It’s no secret that acrylic paint is an incredibly versatile medium. Along with its stunning pigmentation and its ability to dry quickly, applying different mediums and utilizing new techniques can result in a variety of unique looks and textures.
One popular technique is acrylic glazing. By layering thin, transparent layers of paint, you can create depth, luminosity, and subtle color shifts that can bring your artwork to life. Read on to learn more about how to create an acrylic glazing medium along with our favorite glazing acrylic painting techniques.
What is Acrylic Glazing?
First things first, what exactly is an acrylic glaze? Just Paint explains that acrylic glaze is a way to extend paint with a transparent or gloss medium. Essentially, it involves adding a very small amount of paint with a much larger amount of medium.
However, some paints come translucent or transparent already, like our #144 Azo Yellow Medium paint at Nova Color. These paints would have to have less, or even no medium, added to them to achieve a glaze effect. There are also a variety of Fluorescent and Pearlescent colors available that can add visual interest to any glaze.
No matter which paint you use, once semi-transparent upon application, you've created the ideal mix for a glaze. There is a lot of flexibility when it comes to making effective glazes. Glossy mediums will be dry the most clear while semi-gloss acrylic mediums appear a little more foggy or misty. The medium you choose is ultimately up to the final look and feel you want from your acrylic glaze!
How to Use Acrylic Glaze
There’s also a lot of versatility in how you can apply glazes. If your glaze is thick, you can apply it with a palette knife, you can create super transparent layers with a damp bristle brush. However, a good rule of thumb is to prepare to apply many layers of glaze to create depth.
Each layer of glaze may create subtle shades or enhance the colors underneath. You can’t go wrong using smooth brush strokes to spread the glaze evenly and speed up the drying time between layers.
Best Glazing Techniques for Acrylic Painting
Since acrylic glaze is so versatile, there are many acrylic paint glazing techniques that can elevate your next work of art. Consider using some of these acrylic glazing techniques the next time you’re creating a realistic portrait or want to create depth in a mural.
This is by far one of the most popular and likely easy-to-execute glazing techniques in acrylic painting. After you mix the glazing medium with your acrylic paint, you can get to work applying layers over an existing painting or begin blocking out the basis of your painting altogether by building each layer on top of the next. You can layer different color glazes to create more complexity in your painting.
Beginners may benefit from using a smooth brush for seamless application and to get a feel for how different colors can be layered to create different shades and effects. Applying in very thin light coats is the best way to start as you get an idea of just how dark and impactful each layer of paint will be on your existing work. It's good to keep a spare piece of paper, canvas, or whatever material you're using handy so you can create a few swatches as you go.
If you want to bring more texture to your layers, consider scumbling. As Draw Paint Academy explains, scumbling is a type of dry painting technique that involves applying a thin layer of paint with a dry brush and a loose hand over an existing layer. You can also use other materials, such as old sponges, crumpled paper, or fabric for a variety of textural effects.
Dry brushing is a popular and easy acrylic paint technique, and this application can create a textured effect and add depth to your layers. Consider using your dry brush in random or crosshatching motion that is great for abstract paintings or capturing natural textures like bark and grass.
Similar to layering, veiling is all about creating smooth and even layers. It’s a straightforward acrylic paint glazing technique that emphasizes using a soft brush and applying the glaze in a smooth and even manner.
This approach to acrylic glazing is ideal for creating subtle color shifts and a translucent effect. If you want to capture soft fabrics, stunning sunsets, or blue skies, veiling can help bring depth to these scenes while still making them look soft and smooth.
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While most glazing techniques for acrylic painting require you to wait for your layers to dry before applying a new color, this takes a different approach. As the name suggests, wet-on-wet have you applying the layers while the bottom color isn’t completely dry.
This technique is slightly more advanced since it requires a keen eye for color and a gentle hand to have the colors seamlessly blend rather than look muddy. This acrylic glazing technique is ideal for creating atmospheric effects, such as mist or fog, especially when you create your glass with a glossy medium.
Finally, if you want to create seamless transitions between different shades, you can try your hand at blending. Ideally, you start your layering process with your darkest colors and layer the lighter ones on top to create a smooth transition and depth. You can blend your colors with a typical brush or even a sponge or finger for added texture.
Ready to try your hand at one or more of these acrylic paint glazing techniques? Shop our complete collection of acrylic paint colors, mediums, and more today!