8 Important Acrylic Painting Tips for Beginners

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When teaching paint and sip classes, I always like to mention some of the best tips I’ve learned over the years. These tips are great for beginners who are just getting into acrylic painting.

I wasn’t lucky enough to have anyone who could share these acrylic painting tips with me. I had to learn everything on my own, through books and online tutorials.

For that reason, I make sure that I always offer up as many tips as possible during paint and sip classes. I also leave each guest with my contact information so they can reach out to me when they have questions about painting.

Today I thought it would be a good idea to discuss some of the tips you don’t always find in online articles. 

Instead of talking about brushes, canvases, acrylic paints, etc., we’re going to take a look at things like not limiting yourself, the best painting environment, what to do with mistakes, and more. 

Let’s get started.

#1. Don’t Limit Yourself

One of the first things I tell sip and paint students is not to limit themselves to only going by tutorials and other instructions. I tell them to do just the opposite in the beginning.

Let’s say you want to paint a scene that has some trees and a barn. Don’t look for a tutorial. Try doing it yourself from your imagination first.

Your painting doesn’t need to be perfect. What this will do is give you a bit of artistic freedom. You may even find that you have more skills than you initially thought.

Have fun experimenting with different brush strokes, different types of pictures, etc. Once you have a feel for the paints and the brushes, then you can start watching tutorials.

It may even be that you come up with your painting style, and that’s okay. Remember, art is subjective. It’s all about what you like, and not what others might like.

There is no right or wrong, no matter what anyone tries to tell you. Just go with the flow and have fun.

#2. Find a Reference Source

Many beginners find that they don’t know what to paint, and they have difficulties getting started. I suggest going online and looking at painting ideas for beginners, photos of things that you would like to paint, etc.

Once you have a reference source, then you can start planning your painting. Always keep that reference in front of you while you are painting so you have something to go by every step of the way.

#3. Always Use an Easel

It is all too easy to get into the habit of painting with your canvas flat on a table, or even on your lap. I don’t advise doing this.

It is better to use an easel for all of your paintings, especially if your canvas is a large one. Also, laying the canvas flat on a table could skew the proportions, and your painting won’t look the same as your reference.

#4. Don’t Throw Away Your Mistakes

When you are learning how to paint with acrylics, you are bound to make mistakes. We all do, and that is okay.

If you do make mistakes, it isn’t the end of the world or your canvas. You can always paint over the canvas with a couple of coats of gesso and start all over again.

I always like to say there is no such thing as a mistake when it comes to painting. I like to consider “mistakes” as learning experiences.

Another suggestion I have for beginners is to walk away if your painting isn’t coming along as you planned. Take a break for a few hours or even a few days, and then come back to the painting later. You will often find that it is a lot better than you originally believed, and then you can get back into it.

Check my guide on how to fix acrylic paint mistakes for more tips.

#5. Take Notes

I like to take a lot of notes throughout the painting process, and not just about the painting itself. For instance, if I find a brand of paint I like, I make note of it so I know what to buy the next time I’m shopping for paint.

Write down which colors you used. Make notes about the size of the canvas, and where you bought it. Make notes about the brushes you are using, any mistakes you made, etc.

These notes are going to help you with other projects later on.

#6. You Won’t Always be Inspired

There are going to be times when you just don’t have any inspiration for your paintings, and you don’t feel all that creative. This happens to every artist, and this lack of inspiration isn’t just something that happens to beginners.

I don’t advise pushing yourself, because you likely will not be happy with the final product. Again, walk away from the painting and come back to it when you feel more inspired.

#7. Choose the Best Painting Environment

You may feel comfortable painting in your living room, but this may not be the best environment. Many people don’t realize that humidity and temperature play a huge role in the drying process.

For instance, if the humidity is more than 50% and the temperature is below 65F, it is going to take longer for acrylic paints to dry. If the air is dry and hot, the paint may dry too quickly and end up cracking.

Ideally, you should be painting in a room that is between 65 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit, and 50% humidity. The room should also be well-ventilated. I suggest painting with a window open.

#8. Relax and Have Fun

Learning how to paint at a painting class is not just about acquiring technical skills such as acrylic painting techniques on canvas, it’s also about embracing the joy of creativity and self-expression. 

One of the most important aspects of this process is to relax and have fun. When you let go of expectations and allow yourself to enjoy the experience, you open up new possibilities and unleash your inner artist.

Relaxation is key to unlocking your artistic potential. When you approach painting with a calm and open mind, you create space for inspiration and experimentation. 

By releasing stress and tension, you free yourself from judgment and perfectionism, allowing your creativity to flow naturally. Remember, the goal is not to create a flawless masterpiece but to explore and express yourself. 

So, let go of any self-doubt, immerse yourself in the process, and enjoy the journey of discovering your unique artistic voice. So, take a deep breath, grab your paintbrush, and let the colors guide you on a joyful and transformative artistic adventure.

There are many easy acrylic painting ideas you can try, so don’t be intimidated by the process.


These are just a few of the things that I have had to learn on my own throughout the years. Online tutorials will give you more painting tips, but they don’t always talk about other important things that all beginners need to know.

If you have any questions about the painting process, find a local artist or a paint and sip instructor to give you more guidance. Don’t just ask the most common painting questions.

Ask about anything and everything. The more you know, the better your art will be in the long run.

Don’t forget to check my guide on DIY acrylic paint for more fun things to do.

*image by Krakenimages/depositphotos