How to Get Good at Painting


Painting is the process of applying paint to a surface, usually paper or canvas, to create an illusion of space and three-dimensionality. In order to achieve this, it’s important that the painter has a good understanding of color theory and how different colors interact with each other. Also, it’s critical that the painter has a good grasp of the anatomy of the brush and how to apply it. This can be learned by watching master painters and attempting to emulate their technique. Finally, it’s important that the painter understand how to use light and shadow to help create the illusion of depth.

Many beginner painters have trouble with balancing the different hues in their paintings, which is why it’s so crucial to learn about color theory. The colors in a painting are created by mixing various shades and tints of the same color. For example, adding white to a shade of red will create a lighter version of that color, while adding black will produce a dark shade of the same hue. By experimenting with these different combinations, you can create a wide range of shades and tones to add richness and variety to your paintings.

When a painting is first started, it’s usually best to sketch it before laying down any paint. This helps the painter to establish a composition and decide where to place the shapes of the image. It’s also an excellent way to practice drawing skills. It’s a good idea to use a charcoal pencil for this purpose, or if you’re painting photorealist style, a permanent marker with a fine tip will do the trick.

Another painting skill that is useful to develop is how to blend paint. While it’s sometimes necessary to blend some colors, it’s important to know when to stop blending and just let the paint look “naked”. This is especially true in achieving a realistic painting, as smooth blended shadows can often appear unnatural and fake. It’s also helpful to keep in mind that many classic paintings do not have all of their colors blended together, which can be very jarring to the eye.

While it’s helpful to try to mimic the techniques of master painters, it’s equally important for new painters to discover their own styles and techniques. By experimenting with different approaches to a given subject, you can see what aspects of painting come naturally to you and what aspects require more time and attention. You may find that you prefer to paint with a brush rather than a knife, for instance, or that you have a tendency to overwork your paintings.

Novice painters are prone to being their own worst critics and focusing on the mistakes in their work, but it’s important that you learn to celebrate your successes as well. Even if it’s just one confident brushstroke or a beautiful interaction of colors, recognizing these moments will give you the motivation to continue developing your painting abilities.