You can easily learn painting on your own: here is how

As a beginner, you might wonder if you could learn painting on your own. Those professional paintings of other artists may even overwhelm you, in terms of their work and skills. But it is never too late to learn new skills. All you need to do is take baby steps at a time.

You can easily learn to paint on your own with practice and patience. Start with acrylic painting as it is easier to master. Refer to online resources such as youtube and online courses on acrylics. After learning and mastering the basics you will find your own unique painting style.

As a beginner, it is important to cover the fundamentals of painting. There are things that you need to know before going straight to painting from a picture.

How to learn acrylic painting on your own?

As a beginner start learning to paint with acrylics. Following are the things I recommend you to do as a beginner to learn painting on your own.

Take up an online acrylic painting course

I highly recommend you to take up an online course when starting with acrylics. Most courses cover everything you need to know before starting painting. So you will become very knowledgeable in painting. Check if the course you are taking covers the following aspects.

  • Materials and setup
  • Paint properties
  • Basic techniques of painting
  • Simple colour palette
  • Creative properties of acrylics
  • Painting projects

You can find acrylic painting courses on Skillshare, Craftsy, and LinkedIn. If you are not a premium member of these platforms, you can register with them for the free trial and check the courses. If it is worth your bucks, being a premium member will come in handy. You can master the skills very easily on those platforms.

I recommend taking up Will Kemp’s ‘painting foundations: acrylics’ course on LinkedIn.

Follow YouTube tutorials

YouTube is a great free resource to learn about painting. Now there are many time-lapse painting videos. You can watch them and follow them also. But follow tutorials on acrylic painting where artists explain the paintings they do.

Following is a playlist of videos for beginners to learn the fundamentals of painting from the CLIVE5ART channel. It is a great free resource with a wealth of information.

Find images to paint from children’s colouring books

Children’s colouring books are a great way to start painting. If you have a hard time drawing, trace the images from the colouring books, directly to your canvas. Start painting according to the colours in the reference image of the colouring book. You will become more confident in your painting as you paint more images like this.

Following I have included a link to a free children’s colouring book page:

Always remember to start with the easiest ones.

Research on how to paint different elements

As a beginner, it is hard to figure out how to paint different elements in a painting. For example, trees, mountains, waves, clouds, etc. You can research on the web, how to paint these different elements on the canvas.

Try the things you learn. With trial and error, you can master any element.

Find a community for painting beginners

Finding a community of like-minded people is as important as painting. You can find a group for acrylic painting beginners on Facebook or any other social media platform. People in these groups are so interested in painting. Many of them have gone through what you are going through.

You can get help from these communities whenever you have doughts in painting. You will build confidence in your paintings with this support system.

Find your own unique painting style

After you have referred to many tutorials, do trial and error. Now is the time to unleash your inner artist. Everyone has their own unique style. As you paint more you will realize that you prefer certain colours on the palette. There can be techniques that you love. All of them combined will create your own painting style.

Now start painting from any images or real scenes. Blend the colours as you feel. Just mess around and try different paints, brushes, and techniques. Some people prefer to learn this way from the beginning and it is perfectly fine.

In the end, do what works for you. As a beginner, do not be hard on yourself or judge your creations. create what you feel and enjoy every minute of it.

Avoid the following mistakes as a beginner

When you are starting out, there will be many mistakes. But if you knew these beforehand, you can avoid the mistakes in the first place. Following are some common mistakes that you need to look for as a beginner.

Being afraid to make mistakes

As a beginner, you may do many mistakes while painting. That is how we learn through trial and error. Some people do not get started at all, being afraid to make mistakes.

The worst thing that could happen if you made a mistake may be, is a painting that does not look great. So what? start over and keep trying. You will eventually get there. Make sure you have a support system. It can be a Facebook group, a teacher or your grandma who has been painting for years.

I have written a whole article about the pros and cons of acrylic paint. You can learn about all the important things about acrylic paint there.

Using acrylics as watercolour

One of the main mistakes beginners do is adding so much water to dilute acrylics like watercolour. This approach is wrong. Acrylic needs its binder to keep the paint pigments together. When you are adding water, the binder that holds the paint also gets thinner. Then paint can peel off from the canvas.

The rule of thumb is to add less than 30 – 40 % of water to acrylics when diluting. Also, you can use acrylic polymers or binders to dilute. They are available in different consistencies. It is an expensive way to dilute your paint.

what you can do is add a little water to dilute the paint. You can also add some water to thin the acrylic medium before mixing colours. It all depends on the consistency you need to achieve with paints.

Not understanding the properties of acrylics

This is connected to the previous mistake I mentioned. You need to understand what acrylics are and what it is made of. Acrylic is a combination of colour pigments, a polymer and a vehicle to carry both pigments and polymer.

When water evaporates from the system after exposure to the atmosphere, acrylics dry into a thin water-resistant film.

When exposed to air, acrylics dry faster. If you paint outside in the heat, it can dry not only the paint on canvas but a whole acrylic paint tube. You can avoid these if you knew the properties of acrylics well. You will have a better understanding of when to use them and where to use them.

Buying too many colours

This is a very common mistake that beginners make. If you went to the art store, it is almost overwhelming how many options are out there for painting. There are sets of paint tubes with 12 to 48 different colours. But you only need five colours to make any colour you want.

These colours are burnt umber, titanium white, cadmium yellow, crimson and ultramarine blue. I highly recommend you watch the following video that explains what you need to get started.

My recommendation is to keep it simple when it comes to colours, brushes and palettes.

Buying the cheapest paints

When you are starting painting, you are most likely to go with the cheapest painting. Thinking you could invest in good paints later. Also, you might think that these cheap paints will do just fine, but none of these will happen.

Investing in cheap paints will be a waste of money. There can be some good cheap paints. But who knows? Always invest in the artist’s quality acrylics. It will be a good investment and will be paid off with great colours on the canvas.

Also, you might purchase craft paints for a cheaper price. They come in a variety of colours and you will be tempted to buy more colours. Soon you will find that those colours do not work together because you did not mix them but used them straight out of the tube. So, always go for a simple artist quality colour palette.

Taking up large canvases when starting

It might overwhelm you if you buy large canvases to start with. Instead, get canvas pads or unframed canvases to practice. You can also take small to medium size framed canvases. As you build up confidence, you can go for larger ones. Also if you messed up paintings on canvases, do not throw them away. They can be recycled.

Getting stressed and overwhelmed

I have asked you to join a community. But you may get overwhelmed by the quality and skills of some painters. Instead of getting overwhelmed and stressing out, be inspired by their art. You can also ask them for any tips and tricks used in the paintings. This way, you can grow into a great artist.

Do not overthink or doubt yourself. Have confidence that you can learn this new awesome skill.

Begin your painting journey today…

Most people do not succeed in painting just because they did not get started. But you are not like that. Start today. Make sure you cover the fundamentals of acrylic painting before starting. It will make things easier for you. Also, avoid common acrylic painting mistakes. A happy painting you all!

About Dilini

Dilini Tharaka is the principal creator of, a website dedicated to answering painting questions and providing helpful resources.Painting has always been Dilini's hobby. She has created dozens of paintings that she is proud of. She loves to share her painting experience with you.