acrylic painting

Discover More in Acrylics

Explore thousands of classes in modern acrylics, basic painting, landscapes, and more.

Acrylic paints are many established artists’ favorite medium. But they’re also ideal for beginner painters, because they’re easy to use and clean, fast drying, versatile, and affordable. 

And because of their popularity, there’s a lot of information out there on acrylics. Where to start? We’ve identified 15 of the best step by step acrylic painting tutorials to help you develop your skills.

15 Acrylic Painting Tutorials

1. Acrylic Painting for Beginners: The Complete Guide to Your First Acrylic Painting

Student work by Mounika G. for   Acrylic Painting for Beginners: The Complete Guide to Your First Acrylic Painting  .
Student work by Mounika G. for Acrylic Painting for Beginners: The Complete Guide to Your First Acrylic Painting.

To learn acrylic painting step by step, it’s a good idea to start with the basics. Before delving into specific techniques or subjects, get a broad overview of the medium. In this beginner course, Skillshare instructor Malcolm Dewey covers the benefits of acrylics over other paints, the materials needed for step by step acrylic painting on canvas, mixing techniques, brushwork tips, and more.

2. Acrylic Painting Essentials for Beginners With Easy Step-by-Step Project

Student work by Kristin Cummings for   Acrylic Painting Essentials for Beginners with Easy Step-by-Step Project .
Student work by Kristin Cummings for Acrylic Painting Essentials for Beginners with Easy Step-by-Step Project.

In another fun introductory class, painter Robert Joyner includes a few easy demonstration projects designed specifically for beginners. His aim is to help you develop a solid foundation in acrylics—and to point out common beginners’ mistakes—so you fully understand the medium and can experiment independently.

3. Acrylic Painting for Beginners—Making a Lasting Sketchbook of Colour Recipes and Techniques

Student work by Rachel Ream for   Acrylic Painting for Beginners - Making a Lasting Sketchbook of Colour Recipes and Techniques  .
Student work by Rachel Ream for Acrylic Painting for Beginners – Making a Lasting Sketchbook of Colour Recipes and Techniques.

An essential part of working with acrylics is knowing how to mix colors effectively. Doing so will help your paintings shine and also save you money as you won’t need to go out and buy every color under the sun to create beautiful paintings. Gabrielle Buckingham teaches how to mix paints in a systematic way and walks students through her recommendations for a good beginners’ starting palette, before embarking on step by step acrylic painting on canvas.

4. How to Blend Traditional and Contemporary Color Theories with Acrylics

Still life painting by instructor Robert Joyner of   How to Blend Traditional and Contemporary Color Theories with Acrylics  .
Still life painting by instructor Robert Joyner of How to Blend Traditional and Contemporary Color Theories with Acrylics.

To deepen your knowledge of color mixing, Robert Joyner’s class shows you how to take the best elements of both traditional and contemporary color mixing theory and use them in your acrylic paintings. He believes that color is the painter’s most important tool, so whether you’re a complete beginner or a more experienced painter, learning more about color is always a good idea. 

5. Acrylic Landscapes with a Painting Knife. Beginners Level 1

Painting with a palette knife can add texture to your acrylic paintings.
Painting with a palette knife can add texture to your acrylic paintings.

Acrylic paints don’t have to be applied to a canvas only with a brush. Using a palette knife can add texture. Landscape and abstract artist Gerald Ashcroft shows beginners how to utilize a palette knife and just three colors to create an Impressionist-style acrylic landscape painting step by step.

Learn Step by Step Scenery Painting, Acrylic Style

Acrylic Painting Techniques for Landscape.

6. Acrylic Painting: How to Paint Using a Limited Color Palette

Painting with limited colors can help you use each color to its full potential.
Painting with limited colors can help you use each color to its full potential.

While acrylic paints come in a rainbow of colors, painting with a limited palette is a good exercise in understanding the color mixing principles of acrylics—and it’s budget-friendly, too. LaurieAnne Gonzalez guides students in this step by step acrylic painting tutorial to create an abstract landscape painting using just four colors. Limiting your color palette is far from boring.

7. Easy Acrylic Painting: How to Paint Flowers with Acrylics on Canvas

Student work by Paula Hall for   Easy Acrylic Painting: How to Paint Flowers on Canvas with Acrylics  .
Student work by Paula Hall for Easy Acrylic Painting: How to Paint Flowers on Canvas with Acrylics.

Flowers are an accessible source of inspiration for many artists, and painting them can lift your mood with color. Skillshare instructor Elle Byers describes her class as “super-beginner level,” so it’s ideal for learning to paint flowers if you have no painting experience at all. She guides students through painting flowers in acrylic step by step, starting with the required materials, so you can create a simple and vibrant flower painting.

