5 Common Acrylic Painting Techniques

5 Common Acrylic Painting Techniques
Acrylic painting techniques and works were popularised by the Pop Art Movement because they served as its primary media. The art of acrylic painting is quite new and fresh, since the type of colours used came into existence after the 1930s, and was commercially available for artists even later than that, sometime during the 1950s.

In the modern times, acrylic painting techniques are commonly preferred by experts as well as amateurs due to their durability, flexibility and easiness in correction of mistakes. They exist in several variations, some of which have become more popular than others, particularly because of their own unique characteristics.

Given below are a few common techniques used in contemporary acrylic painting:

Flat Colour

Since acrylic paints have a high level of opacity, they can be used for producing uniform, flat colour areas. This technique generally comes in handy when there is a need to create something abstract, featuring flat sections of shades with precise and crisp edges. Only opaque colours are used for it and if at all a transparent one is needed, it is mixed with something opaque.


This technique involves cutting out shapes from plastic, paper or cardboard and then using them like masks for applying acrylic paints in specific areas. It is utilised for making monotone shapes, and also intricate ones with the help of layers of stencils.

Acrylic Sgraffito

The meaning of the term ‘sgraffito’ is scratch, and the painting technique requires one to actually scratch the top paint layer for exposing a bottom one of some other colour. The effect can be achieved using a variety of tools, such as brush handle tip, a wire brush or a painting knife’s edge.

Acrylic Glazing

Acrylic colours can also be applied on top of each other for obtaining a glazing effect. It is not the same as mixing 2 shades, rather the second layer of colour is applied after the first one dries. This technique allows the hues to amalgamate only in the eyes of the viewer and helps to maintain luminous quality.


Impasto refers to usage of paint straight from the tube for creating a textured and thick surface. Sometimes, one may require to add a retarder for manipulating the paint. The resulting painting stands apart from the surface and reflects a powerful effect.

These techniques may be used either as standalone methods, or in combination for achieving various styles and textures, as deemed necessary by an artist.

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