acrylic painting

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You’re inspired to start painting, and yet, that blank canvas feels so… blank. Or maybe you have acrylic painting ideas floating around in your mind, but you’re not quite sure how to bring your vision to life. 

Either way, this list of easy acrylic painting ideas—plus step by step classes to help you create them—will get you out of your head and started on your next masterpiece. 

What Do I Need for Acrylic Painting?

Set up your workspace with acrylic paints, brushes, a canvas, a palette, and masking tape.
Set up your workspace with acrylic paints, brushes, a canvas, a palette, and masking tape.

Before you dive into your first project, you’ll want to gather your materials. While some of the tutorials below require specialty materials, you can make most easy acrylic paintings with a few basic supplies:

  • Acrylic Paint: Paints typically come in “student quality” and “artist quality.” Many beginners opt for the former, which are less expensive, then invest in the latter once they’ve gotten a feel for the craft. You can either buy a simple set with primary colors, black, and white (which can all be mixed together to create any color you can imagine!) or opt for a set with many colors, which is a quicker way to get started if you’re not familiar with color mixing. Either way, choose smaller sized tubes or jars—a little acrylic paint goes a long way.
  • Paintbrushes: You’ll want several paintbrushes in a variety of shapes—such as flat, round, and pointed round—and sizes. You’ll use larger brushes for backgrounds, medium-sized brushes for shapes and objects, and the smallest brushes for detail work. Beginners often prefer brushes with synthetic bristles, rather than natural, because they hold up well to acrylics and are more budget-friendly.
  • Palette: You’ll need a palette to mix and combine colors. 
  • Canvas: Canvasses can be purchased in all shapes and sizes. If you’re planning on trying out several of the ideas below, consider purchasing a multi-pack. 
  • Masking Tape: If you’d like, you can create a border on your canvas by blocking off the rim of it with masking tape. You’ll also want it for color blocking projects. 
  • A Cup of Water: To rinse your brushes when switching colors.
  • Rag or Paper Towels: To dry your brushes after you wash them.

Many art supply stores also carry acrylic painting sets for beginners, which come with everything above.

25 Acrylic Painting Ideas Great for Beginners

1. Color Block Design

Color blocked paintings are easy to paint—and make great home decor.
Color blocked paintings are easy to paint—and make great home decor.

Using masking tape and just a few colors of acrylic paint, you can create this color blocked masterpiece. Follow along the process in Cat Coquillette’s course.

2. Geometric Galaxy

This galaxy is among the cutest easy acrylic painting ideas for beginners on canvas we’ve seen.
This galaxy is among the cutest easy acrylic painting ideas for beginners on canvas we’ve seen.

Another Cat Coquillette masterpiece, this simple acrylic painting will help you practice blending and detail work.

3. Cheery Donuts

Paint bright, colorful donuts to practice color blocking.
Paint bright, colorful donuts to practice color blocking.

File this under “cool things to paint with acrylics:” a trio of frosted donuts on a swirly retro background. Student Jane Malone created this simple acrylic painting in Skillshare’s Modern Acrylic Painting course.

4. Colorful Pineapple

Paint a fun, tropical pineapple in any shades you choose.
Paint a fun, tropical pineapple in any shades you choose.

This geometric, boldly colored pineapple, created by student Jessica C in this course, isn’t exactly a realistic depiction of the tropical fruit, but that’s part of the fun. 

5. Shaded Lane

A quiet lane and lush landscape by student Robin-Neil Williams.
A quiet lane and lush landscape by student Robin-Neil Williams.

Landscapes have always been a favorite subject of the world’s greatest artists, but don’t be intimidated: This course walks you step by step through landscape painting for beginners.

6. Autumn Forest

Paint a lovely forest—no prior experience required.
Paint a lovely forest—no prior experience required.

This forest by Skillshare student Supriya J shows that even beginners can create a masterpiece. Create this simple acrylic painting yourself in Debasree Dey’s course.

7. Rainbow Swirly Tree

A rainbow sky and cute owl makes this project fun for kids.
A rainbow sky and cute owl makes this project fun for kids.

Looking for fun acrylic paintings to do with your kids? This tutorial by artist Em Winn is easy enough for little ones, but perfect for aspiring artists of all ages to practice blending a rainbow of colors.

8. Bouquet of Flowers

Choose your favorite acrylic paint colors to make these gorgeous flowers. 
Choose your favorite acrylic paint colors to make these gorgeous flowers. 

This is one of those easy acrylic paintings that looks more difficult than it is. Elle Byers breaks the painting down into simple shapes and instructions, so that even beginners can tackle it with ease.

9. Gold Leaf Abstract

Gold leaf takes this acrylic painting from modern to masterful.
Gold leaf takes this acrylic painting from modern to masterful.

