Painting Techniques Exploring Different Styles and Effects


Painting is a versatile art form with countless different styles and effects. Understanding different techniques will help you expand your skills and find a style that suits your interests.

Realism focuses on capturing precise proportions and details, creating lifelike artworks. This technique is a popular choice for portraits and landscapes.


Scattering involves applying paint randomly, allowing it to drip and flow across the canvas. This painting technique is great for capturing movement, such as wind or rain and can be used to add texture too. This method is often used by abstract expressionists, like Jackson Pollock, and is especially effective when painting treetops and greenery.

Stippling is the process of painting tiny dots, in a variety of shades and colors, to create an interesting texture that your eye reads as solid shapes from a distance. It’s often used with abstract paintings but can be applied to give a realistic finish to subjects too, such as stars in the night sky or flowers.

This technique is all about adding texture to your painting and it’s a great way to show depth. It’s easy to do and you can use any type of paint brush. Some artists even add things like egg shell or sand to their acrylic paints for this purpose.


Stippling involves using small dots to create different shapes, textures, and shadows. It can be a great way to express a definite symbol or add depth to your painting. It can also be used to create a shimmering effect or show movement in your work, such as the growth rings in a tree.

This technique is popular amongst artists because it is both attractive and easy to learn. You can use different sizes of dots and space them closer or farther apart to create the desired effect. This is a good technique to practice for beginners to help them understand how to create value (lightness and darkness).

Another great painting technique to try is meandering, which uses parallel lines to create shading and texture. This was a popular technique amongst renaissance painters such as Rembrandt and Caravaggio, and can really bring your paintings to life!


Underpainting is one of the most important painting techniques. It allows artists to map out the tonal values of their painting before they begin to apply color on top, and it creates a foundation that will allow them to build more complex textures.

There are several different ways to underpaint, but the most common is using monochromatic colors (such as greys or burnt sienna) because they can help map out all of the light and dark areas. This technique is known as grisaille or imprimatura, and it was a popular method amongst renaissance masters because it allowed them to use inexpensive earth pigments for the base layers.

Other underpainting techniques include dabbing and glazing. Dabbing involves repeatedly tapping the paint on the canvas to spread it and create a textured effect. Glazing is applying a coat of transparent paint over dry paint. It’s used for intensifying shadows or modulating the color of a scene, such as adding green by applying light transparent blue over yellow.


Using transparent paint layers over an area that’s already dry, this painting technique is used for intensifying shadows and modulating color. For example, a light blue glaze over dry yellow will create green. This method is often used for creating tree foliage, grasses and other textures.

Gestural painting involves making sweeping movements with the brush that reflect an artist’s emotions or states of mind when working on a canvas. This expressive style is seen in paintings by artists such as Willem de Kooning and Jackson Pollock.

Rather than smoothing out brushstrokes, the drybrush technique creates an effect that looks like uneven flakes of one color showing through another. This is best when painting a texture, as the paint attaches to the top of ridges and valleys and leaves other colors visible underneath. Use opaque paint with no medium and a stiff bristle brush to accomplish this. Many painters prefer this technique to eliminating the evidence of brush strokes entirely.

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