. It's a paint choice that requires patience as it dries slowly, but that also means you've lots of time to rework sections.
- 10 Tips for Oil Painters
- The Crucial Fat Over Lean Rule
- Solvents and Resins for Oil Painting
- Drying Oils for Oil Painting
- How to Paint Glazes in Oils
- How To Stretch Your Own Canvas
- How To Varnish an Oil Painting
- How to Prime a Canvas for Oils
- Oil Painting Quiz
- Using Water Soluble Oil Paint
Watercolor Painting Techniques
Many beginners start with watercolor because it's easy to understand how to use it and you just need some paint, a brush, and paper. But easy to use doesn't mean it's quick to master, so allow yourself time to get to grips with the potential of watercolors.
- What You Need to Know About Watercolor Paper
- How To Stretch Watercolor Paper
- How To Remove Errors in a Watercolor
- Watercolor Techniques: Wet-on-Wet & Wet-on-Dry
- Step-by-Step Demo: Painting Glazes with Watercolor
- How to Paint Reflections in Water
- How to Use a Waterbrush
- How To Use Salt to Create Snowflakes in Watercolour
- Wax Resist
- Online Watercolor Mixing Palette
- Video: Techniques for Watercolors
Pastel Painting Techniques
Pastel is a great choice if you like to see immediate results as there"s no waiting for paint to dry. It's a versatile choice that offers a range of techniques and approaches.
- Stuck in an Artistic Rut? Try Pastels
- Basic Techniques for Pastels
- How To Select Suitable Pastel Colors
- Which Brand of Pastels are Best?
- Can You Use Hairspray to Fix Pastel?
- How to Make Your Own Pastels
- Recycling Leftover Bits of Pastel
- Pastel Demo: Step-by-Step Seascape
Other Types of Painting
While oils, acrylics, watercolors, and pastels are the most common choices, they're by no means the only options available to you. Explore some of the other types of painting and paints.
- Digital Art
- Fabric Painting
- Fine Art Prints and Giclee Prints
- Step-by-Step Chinese Painting Demonstration
Beating Creative Block
Every artist has days when they feel uninspired and uncreative, but it's just a bump in the road, it doesn't mean your desire or ability to paint has deserted you. Here's help on getting over a creative block and getting your enthusiasm back.
- 5 Ways to Destroy Your Artistic Creativity
- Myths About Being an Artist
- How to Beat Artist's Block
- Overcoming Fear of a Blank Canvas
- How To Create Time for Painting
- 10 Tips for Loosening Up
- Painting Ideas Machine
- 7 Ways to Improve Your Painting While at Work
- Keeping a Painting Creativity Journal
- How Chocolate Can be Good For Painters
- The Real Reason We Paint
- Murphy's Laws on Art and Painting
- Four Steps in Dealing with Criticism of Your Art
- Right Brain Painting: What's It About?
- Right / Left Brain Quiz for Artists
- Tips on Creativity
- Best Books for Creative Inspiration
Varnishing & Framing
Once you've finished a painting there are still two possible steps left, varnishing it to protect it, and framing it for display. Whether you do these depends on the type of paint you use and what you painted on.
- Why Varnish a Painting?
- How To Varnish an Acrylic or Oil Painting
- Using a Dedicated Varnishing Brush
- What to Expect from a Professional Framer
Exhibiting & Selling Paintings
Making a living from selling your paintings isn't easy, but it can be done. Like any other career, in order to be a successful painter you need to work at it and strive for your goals.
- Choosing Art as a Career
- How to Create a Body of Work & Distinctive Style
- Amateur vs Professional Artist
- Juried Art Show: What to Expect