13 Easy Acrylic Painting Ideas for Beginners

easy acrylic painting for beginners

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Too lazy to think up acrylic painting ideas for beginners on your own? OR, maybe, you just want to find some reference points for acrylic painting projects that are suitable for your level?

Whatever it is that brought you here…

Stick around for our comprehensive list of EASY acrylic painting ideas!!

PLUS! Bonus tips and strategies on how to improve your acrylic painting skills at the end!

13 Fun & Easy Acrylic Painting Ideas!

1. Colorful Abstract Shapes

Want to know what’s easy to paint? ABSTRACT art!

Make it even easier and paint colorful abstract shapes! Abstract acrylic painting has no rules, and what you say is what it is. You don’t have to be afraid of making mistakes or missing any details. The composition is entirely in your hands to control.

Of course, although we say that abstract painting has no rules, there are strategies to paint abstractly more conveniently and techniques that can you create a composition that is pleasing to the eye — rather than an all-out mess!

As for where to find those strategies and techniques, we recommend watching some online acrylic painting courses. For example, the following Domestika course on “Composition Design for Abstraction”.

colorful abstract shapes
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2. Free-Flow Abstract Compositions

Want to take your abstract acrylic painting to the next level of difficulty?

Then it’s time to let loose! In the previous acrylic painting idea, we recommended taking it easy by painting abstract shapes. Now, let’s opt for something a little more complicated with free-flow abstraction.

If you want something to refer to, you can see an example of this acrylic painting idea in action in @DeniseLove’s course on intuitive acrylic painting:

free-flow abstract compositions
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3. Color Block Design on Canvas

The next acrylic painting idea is color-blocked paintings! Also called “geometric paintings” or “masking tape art”. A demonstration can be seen in the following video tutorial by @MikeMcDonald on YouTube:

It’s as easy as applying masking tape across a blank canvas and painting inside the lines with the acrylic paint colors of your choice. No need for any complicated compositions! Once the masking tape is removed from the canvas, you’ll have a complete painting with simple shapes that are surprisingly very pleasant to look at.

4. Color Blocked Acrylic Landscapes

Again, after getting started with the basic color block project mentioned in the previous painting idea, why not challenge a more advanced version next?

Specifically, we recommend painting some color-blocked acrylic landscapes! Whether it’s of mountains and rivers, deserted lands, a stormy sea, etc. A demonstration video by @ColleenElizabeth is shared below to give you an idea where to start:

This idea may not be the most suitable if you’re an absolute beginner, but the concept is still relatively easy to do even if you’re a new painter — all you need is a bit more patience! After all, it doesn’t require heavy detail work and you can get by with painting evenly in primary colors.

5. Starry Night Landscape Painting

In your career as an acrylic artist, how can you not paint a starry sky-themed landscape painting? It’s a very simple subject for those who are starting to learn acrylic painting, and almost everyone has painted at least one version of it!

If you don’t want to follow the trend too closely, you can check out @CatColiquitte’s video below on a “Geometric Galaxy” for some inspiration:

starry night landscape painting
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6. Expressive Acrylic Floral Painting

Next on our list of acrylic painting ideas for beginners is expressive flowers.

Compared to our other acrylic painting ideas so far, it is neither too hard nor too simple. We described it as ‘expressive’ specifically because we recommend starting out with broad brush strokes that eliminate the need for detail work.

In this way, you don’t have to worry about it becoming a life-study. It can be simple and abstract, composed primarily of texture and the vibrant colors of real-life flowers.

If you want a reference to follow, @Sonal’s course on expressive floral painting in acrylics is a good one to watch:

expressive acrylic floral painting
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7. Simple Tree Paintings

If you’ve ever watched those 5-minute craft videos on YouTube, you’ll find that many of their acrylic painting ideas for beginners involve painting a single tree. It can be a rainbow tree, a swirly tree, a Christmas tree, etc. as long as it is a lone tree!

If you want to give this acrylic painting idea a try, an example of one such video can be seen below from @SaburoArt:

Quite easy, isn’t it? Well, if you’re really looking for super easy acrylic painting ideas, you probably can’t find any simpler than this!

8. Easy Forest Landscape Painting

Not satisfied with a single tree? Go for a whole forest of trees next! You can see a relatively simple acrylic painting of a forest in the following Skillshare video from @DebasreeDey:

BTW! For forest landscapes, you can try several easy painting ideas for beginners by changing up the seasons according to your preference! The video above shows an autumn forest landscape. But you can also paint spring, summer, and winter forest landscape paintings~

simple tree paintings
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9. Abstract Sea Scape Painting

Want an acrylic painting idea suitable for a limited palette? We recommend trying out an abstract seascape. Whether it’s one of stormy seas like what @ElleByers painted below, or something more calm and serene, you can get an entire painting done with only three or four acrylic paint shades (e.g., white, blue, dark blue, and black).

abstract sea scape painting
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10. Marble Art Painting

Next up, we recommend marble art! This kind of art will require you to have fluid acrylic paint and some knowledge on acrylic pouring techniques.

But thanks to it’s super simplicity, it’s definitely worthy of being on our list of acrylic painting for beginners! After all, as can be seen in the video below, you don’t have to do much work to get a beautiful, aesthetically pleasing painting. Most of the work is done by the acrylic paint itself.

marble art painting
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11. Quaint Home Scenery

If you’re truly out of inspiration, the best place to look for it is actually around you. For example, why not take some photographs of quaint home scenery to use for acrylic paint exercises?

It can be a simple acrylic painting of a wooden door in your home like what is shown in the video below. Or you can pick your favorite place inside your house, like your living room or a sun room where you spend the most time.

