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How To Avoid Brush Strokes When Painting With Acrylics

One of the most popular painting methods is using acrylics, for it is flexible, durable, and reasonably priced. As trivial painting may seem, it is not just mixing colors and labeling it as “abstract.” It is much more than that. It is a language, a way of expressing ideas colorfully and beautifully. Art in general, is a form of expression. People use art to express their ideas, abstract yet magnificent. 

It is difficult to avoid brush strokes while painting with acrylics. Many painters struggle to get this one thing right, brush strokes. One reason that makes it difficult to avoid brush strokes is the fact that acrylic dries up quickly. One needs to have good knowledge of what tools they are using to increase painting efficacy. 

Following, we have a few brush techniques for acrylic painting 

Before moving on to the techniques, you should have a basic idea about putting your colors while painting. Remember, the mixture of two colors gives rise to the third color. To become a professional painter, you should have a firm knowledge of color mixing. You don’t want unnecessary color combinations to ruin your painting. Let’s discuss a few brush techniques for acrylic painting.

Drybrush

The name suggests it is a raw acrylic color without any dilution. There are many dry brushing brushes. This brush, with a small portion of thick paint, can do wonders. This brushing technique allows you to showcase textures and details with very little brush strokes.

Flat wash

Acrylic is a thicker paint, and it is opaque. Paint wash is when the paint is water-downed to a limit where it resembles watercolor but still acrylic. Washes, when used upon other colors they can help to dull them down. Washes can also be used to show translucency and easy to overlap. When creating washes, a considerable amount of washes should be added to thin the paint out.

Stippling

The stippling brush technique uses small dots or marks scattered all over the canvas to create textures and tones. Use different brushes to make dots. Gently press the brush against the canvas and create marks of different sizes. Experiment with colors and see what leads to what, but keeping in mind all the mixtures that will rise to dull and dark color.

A softer brush will produce a blurred effect, while a stiff brush will produce a more regular effect.  

Hatching

Hatching basically builds up the tone and texture. It is usually used to give a texture to the painting. While using hatching, use brush strokes in different directions. It can also be used to blend colors.

Synthetic brushes have smother hairs than natural ones, thus allowing you to hold less paint for smoother results. That is smoother and softer strokes. So far, size is concerned; it depends on what you are painting.

For example, a larger area required a larger brush to cover up the whole area and give it a softer and smoother look. Using a smaller brush to cover up a large area is a bad idea. Firstly, it is time-consuming, and secondly, it will create unwanted parallel or divergent texture, which you want to avoid. Using acrylic colors will definitely increase the chances of visible brush strokes, which will ruin the painting unless you have any creative idea of incorporating brush strokes marks into your painting.

Avoiding brush strokes is no easy task, especially painting with acrylics since acrylics dry up fast, leaving behind the marks.

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Below are tips on how to avoid brush strokes when painting with acrylics 

Canvas 

It is important to choose a canvas properly. A smooth surface is always the best option. They are quite costly, but still buying one smooth surface will definitely be worth it. If you cannot manage a smooth canvas, then not to worry. There is a solution to this problem too. What you can do is buy a normal canvas and apply acrylic gesso all over it. This will make your canvas a lot smoother. Smoothness is directly proportional to the amount of gesso used. That being said, use it to your liking but make sure not overdo it. Anything beyond limit makes things worse.

Painting in thin layers

Try to paint in thin layers. This will improve the quality of your painting. Using thick layer paint is the wrong choice, for it will only give you ridges. Do not use color more than required. Remove if you have already used a surplus color.  

Blending

Blending is an essential part of any form of artwork. It provides a smooth transition between two different colors. This technique is widely used in oil painting. When using acrylics, blending is a bit difficult because it dries up very quickly. Keeping that in mind, you have to blend as much as possible before it completely dries up. Choosing a suitable brush is necessary. I would suggest you go for a soft mop brush. Just a gentle touch and you are good to go. Blend out all the visible strokes before it dries up. 

Opaque paint

Avoid using transparent paints. You have to coat several times to get good coverage. This will lead to unwanted ridges in painting. Use opaque color instead of better coverage since it requires lesser coats and decreases the probability of streaking. You can use transparent color if you want but for coverage purposes, always go for opaque colors.

Mist with water

Use water to mist your canvas and painting. This will help you in blending. There are misters available in the market. Use one of those. Avoid water sprays since the droplets are comparably larger that will leave watermarks on your painting, and you don’t want that in your painting if you don’t have a mister, no problem. Surely you have an old deodorant or perfume spray bottle. Once emptied can serve greatly as a mister. 

