Acrylics are a relatively new fine-art medium. The quick drying, plastic-polymer based paint may be seen as varying between watercolor and oils. You can use acrylics to copy the look either. Brush strokes painted in acrylic don’t hold their texture as well as oils and acrylics tend to even out as they dry. Acrylics dry with a shiny plastic finish. The versatile paints also clean up easily with water.

1. You have to practice your drawing to develop skills you’ll need to produce a successful acrylic painting. Then, keep a sketch book to draw things you may want to paint later. Select a subject matter and work up a finished compositional drawing for your painting. Prepare a canvas or use heavy 140 to 300 lb. watercolor paper for your painting support. Masonite also works well. Gesso the canvas or Masonite and sand it smoothly.

2. You have to draw your composition onto your canvas or painting support in pencil or use a small pointed brush and thinned out paint. Get a thick sheet of glass or a white enameled butcher’s tray for a palette. Scrape the palette clean of dried paint between working sessions. Squirt the paint from the tubes onto the palette and mix up your colors with a palette knife. You can also combine pure colors together on the paper or canvas, but you have to work fast as acrylics dry very quickly.

3. You must water or thinning mediums to paint using watercolor or glazing techniques. Add water to the tones on the palette until they become fluid. Then, you must keep the container of water, a large one for brush and knife cleaning and a smaller one for lessening paint. Apply the paint in broad washes or puddles of transparent color. You have to build up your colors by overlaying coats of paint one a top another. Let the layers of paint dry before painting over them.

4. Try on with heavy impasto effects. You have to paint with acrylic colors squeezed straight from the tube onto the canvas. Then, swirl and move the paint around for visually riveting textures. Try adding different gel and texturing mediums to the paint for various effects. Slather the paint on with painting knives. Use thick, heavily textured brush strokes. Let some of the underpainted colors show through to band the painting. Add a flow-interesting medium to the paint for increased fluidity. Brush on flat patches of fluid color using soft animal-hair brushes.

5. Lastly, you have to paint quickly with acrylics as they dry very fast. Wash your brushes and knives anytime you’re not suing them. Make use of the strength and purity of the acrylic pigments. You have to use bright, fully saturated colors to illuminate your paintings. Work out a color scheme as you paint. You must try to make all the colors relate to each other for an incorporated overall effect. Oil painting reproductions add the highlights to finish your painting.