8. Modern Acrylic Painting: Explore Techniques to Create On-Trend Art

Photo of student work by Christina Keim for   Modern Acrylic Painting: Explore Techniques to Create On-Trend Art  .
Photo of student work by Christina Keim for Modern Acrylic Painting: Explore Techniques to Create On-Trend Art.

Once you’ve mastered some of the basics and have a better understanding of what can be done with acrylic paints, have a go experimenting with different themes and styles. Artist Cat Coquillette says that when it comes to painting with a modern style, acrylics are hard to beat. With her step by step painting instructions, acrylics can be used to experiment with ombre gradients, textured abstract backgrounds, herringbone patterns, metallic galaxies, and more.

9. Acrylic Landscape Painting for Beginners

Photo of instructor Mohini Sinha’s work for   Acrylic Landscape Painting for Beginners .
Photo of instructor Mohini Sinha’s work for Acrylic Landscape Painting for Beginners.

Landscapes and the natural world are a popular subject, and acrylics have the ability to capture the color, shade, and details of landscape scenes. Artist Mohini Sinha is inspired by nature, and in this class she guides beginners through the process of creating an acrylic landscape painting step by step that looks realistic.

10. Let’s Paint Trees – Acrylic Painting for Beginners

Photo of student work by Mariela López Jiménez for   Let’s Paint Trees - Acrylic Painting for Beginners  .
Photo of student work by Mariela López Jiménez for Let’s Paint Trees – Acrylic Painting for Beginners.

Trees are an essential element of many landscape paintings. But, there’s a huge difference between a willow and a pine. To take your landscape paintings to the next level, instruction on painting realistic trees is valuable. Add top tree-painting skills to your painter’s tool kit with Meenakshi Chinniah’s class, which includes using a reference photo to practice the techniques she teaches in this step by step acrylic painting tutorial.

11. Acrylic Painting: How to Paint an Abstract Landscape

Student work by Leah Donaldson for   Acrylic Painting: How to Paint a Landscape  .
Student work by Leah Donaldson for Acrylic Painting: How to Paint a Landscape.

Painting abstract landscapes gives you the freedom to be expressive with color and brushstrokes while sticking to a broad template. In LaurieAnne Gonzalez’s acrylic painting tutorial for beginners, step by step instructions are given creating abstract landscape paintings, using simply composed photos of natural landscapes. 

12. Fluid Acrylic Painting: Abstract Puddle Pour Method for Beginners

A puddle pour acrylic painting by instructor Kaitlin Goodey for   Fluid Acrylic Painting: Abstract Puddle Pour Method for Beginners  .
A puddle pour acrylic painting by instructor Kaitlin Goodey for Fluid Acrylic Painting: Abstract Puddle Pour Method for Beginners.

Getting a bit messy is half the fun of working with paint, and the puddle pour method is a fun way to create unique abstract patterns with acrylics. Artist Kaitlin Goddey loves how intuitive and meditative this method can be, too. In this class, she covers the materials required, testing the paint’s consistency, how to mix and pour the paint, and common mistakes to avoid when working with the puddle pour method of acrylic painting, step by step.

13. Acrylic Painting: Explore a New Composition Using a Reference Photo

Student work by Katie Nelson for   Acrylic Painting: Explore a New Composition Using a Reference Photo  .
Student work by Katie Nelson for Acrylic Painting: Explore a New Composition Using a Reference Photo.

If you like to take pictures of your surroundings, you likely have a wealth of reference photos in your personal collection that you can base your paintings on. LaurieAnne Gonzalez says she records her travels through her acrylic paintings, and she teaches students how to do the same in this class. As well as teaching you how to use the photo as a reference point, she shows how to add an element or two that weren’t in the original photo, to create further detail and interest.

14. Acrylic Painting: How to Create a Mixed Media Painting

A mixed media painting combining acrylic paints and pastels.
A mixed media painting combining acrylic paints and pastels.

Once you’ve experimented with acrylics, you might want to add more depth and texture to your paintings by combining media. LaurieAnne Gonzalez likes to use colored pencil, charcoal, and chalk pastels alongside acrylics, and she shows you how to do the same in this class. Once you’ve followed her steps, you can create artwork with differing amounts of each media, to keep your process fresh. 

15. Acrylic Painting Ideas: Time to Break Some Rules

Student work by Keerthana Karumbaiah for   Acrylic Painting Ideas: Time to Break Some Rules  .
Student work by Keerthana Karumbaiah for Acrylic Painting Ideas: Time to Break Some Rules.

They say you need to know the rules of art in order to break them, so once you’ve completed a few acrylic paintings, it can be fun to break out of the box. In a course suitable for beginners and more experienced painters, Robert Joyner shows how you can get creative, have some fun, and throw the rule book of acrylic painting out the window to create expressive artwork.

Learn Acrylic Painting for Beginners Step by Step!

Acrylic Painting: Learn the Basics for Beginners.