Just remember to avoid fussing over the details. Focus on texture and colors. No need for any complicated brush techniques either. It’s the time to have fun!

12. Stylized Pet or Animal Portrait

The next recommended acrylic painting idea is a stylized pet or animal portrait. Compared to the other acrylic painting ideas for beginners on this list, it’s definitely more complicated.

At the very least, it will require you to understand form and structure to some extent. Of course, not too much. We insist on including it on our easy acrylic painting ideas list because it’s meant to be stylized or cartoony.

animal portrait
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If you want to try out this easy acrylic painting idea, we recommend checking out this video from @HannahWebb on Domestika.

13. Stylized Portrait Acrylic Painting

Does a portrait painting deserve to be on our list of acrylic painting ideas for beginners?

Of course, it does! Because, again, we’re talking about stylized portraits. So you don’t have to worry about accuracy in terms of features or coloring. You just have to get the essence of the person you want to draw the portrait of.

stylized portrait acrylic painting
(Image Source)

Want to try out this acrylic painting idea? Check out the video above from @KarenSavardKlassen, a popular fashion/portrait illustrator.

What Do You Need for Acrylic Painting?

Now that you have a list of easy acrylic painting ideas for beginners, let’s talk about what you need to know before you dive headfirst into your first acrylics painting project!

This section is reserved for talking about supplies, whilst the following is on some handy tips and strategies to make the most out of your inspiration, so make sure to stay till the end!

Acrylic Paint

First, let’s talk about acrylic paints! There are two grades from which you can choose from:

    • Student-Grade: Lower-grade paint suitable for beginners and students who are interested in practicing more than selling or displaying their artwork. They’re more cost-effective, but the quality is generally not very good — sometimes chalky or streaky to paint with. If you want to give student-grade paints a try, it’s best to choose reliable brands like Winsor & Newton’s Galeria or Liquitex’s BASICS.
    • Professional-Grade: Higher-grade paint for artists who want to sell their work or display their work in galleries. Generally, these are more expensive because they are made of high-quality pigments and are formulated to be lightfast. The best acrylic paints of this grade are GOLDEN’s Artist Colors and Liquitex’s Professionals.

For most beginners just starting out with acrylics, student-grade paint is often more than enough! Naturally, if you’re willing to spend a little more money, then professional-grade paints are most recommended.

acrylic paint

Painting Surfaces for Acrylics

Canvas is the go-to choice for most acrylic artists because it is absorbent — which strengthens paint cohesion and can delay drying time.

However, if you’d like, you can also use other porous surfaces like paper or wood without varnish as your canvas. As for non-porous surfaces, it’s generally not recommended as the acrylic paint has a tendency of peeling off over time.

painting surfaces for acrylics

PRO TIP! If you really want to paint on non-porous surfaces like glass, metal, plastic, etc. you can try out acrylic primer or gesso to make the surface more absorbent. For example, GOLDEN’s Absorbent Ground!

Acrylic Paint Brushes

There are no hard rules for picking out brushes for acrylic painting. But we recommend buying cheap mix-media brushes — which are more durable — in a variety of shapes.

If you don’t know where to start looking, check out this set of brushes on Amazon! It’s very comprehensive in terms of brush types — it even includes a palette knife (which is useful for mixing paint on the palette) and sponges (for creating various effects).

acrylic paint brushes

Palette

The most important thing to look for when choosing a palette for acrylics is its ability to maintain paint freshness. How long can it keep your paint usable?

For this, we recommend choosing either an air-tight palette or a stay-wet palette. Both are capable of locking in humidity, which keeps acrylic paint wet and usable longer.

Miscellaneous Art Supplies

Other miscellaneous art supplies that you might need to create acrylic art are as follows:

  • Jar of Water: For rinsing brushes between colors.
  • Paper Towels: For drying brushes after rinsing or cleaning up spills.
  • Spray Bottle: For misting paints when in use.
  • Stand: For mounting canvas when working.

canvas stand

5 Helpful Acrylic Painting Practice Strategies!

Last but not least, let’s talk about strategies that can help you improve your acrylic painting skills more quickly:

  • Use SIMPLE References First: The main benefit of the ideas presented in the list above is that they are very simple! They’re simple, and so they are so easy to paint. Because of this, you can focus on improving basic techniques and learning new skills!
  • Master ONE Technique at a Time: When doing acrylic studies, it’s best to focus on mastering one artist technique at a time so that you don’t get too overwhelmed. For certain artwork, you can either focus on creating texture, laying even washes, blending colors, or other basic acrylic painting techniques until you’re sure that your mastery has leveled up.
  • TEST Paint Mixes Beforehand: As an acrylics painter, it’s best to test paint mixes beforehand on a piece of scrap paper. After all, acrylics dry very quickly, so it’s best not to waste too much of the work time on blending colors.
  • Study Light and Shadow: If you want to increase the realism of your art, one of the most important things to study is light and shadow. Proper use of light and shadow can create an illusion of depth — making a 2D drawing look 3D!
  • Paint REGULARLY: Have you ever heard of the saying, “It takes 10,000 hours to master something.” This means that if you paint non-stop for a year and half, you can be a master! Okay, but no joke. Practice is very important for beginners. It’s best to get into the habit of painting regularly. It doesn’t have to be every day or every other day. But at least, reserve time in your weekly schedule to paint!

Final Thoughts:

At this stage, you should have some reference as to what kind of projects to work on as a beginner in acrylic art! If you feel like you still need a push in the right direction, watch this Skillshare course preview on Acrylic Painting for Beginners to learn more!

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