Best Way To Learn Painting (All Types You Need To Know)

Best Way to Learn Painting
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Reading Time: 8 minutes

Today we will be talking about the best way to learn painting online, sitting at home right from the comfort of your couch.


Experts recommend beginners go with a water-based medium like gouache, watercolor, or acrylic. These are the easiest to get well-acquainted with. Moreover, the clean-up is quicker, and you do not have to deal with toxic solvents either.


But truth be told, you should consider several other things before starting to paint. How will you start? What medium to use?


This guide will tell you ways to learn watercolor painting, digital painting, how to use acrylic/oil paints, and much more.


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What Are The Basics Of Painting?

It is good to have a background before jumping right into the painting process:
1. Try different brushes – Whether you are looking for the best way to learn acrylic painting or an oil painting, it is important that you check out the brushes in different shapes and fiber types.


Each kind of brush will produce a different effect. So, try them all before making a selection. The best kind is the sable or the synthetic mix. You can use them with several paints.
If you are here looking for the best way to learn digital painting, this step won’t apply to you.
2. Underpainting – When using acrylics or oils, you should never directly start with paints. So, always start with an underpainting in the amalgam of burn Phthalo and Sienna or burnt Umber to develop values and shadows. We recommend using acrylics as they tend to dry faster.
3. Build-up the texture – Using a flat but dry brush can help you blend the paint and build smooth transitions. Alternatively, you can use an old toothbrush too.
4. Dry brushing – In this method, you pick a color that partially covers a previously dried paint layer. However, use only little color on the brush, and use symmetrical, quick strokes. It can be the go-to trick when painting grass textures or rocks.
5. Glazing – Adding a transparent coat layer on the dry painting is known as glazing. It helps make the shadows appear more real.
6. Sgraffito – Scratching away paint is just as important a trick as painting for the first time. You will have to use the Sgraffito technique to scratch the primary color to reveal the underpainting. It helps when adding real-ness to grasses, hair, and scratches.


Now, let us address how should you go about learning the painting basics.


Learn Painting Yourself – Be Your Own Teacher!


1. Make your selection – oil/acrylic/watercolor

Once you have found the reason to get into painting, you need to know to pick the best way to learn painting. For this, you select the medium you will follow. It is imperative, at least in the short term, as you start learning the skill.


Delve deeper into it, and get well-acquainted with all its aspects to move to the significant and more in-depth aspects like value, composition, color, etc. Some top options include:

  1. Oil
  2. Acrylic
  3. Watercolors


Whether you wish to get well-versed with watercolor painting or hope to experiment with oil or acrylic painting, please remember every method has its pros and cons.


So, weigh them, and acquire information to ensure that you make a wise pick. Once you know, you can move to further learning steps.


Below, we will discuss these three popular mediums one by one:


a. Oil

Typically, professional artists use oil paints, and it is for several reasons:

  • Most pro painters consider it to be superior to acrylic painting.
  • Oil paints are versatile. You can change their consistency and drying time with oil or paint thinners. Thanks to their versatility, you can work with several painting methods like scumbling, glazing, and blending. Don’t be alarmed by the terms. The best way to learn oil painting is to first understand these terms and experiment with styles to find your niche.
  • The oil painting experience is more pleasant than acrylic painting.
  • They do not dry quickly. Paints that dry fast gives you less time to work on an element.
  • Oil paints do not change their color or darken on drying.


However, it is considered more complex than acrylic painting. But it is not so. For someone who knows acrylic painting, it is easier to adapt to oil painting because it only has a few additional rules. Thus, you need to be consistent.


b. Acrylic

It is an indulgent, durable, and adaptable medium of painting. You can use acrylics in any way you find convenient – thickly like oil paint or thinly like watercolor.


Typically, beginners opt for this form of painting. The best way to learn acrylic painting is to pick the paper and paints and start. Do not give up. It is easier to get proficient at acrylic painting as it requires no exquisite supplies.


But, one significant low to it is that it dries quickly. Typically, all acrylic paints are water-soluble. So, you can need water to work with them, and cleaning the brushes need nothing more than water and soap.


You can opt for this painting if:

  • You are a beginner who finds it hard to cope with the complexities of mastering the best way to learn oil painting. You do not want to splurge on supplies.
  • You hate the tedious clean-up of oil painting.
  • You love working with mixed media.
  • Harsh chemicals of oil painting are not for you.


c. Watercolors

You can consider watercolor painting if you are starting your painting journey and do not want to spend aggressively. The best way to learn watercolor painting is by investing in the right supplies. You only need some color tubes and a decent set of watercolor pens, and you can work your way with them.


But, their untamed nature makes them challenging to pick up, as, with watercolors, there is no scope for correction. But if you familiarize yourself with them first, you can produce spectacular artwork.


