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How to Start Acrylic Painting: Getting Over the Fear

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Cincinnati chapter.

Have you ever wanted to paint but were intimidated by the cost and skill? I’m here, as an art student, to tell you that it’s easy with just a little investment.

Everyone likes to think that if you have better supplies, you make better art. While expensive, professional art supplies are higher quality than cheap craft store materials, you can make great art with pretty cheap stuff.

When I first started painting, my parents weren’t going to shell out $30 a paint tube. That kind of expense was definitely too much. Instead, I got paint tube sets from Michaels or Amazon on Christmases or birthdays, and I loved these gifts because they gave me a great start. These cheap paints are much better than you might think, and I’m going to tell you how to get started!


First, you have to buy or gather supplies. These are the things you’ll need:

  1. Acrylic paint (Brands that I recommend are Artist’s Loft, Blickrylic, Arteza, and Liquitex Basics)

  2. Brushes (Semi-cheap synthetic brush sets can be great. Don’t go too cheap, though, or your brushes will fall apart!)

  3. Plastic palette knives

  4. Plastic well palette

  5. A cup or glass jar for water

  6. Paper towels

  7. Canvases or thick painting paper

The basic colors that I use are white, black, red, yellow, blue, and brown. You can also buy greens, purples, or oranges if you don’t want to mix those colors yourself. There are so many colors out there, so buy the ones that you like! This can also be just a starting point. Explore and find out which supplies you like best!

Second, now that you have an idea of what to get, we have to talk about the fear of starting a painting. For someone who doesn’t make art often, it can feel intimidating when you look at another person’s work. I’m here to tell you that it’s okay to mess up. When you look at a painting and think “Wow, I could never do that. I don’t have enough talent,” I can guarantee you that the artist has made thousands of mistakes in their career leading up to that one painting. It is okay to make mistakes. Painting, especially as a hobby, is all about having fun and expressing yourself.

Third, get started! There are so many tutorials out there to follow and so many different things to paint. Try an abstract painting, a landscape, or a portrait! Follow a Bob Ross tutorial or paint your pet! The possibilities are endless, and I’m rooting for you!

Katherine Donaghy

Cincinnati '24

Katherine is a Fine Arts major at the University of Cincinnati’s DAAP Program. She loves art, music, the environment, and staying up to date on current events.