This acrylic paint design looks like it was done by a professional (and it was—by Skillshare instructor George-Daniel Tudorache). But he breaks it down into steps that he promises are “fun, easy, and intuitive,” even for beginners.

10. African Woman

A radiant acrylic portrait by Skillshare instructor  Vered Thalmeier. 
A radiant acrylic portrait by Skillshare instructor Vered Thalmeier. 

Painting faces can be intimidating for beginners, but this course, complete with a traceable you can download and use to sketch your design before you start painting, makes it easy.

11. 5 Types of Trees

Five very different, and equally beautiful, tree paintings.
Five very different, and equally beautiful, tree paintings.

With their dramatically different shapes, leaves, and bark textures, trees are endlessly interesting things to paint with acrylics. Artist and illustrator Meenakshi Chinniah shows you how.

12. Sunflower

A stunning sunflower acrylic painting by Meenakshi Chinniah.
A stunning sunflower acrylic painting by Meenakshi Chinniah.

Bright and brilliant, sunflowers make for fun acrylic paintings. From stem to leaf, Meenakshi Chinniah will show you how to paint them with ease.

13. Wooden Door

This painting by Meenakshi Chinniah includes beautiful detail work.
This painting by Meenakshi Chinniah includes beautiful detail work.

The door is the focal point of this simple acrylic painting, but this lesson will also show you how to paint leaves, shadows, and tiny details. 

14. Abstract Modern Art

A modern, abstract masterpiece by Skillshare instructor Gino Savarino.
A modern, abstract masterpiece by Skillshare instructor Gino Savarino.

When you’re stumped with easy acrylic painting ideas, abstract art is a great place to turn. Gino Savarino shows students how to create this acrylic paint design with a few simple colors and brush strokes. 

15. Abstract Seascape

A stormy sea makes for an easy, fun subject for beginners.
A stormy sea makes for an easy, fun subject for beginners.

Layering acrylics creates depth and movement in this stormy sea by Elle Byers

16. Textured Sunset

This sunset took only 10 minutes to paint!
This sunset took only 10 minutes to paint!

Got 10 minutes to spare, and a palette knife? Check out this super-quick tutorial by Kuhu Sheopuri and create your own dreamy sunset. 

17. Acrylic Bookmarks

A set of acrylic bookmarks by student Mohini S. 
A set of acrylic bookmarks by student Mohini S. 

Working on a smaller canvas can be a wonderful way to practice your detail skills. This course walks you through just how to create these mini masterpieces.

18. Christmas Tree

Give the gift of a handmade acrylic painting!
Give the gift of a handmade acrylic painting!

This cheery holiday tree can be as abstract or realistic as you’d like, making it a great project for beginners. Hang it on your wall during the holiday season, or surprise a loved one with a homemade gift.

19. Apples

A trio of apples by Skillshare student Y K. 
A trio of apples by Skillshare student Y K. 

Still life objects, like fruit, are beloved things to paint with acrylics, as well as great subjects for practicing perspective and shadows. Paint your own with this tutorial.

20. Maasai Warriors

Bold, beautiful warriors.
Bold, beautiful warriors.

Using just a few colors and simple detail work, kids and adults alike will enjoy this acrylic painting lesson

21. Abstract Puddle Art 

Making this marbled masterpiece is easier than you’d think!
Making this marbled masterpiece is easier than you’d think!

When you’re searching for acrylic painting ideas, inspiration doesn’t have to come from real-life people, places, or things. In this course, Skillshare instructor Kaitlyn Goodey shows you how to use the “puddle painting” method with acrylic paint. 

22. Acrylic Florals on Wood

Acrylics on wood by Skillshare student Katy Hadad-Dyler. 
Acrylics on wood by Skillshare student Katy Hadad-Dyler. 

You don’t just have to stick to easy acrylic painting ideas for beginners on canvas—painting on wood adds texture and interest to your artwork. Here’s what you’ll need and how to make your own wood creation.

23. Potted Plants

Skillshare instructor Cova Sandes paints a trio of adorable potted plants.
Skillshare instructor Cova Sandes paints a trio of adorable potted plants.

Use tiny brushes and bold colors to create these fun acrylic paintings that would look perfect in a tropical or desert home!

24. Field of Sheep

How adorable are these tiny sheep by Skillshare instructor Nadine Allan?
How adorable are these tiny sheep by Skillshare instructor Nadine Allan?

Learn to paint sheep from a variety of angles in this fun landscape.

25. Woman With Flower

Skillshare instructor  Vered Thalmeier makes it easy to create this stunning profile.
Skillshare instructor Vered Thalmeier makes it easy to create this stunning profile.

Skillshare instructor Vered Thalmeier creates beautiful acrylic painting designs—like this comic-style portrait—and you can, too!

Learn Acrylic Painting for Beginners Step by Step!

Acrylic Painting: Learn the Basics for Beginners.