2. Get your supplies

The right supplies can make a mammoth difference to your painting. Here are some items that you need to get started:

  1. Paint – How can you make a painting without the paint color? So, depending on your chosen medium, you can pick the specific painting colors.
  2. Sketchbook, Journal, and Canvas – You will usually make a basic painting in the sketchbook or journal, and then when you perfect it, you will start using the canvas. Canvases are available in different weaves and fibers.
  3. Brushes – Beginners usually start with synthetic brushes because of their ease of usage and affordability. You can use them too. But, always go for variation and pick ones with different tips to help you maneuver seamlessly. If the brush isn’t correct, even the best way to learn painting guides cannot save you from a disaster.
  4. Palettes – Palette is also needed to organize the color better. You can find palettes in different shapes and sizes. The primary difference in palettes lies in their material. You can find the palettes in plastic, wood, plexiglass, and safety glass materials.
  5. Soap – If you are into acrylic painting, you will need soap and water to clean up.
  6. Rinse water cup – It can help you wash your brushes.
  7. Varnish – Varnish helps seal the painting.


3. Take free YouTube lessons

You do not have to buy a paid course if you do not want to invest and only wish to test the waters. So, you can check out some free sessions on YouTube. They can give you a fair idea of how to get started, and then if you enjoy what you learn, you can enroll in paid classes to get better.


Some free YouTube courses to learn painting are:


Want to know the best way to learn digital painting? You can check out these sessions:


4. Online painting courses

On the internet, you can find some free and paid certification and non-certification painting courses on different platforms like Udemy, Coursera, Skillshare, LinkedIn Learning, Pluralsight, etc.


We have our recommendations for some of the best painting courses available online. These could be a stepping stone and the right way to learn painting all by yourself.


Three classes that we recommend for you are:


5. Books

Books can come to your rescue if you are experiencing a creative block. You can learn different color techniques and get the necessary inspiration to drive the creative wagon.


Books can be a good option to know more about digital painting, acrylic, oil, and watercolor artwork. Some of the best books to check out are:
a. Alla Prima II – Expanded Edition Everything I Know about Painting–And More – It is an excellent pick for beginners who wish to be masters at painting. It will not offer a step-by-step guide but some painting fundamentals you must know.
b. Fill Your Oil Paintings with Light & Color – Anyone who wishes to learn landscape painting will love this masterpiece by Kevin Macpherson. You will find brilliant information on ways to employ your limited palette for producing excellent results.
c. Beginner’s Guide to Digital Painting in Procreate: How to Create Art on an iPad® – It presents the best way to learn digital painting. You will learn everything you need to know about using Procreate and creating digital masterpieces on your iPad.


6. Understand your strength & preferences

You understand your interests and strengths as you learn and create painting drafts. It is ok if you do not want to work on your weaknesses as long as you master your strengths. Over time as you practice further; even your shortcomings will be eliminated.


7. Create your first artwork

Once you have learned the drill, it is time to make your first artwork. It does not need to be perfect, but you must try to put all that you have learned so far into it to produce a workable piece. It will give you the motivation to keep trying.


8. Practice & improve

Do not stop at the first creation and create more and more paintings. The more you practice, the better you get at it. Seek feedback from your friends and family members to improve your artwork.


Best Way To Learn Painting (Digital, Watercolors, and Oil/Acrylic Paints)


1. Painting with watercolors

  • Gather the supplies like watercolor paints, palette, brushes, and paper.
  • Get a board and tape to fix your painting to a spot as you work on it.
  • Set up your workspace
  • Build color reference
  • Sketch and mix different colors
  • Select a project
  • Remember that these colors lighten up when dry


2. Getting started and learning digital painting

  • Learn the basics by practicing drawing triangles, circles, and squares.
  • Shade the shapes
  • Cast shadows on them
  • Know how to draw in one- and two-point perspective
  • Use direct observation to create objects and people
  • Understand color theory
  • Pick your software and hardware
  • Download and install GIMP or Krita
  • Coral painting can be a blessing
  • Use Paint tool Sai or Clip Studio Art for Manga and Anime
  • Use the paid version of Photoshop as you grow
  • Create your first digital art


3. Best way to learn oil painting

  • Gather your supplies – Paint Brushes, Oil paints, an Easel, Canvas, Paper towel, solvent, and palette
  • Set up the workspace
  • Prime the canvas
  • Clean & dry your brushes before starting
  • Start small
  • Give an outline for the painting and start filling in colors
  • Layer the paints


4. Best way to learn acrylic painting

  • Set your painting station
  • Gather the supplies and create a rough sketch
  • Experiment with the materials
  • Start painting
  • Be careful with blending and take a small amount of color out on the pallet at a time


Frequently Asked Questions


Ques 1. What type of paint is best for beginners?

Ans. Acrylic paints are best for beginners.


Ques 2. Do you sketch before watercolor?

Ans. The best way to learn watercolor painting is to begin by very light sketching. It can be beneficial before using watercolors to give you a structure to follow and paint within.


Ques 3. How can I learn digital art without a tablet?

Ans. You do not necessarily need a tablet to do digital art. You can create digital art traditionally on your PC. There are two ways to do it:

  • You can draw traditionally and then scan or photograph it for use on the digital stage.
  • Create a digital art using your mouse.


Ques 4. How long does it take to learn oil painting?

Ans. You can familiarize yourself with oil painting in only a few years, but it may take up to 10 years to take it to the professional level.


Final Word

People who do not necessarily consider themselves artistically inclined feel that learning painting is complex and daunting. Some even accept that just because they cannot draw, they cannot learn painting either.


However, both of these are far from the truth. Often beginners are in an absolute split when they discover how easier it is to paint than to draw when they plan and implement the best way to learn painting.

So, go ahead, pick up those brushes and let those creative juices flow.


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