No matter if you’re a seasoned artist or just starting out, staring at a blank canvas can be intimidating. One of the most challenging parts of creating a painting, mural or mixed media piece is simply getting started.
That’s why we’re here to help get your creative juices flowing with some acrylic background techniques to start your next project. Let’s not wait any longer, here are a handful of background techniques with acrylic paint you can try.
When painting a background with acrylics, you should decide on the type of look and feel you want. Many artists go for a soft, fluid background for their paintings. To achieve this tonal look, it’s best to use the wet-on-wet method.
As it sounds, this background acrylic painting technique requires you to apply a new layer of paint on your canvas while the previous color is still wet. This allows you to blend the colors seamlessly to create a gradient or different shades.
Since acrylic paint dries fairly quickly, you may want to invest in fluid acrylics or use a slow dry medium to extend the drying time.
If you want your background to be a little more dynamic, consider this acrylic paint background technique. Blotting requires you to paint the surface of choice with a thick layer or acrylic paint and then use a paper towel or sponge to blot some of the paint away.
By using heavy body paint like acrylic, the blotting creates a great mottled, textured background for your artwork. While you can certainly cover a canvas with this method, it also lends itself well to outdoor murals and creating a background on nontraditional materials like wood, rocks, brick and more.
Art Makes People recommends using a combination of blotting and wiping to create a dynamic background with various shades and textures.
A more involved acrylic paint background technique is pouring. Fluid painting techniques are always eye-catching and can be stand alone art pieces, but also make for a lovely background.
If you want your background to be super smooth with no visible brush strokes, this is the way to go. One of the easiest acrylic background techniques is the puddle pour. Simply pour each separate color into the center of the canvas sequentially. Then, tilt the canvas or use a hairdryer or straw to allow the paint to evenly coat the surface. You could also use a mixing medium, such as NovaPlex, to make your acrylics more fluid. This will make pouring and layering a breeze.
The end result is truly up to the color you choose and how you tilt the canvas for the paint to spread. Of course, this background technique lends itself better to small canvases or other flat surfaces you can move around. It may not be feasible for a large mural.
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4. Dry Brushing
Looking for an acrylic paint subtle background technique? Dry brushing can help create more subtle textures and color variants for your background. It’s essentially the opposite of wet-on-wet painting and requires you to apply paint with a - you guessed it - dry brush.
You can truly make this acrylic paint background technique your own by applying different amounts of paint on your brush. However, for the best effect you should use a minimal amount of acrylic paint.
During the painting process you can even use a paper towel or sponge to wipe off paint from your brush after dipping it so it creates more texture. As you’ll see later, dry brushing is also a great background acrylic painting technique used alongside layering.
Stenciling may sound like more work than some of these other techniques, but the payoff is a truly one-of-a-kind background. Fiber Artsy recommends using stencil brushes or pouncers to apply acrylic paint when using stencils so you get clean lines.
There are so many types of stencils out there, or you could even make your own, so you can get creative with your background. Using stencils is also great for painting fabric or creating unique cards. Even for larger projects, like murals, stencils can come in handy to create your background.
Finally, we can’t forget to talk about layering. Like wet-on-wet, this easy acrylic paint background technique requires layers of paint. However, you need to let each layer dry completely before adding the next.
This type of layering is great for creating rich backgrounds with depth and texture. Rather than something blended and soft, you’ll have a more even background that has more depth. You can even use other techniques on top of the layers, like dry brushes, to add texture where you want it.
Ready to try some of these acrylic paint ideas for yourself? Shop all the supplies you need from Nova Color!