Before the brush hits the canvas, one of the most crucial phases in creating acrylic paint work occurs pigment mixing. Acquiring an understanding of how to mix acrylic paint accurately — including a few tips and methods — will help you to create magnificent colors that will increase the brightness and realism of your artwork.

Acrylic paint mixing

This collection of 11 hacks, tips, and practical methods for acrylic paint mixing teaches you some fundamental ideas – without having to learn them the hard way! Continue reading to discover how to generate incredible colors and acrylic paint like a professional.

1. Include white or a lighter shade of a colour to provide complexity.

Have you ever noticed that when acrylic paint is applied directly from the tube, the surface of your acrylic painting seems flat and hard? Consider using a little white or a paler version of the hue you’re using to add intricacy to the color. Simply making this little tweak may add a tremendous lot of dimension to your artwork.

2. Use white to accentuate the brilliance of the colors.

You’ve undoubtedly noticed that certain acrylic paint colors are more opaque than others if you’ve painted with a selection of them. By incorporating a little amount of white paint into any hue, you may boost its opacity while also achieving a more balanced tone.

Above, the red paint on the left is straight from the tube, while the red acrylic paint on the right has a dab of white added.

Personally, I increase the opacity of practically every color I paint by adding a little bit of white. Purchase a large tube of white acrylic paint – it will come in handy in this instance.

3. Avoid the usage of black to enhance the brightness of colors.

Given that white is used to lighten colors, it stands to reason that black would be used to darken them. Not quite so rapidly.

Due to the tendency of black paint to produce muddy and murky colours, it is best used in compositions where this effect works to your advantage. Brown or dark blue may be used to create a deeper but still vibrant tone. While this may look unusual, the final outcome will be more vibrant and natural.

Consider the above-mentioned yellow combos. Yellow paint straight from the tube is visible on the far left. In the middle blend, yellow and brown colors were combined to give a pleasing burned mustard colour. I blended yellow and black on the far right — the outcome was not the deep amber tone I anticipated.

4. Create a basic skin tone using essential colors.

What is the secret to achieving an ideal skin tone base? Combine all of the primary colors.

5. Add a tint of green or blue to skin tones

While adding a splash of green or blue to a skin tone may seem to be painting an alien picture, have confidence! A little quantity (minimal!) of blue or green paint added to a skin tone may provide depth and complexity, making the hue seem more natural. Take a close look at the skin tone you’re seeking to match to determine if this is a good tip for you.

6. How about infusing blues with…red?

How can you create deep blue oceans, magnificent blue skies, and lovely blue blossoms? A very little amount of red acrylic paint. A touch of red is seen in the swatch on the right, above.

The trick is to avoid adding too much; else, your wonderful blue will become a dark purple. However, a little amount of red may provide a richness to blues, preventing them from seeming too flat. You can read about How to know if your acrylic paint can withstand freezing temperatures by clicking here.

7. In a couple of seconds, create brown paint using just fundamental colors

To produce brown paint, the easiest method is to blend equal (or nearly equal) quantities of the primary colors. By combining yellow, red, and blue, brown paint is created in a flash. Then, by adding more of one colour or white, you may get the right shade of brown.

8. Begin with a basic drawing of your colour and then refine it.

Contrary to popular belief, colour mixing does not have to be complex. This is my approach: Create a very basic representation of the colour you’re looking for and then refine it.

For example, to produce a tangerine orange, begin by combining equal parts red and yellow paint. This will very probably result in a more orange tint, so select what colour the colour should become. In this case, adding more yellow and a touch of white helps. Gradually add hues, fine-tuning each one to match your exact needs.

9. Create colour mixes that are one or two shades lighter than the ultimate outcome you want.

Perhaps this is self-evident, yet it bears repeating: Your acrylic paint will finish somewhat darker than the colour it appears on the palette. When blending colors, keep this in mind and strive for a shade or two lighter than the final outcome.

To check the finished color, use the same technique as with room acrylic paint: Smudge a little quantity onto a piece of paper to see how it dries.

Establish a colour family

Create a “family” of tones centered on a colour you’ve mixed for a significant element in your image.

Consider the case where you’ve discovered the perfect shade of blue for the vase of flowers you’re painting. Create a version of that blue colour that has a hint of yellow, another that contains a tinge of red, and so on.

This can help you create realistic-looking shadows and highlights in various regions of the image. It will seem more natural than smearing red paint on the surface!

11. Stock antique film canisters with a selection of tints.

Once you’ve achieved the perfect colour, remember to save it! Due to the fact that acrylic can dry up if left out, store any leftovers in airtight containers such as film canisters (which can be purchased in bulk on sites such as eBay or Amazon). This will aid in colour preservation if you need to take a break or choose to resume painting the following day. Visit to meet your Australian artist.

Final thoughts

Prior to the brush ever touching the canvas, one of the most critical stages in the process of making an acrylic painting occurs: pigment mixing. Acquiring a grasp of how to effectively mix acrylic paint — including a few tips and techniques — will enable you to produce amazing colors that will add brightness and realism to your artwork.