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How to Render Special Effects in Acrylic Painting

Updated July 20, 2017

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.

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

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

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

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

  6. Create fine splatters by using a toothbrush or diffuser.

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

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

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

  10. Apply a layer of paint. Let dry

  11. 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.

  12. 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.

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

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Things You'll Need

  • Paint
  • Card
  • Comb
  • Toothbrush
  • Paint brush

About the Author

Based in southern Florida, Joy Campbell has been professionally writing since 2009. She is the author of "Journal of Ideas: Volume One." Campbell holds a Master of Education with a concentration in instructional technology from the University of South Florida.

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