How to Paint Gradient Color

Written by leah newman
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How to Paint Gradient Color
Disposable sponge brushes work best for painting a gradient technique. (Hemera Technologies/ Images)

Creating a gradient colour with acrylic paint is a technique that creates a fade from a dark shade to a lighter shade of the same colour, or from one colour to another within the same side of the colour wheel. Painting gradients is a technique that is easy to begin but hard to perfect. Painting gradients in acrylic paint can be done with paint brushes, but tends to be easier for beginners with sponge brushes.

Skill level:
Moderately Challenging

Things you need

  • 3 colours acrylic paint
  • Five sponge brushes

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  1. 1

    Apply a thick coat of the lightest tone of paint to the canvas using a sponge brush.

  2. 2

    Immediately add a section of the middle tone of paint two to three inches below the lightest tone with another sponge brush. Take a third brush and move it between the two in a circular motion, mixing the two tones in the blank area.

  3. 3

    Continue blending these two sections until a gradient appears. A smaller, clean sponge can be used if finer blending is necessary.

  4. 4

    Add a section of the dark tone below the medium tone. Add more of the medium tone if necessary.

  5. 5

    Blend the middle and dark tones in a circular motion with a sponge brush until a gradient appears.

  6. 6

    Allow to dry for four to six hours before applying any paint on the top of the thick layers of acrylic paint used to paint the gradient.

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