Top 7 Tips for Beginner Painters

Regan Bosley, Reporter

Painting, one of the world’s many joys, is an experience that can often be challenging. However, with the correct assistance and tips, it can become an enjoyable and calming hobby. 

Personally, my journey with painting started with receiving a few beginner products for Christmas. As time went on, my love for art and my technique grew, and I started creating more complex paintings. 

These complex paintings could not have been created without the correct help from outside sources. So, here are seven tips that helped me create magic with my paintbrush.

1. Sketch the image beforehand

Freehanding a painting can be one of the most challenging parts of the whole process. One mistake and the whole painting can be for naught. 

To avoid that issue, sketch the painting beforehand. Grab a pencil, colored pencil, or even charcoal, and leave a rough draft of what you want to paint. 

Another technique is called “underpainting” or “wash”. This is when you use extremely watered-down paint to create a light outline of your painting. Either of these strategies will work!

2. Begin with acrylic paints

Starting your painting journey with oil or watercolor paints can often be an unnecessary and tough project for a beginner. 

Using oil paints brings its own challenges, such as a different technique and extensive purchases, such as thinners, other brushes, etcetera, along with the paint. Watercolor will bring you a different result. 

Therefore, acrylic paints are the best option for beginner painters. They are the most simple to use and clean up in the painting process.

3. Erase mistakes with water or sandpaper

Many paint projects often experience ‘mistakes’, or the painter simply does not like how it turns out. No need to worry; you can erase any unwanted marks with water or sandpaper.

If your paint is wet, scrape off the excess and apply water to the mark. Wipe the rest off with a towel and paint over it with titanium white, or whatever white you happen to have on hand. 

If your paint is dry, use a piece of fine-grit sandpaper to scratch away any unwanted marks. Use water for acrylics or linseed oil for oil paints to cleanse the area, and then paint over it with white.

4. Use canvas wedges

When using a canvas to paint on, it can often sag due to the wet paint, humidity, or age. However, there is a simple way to fix this using the bag of wood or plastic that came with your canvas. 

Wait until your painting is completely dry and finished, then use a hammer to pound the wedges into the canvas to stabilize the fabric. Do this after your painting has dried completely.

5. Prime your canvas.

Priming your canvas by pre-painting can allow the painting to stay fresh and preserved with no chips or blemishes for years to come. However, you need to know how to use the product. 

Priming is often done with a product called gesso. It protects the fibers of the canvas so that the paint surface is top quality. You must paint a light coat of gesso (or whatever primer you choose) and allow it to fully dry before painting for the primer to fully work.

6. Have a safe and trusted place for your work to dry

Imagine you have just finished a painting. You have primed, painted, and sealed your work and are waiting for it to dry. One of the most discouraging things to happen to an aspiring artist is for something terrible to happen to your wet art, such as a whack from a dog’s tail.

Before even starting your painting, make sure that you have a safe, trusted place for your artwork to dry. This is, arguably, the most important step in the painting process.

7. Understand your journey

Painting is not just a hobby. It is a learning curve and a journey for so many aspiring artists. 

For painting to be a sustainable and enjoyable activity, you must understand that you will not be Pablo Picasso with your first piece. Work hard and learn along the way, and remember that everyone has potential.