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5 Must-Know Alternative Painting Techniques For Artists

Updated: Apr 7, 2022

How many different types of painting techniques do you know? Outside of traditional painting techniques, there are plenty of painting techniques that do not involve the paintbrush. These are avant-garde ideas and visual art experiments.

In pursuit of expressing reality through strokes and shades, breaking the barriers of traditional art, modern-age artists are experimenting with different techniques. They’ve started incorporating new objects, materials, and industrial tools to create various artistic expressions

Here we have compiled five alternative painting techniques artists should be familiar with.

Building Up Texture

For this technique, painters need to use dry flat brushes that can blend and create smooth transitions. Imagine your work covered in textures and lots of brush marks. And mind you, anything can be used to create those textures.

Although ready-made texture media are available, try to think outside the box and dig up ideas like eggshells and sand blending to form a texture. You can be creative and use anything to create those blends and textures to create art.

A pro tip is to use an old toothbrush to splatter the paint on the image. Such brush action can add more noise and grains to your work.


Just like other painting techniques, the pouring painting technique is about experimenting with materials and colors. The idea is simple yet colorful. It requires you to pour paint directly onto the canvas and spill different colors according to the imagery in your mind.

You can pour different colors to form a dreamy, unexpected, and swirling pattern. This method takes you back to the works of David Alfaro during Abstract Expressionism. Many other famous artists have used this method of painting and composing art that uses pure colors and quality canvases.

You can get inspiration from the works contributed during the Post-Painterly Abstraction movement.

Blocking In

Painting brushes are available in different shapes and fiber types. Each of them helps you get a different outcome of your artwork. The key to this method is to apply all these brushes to create an unexpected transition.

The most elegant form is a synthetic or sable mix. These brushes are commonly used with different paint types. You can choose to select among the different flat and round shapes of brushes to create your image.

It would be helpful to use a wide range of brushes. For most of the high-quality work, you can use larger, flatter, and broader brushes. A filbert is a fine general brush for blocking in the method of drawing. With its dual nature, you can cover the details as well as larger areas.

Splattering and Dripping

You must’ve already heard of Jackson Pollock and his abstract painting pieces. He made these abstract pieces by dripping paint onto a canvas. Many other artists also experimented with this technique before him.

During the 15th Century, Japanese Zen Buddhist painters used splashing ink and methods like splattering and dripping to express the connection between the art and the artist. Many considered Pollock’s work as his footprints of life and the creation of a particular moment.

His ideas were related to the Existentialism philosophy expressing the essence of life using various objects like metal rods, kitchen tools, sticks, artist’s cigarette buds, and so on. You can, therefore, create such experimental artwork that is inspired by his work.

Pulling and Scraping

The Dutch abstract expressionist Willem de Kooning is the inspiration behind the idea of art involving pulling and scraping. He used a palette knife to create his artwork that is an inspiration to many other artists in the making.

Another example is the German contemporary painter Gerhard Richter who used a squeegee to create his image. This method is somewhat similar to splattering and dripping. You need to let the medium dominate the result of your artwork.

For this exact method, you will have a lot of inspiration from historic works contributed by brilliant artists. For instance, the drags, scrapes, and smear layers by Richter used in his art in Corinna Belz’s fly-on-the-wall documentary can be a true inspiration.

Final Thoughts

Paintings are expressions of the thought in your mind, the inspiration you acquire from developed work and happenings around you. It becomes a story when you indulge yourself in creating unique work with tools and methods in your ways. Something that differs from artist to artist! Can you find other creative ways to make art?

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