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Painting Techniques

Updated: May 4, 2022

Are you a budding painter? When you're just getting started with painting, it’s important to build a solid foundation in basic painting techniques and styles, including familiarity with different palettes, tonalities, brushstrokes, surface management, and composition. There are many different kinds of techniques when it comes to portrait drawing, figure drawing, or animal drawing.

Painting beautifully is more than just having natural talent; it’s about dedication to mastering the techniques

Brushes are one of the most essential tools for an artist and based on what brush you use you will be able to create different painting techniques. They come in different sizes and bristles, each producing different results. The most versatile are synthetic/sable blends, then you have flats that are great for drawing wide surface areas like grasses and landscape, and round and pointy for finer details.

Here are a few painting techniques that can help add to your artistic toolkit.


When working with oils or acrylics, it's critical not to ever start with white. To develop shadow and contrasts, start with a burned umber underdrawing or a blend of burnt sienna and phthalo blues. Acrylics, which are rapid drying and persistent, are probably the perfect medium to get started with before moving to oil painting.

Use larger, flatter, and broader brushes for underpainting and setting your initial composition. They’re great for backgrounds as well.


It's just as crucial to remove paint as it is to apply it. Sgraffito is the process of scraping away paint while it is still wet to reveal the underpainting. It's particularly useful for representing scrapes, hair, meadows, and other similar details. You can do this with nearly any pointed object, such as a rubber sculpting tool or a brush's tip.


Glazing is the act of forming a thin layer of translucent paints on a dried area of a canvas in order to enhance reflections and modulate colors. For example, you can create a nice reflection off the water by glazing a green hue from layering a light transparent blue over a dried yellow.

Mixing Mediums

Mediums are liquids that are mixed into the paint to change their composition viscosity, and textures. Different types of acrylics can make the paint matte or glossy.


A filbert brush is a versatile, all-around brush for shaping and paint blocking. It incorporates characteristics of the flat and round brush so that it can handle details as well as big areas to cover.

Texture Building

Make sure you have a dry, flat brush to meld your paint and make a seamless transition. With texture painting, you can add some roughness and show brush traces in your own artwork. In addition to prepared texture materials, some artists have experimented with eggshells and sand to give depth to a painting. Another option is to scatter points on your artwork with an old toothbrush to create a noisy and gritty effect.

Dry Brushing

This technique involves covering a portion of a previously dried coat of paint. Use a small amount of paint on your brush and apply it in fast, directed strokes. This technique is great for simulating rock and grassy patterns because it works best when spreading light paints over dark places.


You can visit Ino Chang to get inspiration from paintings that were done with the aforementioned techniques. Ino Chang is a California-based painter and an animal, landscape, and portrait artist. You can check out other guides on paintings and also buy art online.

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