Flow improver

This is used to improve the flow of paint. This means it will reduce the viscosity of the acrylic paint. Sometimes surfaces get a bit rough and make it difficult to stroke. The surface tension of water in the paint will leave marks on paints. Hence people use flow improver to reduce this surface tension of water for smoother results. It also helps in reducing the time taken by acrylic paint to dry, thus providing time for blending the ridges. 

Flow improver is diluted first before applying onto paint or brush. But you must be careful about not using excessive flow improver. An excessive flow improver will undoubtedly make your painting buttery smooth, but it will also cause your painting sticky and wet for a prolonged period.

Airbrush 

There are various ways to use airbrushes. An airbrush requires two parameters to work, and those are paint and air. You can create a smooth base layer by using acrylic paint. The cleaning of the airbrush should be done carefully before using it. Many airbrushes usually have paint blocking the inside. For a soft and smoother background, what you can do is, use a mister to make your paint wet. Then let it dry and then start with your painting. 

Soft brush

 When it comes to acrylic painting, the synthetic soft brush works the best than a normal or regular soft brush. There are a plethora of brushes in the market, choose the one that suits you, experiment with different brushes, and analyze which is best for you. Don’t go for expensive brushes. Expensive doesn’t always provide the best results. Surely the brush’s quality will be high, but it all depends on the master who is using it. In the end, it doesn’t matter which sword a man is using while fighting; all that matters is who is using the sword. 

The brush should be fully loaded

If your brush is not fully loaded, then it will leave streaks. So, make sure that paint is all over your brush before painting. Use a pallet if you excess paint on your brush. This will not only help you to reduce the excess amount of paint but also help you to get a smoother gradient. 

Dilution 

Add water on your brush, and then dip it into acrylic paint. This will allow you to move freely across your canvas. Make sure not to dip the brush into the water completely. This will make the acrylic color wet and will dilute the paint. If there is excess water, then wipe it off. Dilution makes blending easy and softens the bristles.

Choose the correct brush

Any form of work required knowledge. The same is applicable for painting. Choose the brush according to your needs. Using a small flat brush for quite more extensive coverage is not appreciable. It will not only take a longer time to paint but also leave ridges all over the painting. For detailing, use a liner brush bigger brushes for bigger areas and smaller for smaller areas. 

Glossy finish

If you want your painting to look extra smooth, then it is a good idea to varnish your painting with acrylic gloss varnish. You will eventually get a lot better, beautiful, and smoother outcome. Give your painting a glossy look. 

Fluid paint 

Acrylic paints are thicker. The only problem with thicker acrylic is it perpetuates brush strokes. Fluid acrylics, on the other hand, are softer and thinner. They don’t retain brush strokes at all. This is an advantage of using fluid acrylics over normal thicker acrylics. If you are wondering since fluid acrylics are thinner, will there be any change in the color’s depth? The answer is NO. Both of these paints have similar pigments. Hence there will be no difference between the color depths. There are different varieties of fluid acrylics available out there, but you need to choose good quality fluid acrylics because some companies manufacture low quality fluid acrylics that dry more quickly than normal thicker acrylics.

Avoid pressing too hard

Don’t be hard on yourself and brush. Avoid too much pressure. The more you scrub more prominent will be the brush strokes. But we need to paint acrylics without brush strokes. Keeping that in mind, it is not a good idea to exert so much pressure while applying paint. It will not only damage your brush but will leave filthy ridges and streaks. A light touch is always best for blending or any other painting technique. 

Avoid brushing in one place

If your paint is wet, then it is a bad idea to brush that area over and over again in order to dry it up. It will create disturbing marks in your painting. 

Clean brush

Make sure to clean your brush after coloring a particular area. Make it a habit to clean the brush after finishing every coloring task. Unclean brushes will lead to an unwanted mixture of colors, which will leave marks in your painting. Wait till it is dried to avoid brush strokes when painting with acrylics.

As easy it may seem, painting is rather a difficult task. You need to have a firm knowledge of the various types of canvases, brushes, and other relevant tools. To reduce brush strokes or avoid brush strokes when painting with acrylics, you must know the various kinds of brushes. Experiment with them and see which one works the best for you. Which one is giving you the desired result, and stick to that until you do something better? Avoiding brush strokes when painting with acrylics could be challenging, but what’s the fun doing something that doesn’t question our skills? 

With a bit of practice, you will be able to master the various acrylic painting techniques and eventually paint beautiful paintings without any brush strokes.

Conclusion

Experiment with various colors and brushes to your knowledge and see which leads to what. You will get an idea about how to master acrylic painting by yourself. So far, avoiding brush strokes are concerned, use these above techniques and you are good to go. It will solve half of the painting related problems. 

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