How to Render Special Effects in Acrylic Painting

Written by joy campbell
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How to Render Special Effects in Acrylic Painting
Use a splattering effect to create a field of flowers. (John Foxx/Stockbyte/Getty Images)

Rendering special effects with acrylic paint gives art work a rich texture. Artists use special brush techniques such as dry brushing and splattering along with techniques such as scraping and combing. Dry brushing creates a broken texture often applied to render rough surfaces such as bricks and stones. Splattering adds a texture effect that helps to contrast colour. The scraping effect creates sharp-edge objects such as buildings, and the combing effect makes nice abstract-style artwork.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Paint
  • Card
  • Comb
  • Toothbrush
  • Paint brush

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    Dry Brush

  1. 1

    Create a brick or stone effect by painting a thick base coat, allowing the brush strokes to show.

  2. 2

    Load the brush with another shade of paint and blot off with a paper towel or rag. Drag the paint across the canvas in brick shape.

  3. 3

    Repeat with more layers of colours to create a textured effect.


  1. 1

    Mask off the canvas with newspaper so only the work area shows.

  2. 2

    Create a coarse splatter by loading the paintbrush with paint and using the index finger to rub across the top of the brush.

  3. 3

    Create fine splatters by using a toothbrush or diffuser.


  1. 1

    Scrap paint on the surface of the canvas using a plastic card or spatula. This creates a thin layer across the surface. Let dry.

  2. 2

    Apply a second coat of paint using a different colour, allowing some of the first colour to show through. Let dry.

  3. 3

    Continue applying coats of paint as needed to build up colour and texture.


  1. 1

    Apply a layer of paint. Let dry

  2. 2

    Apply a second layer of paint using a different colour. Keep the layers of paint thin. If you apply them too thickly, the paint will form ridges.

  3. 3

    Drag a comb through the paint to create fine lines, and allow the first coat of paint to show through. Experiment with combing in different directions.

  4. 4

    Repeat the process as needed to create an abstract piece of art.

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