How to Gradient Acrylic Paint

By Suzanne Smith Dickinson
Creating a gradient with acrylic paint adds texture and depth to any painting.

Acrylic paints can be some of the most versatile and easy to use for artists and crafters. They can be used on a variety of surfaces and combined with different mediums and additives for multi-dimensional effects. Painting a gradient is a form of blending, taking a specific color from its darkest shade to its lightest and is one of the effects you can create with acrylic paint.

Creating a Gradient

Squeeze a quarter-size dab of your acrylic color and another of your white on your palette. Take up some of the white paint on your brush and paint a wide line across the canvas paper.

Dab the brush used for the white paint still into the color acrylic. Use just a small amount, and mix it into your white dab. Paint another wide line using the new color next to the white line, overlapping the two lines.

Pick up a little more of the acrylic color and add it to your new color. Paint another line, again overlapping. Continue to do this until you paint wide line that is the full color, without using any white. This will be your last line.

Clean your brush thoroughly with the water and dry the bristles with the dry rag, or use a new dry brush. Starting from the white stripe, stroke the brush down in a continuous strokes across all the lines. Continue until the lines are fully blended and you cannot see where each darker stripe of color was added. The colors should blend from white to solid color without any space between the lines painted.

Tip

Acrylics dry quickly, so you may want to add a slow-dry additive to the paint to allow the blending.

Add black to the color instead of white to create a gradient that blends from the color into black.

Warning

Always paint in a ventilated area to avoid inhaling any fumes. Wear a paint smock to protect clothes from paint stains.

About the Author

Suzanne Smith Dickinson has been a professional writer since 1989. She currently maintains a humorous blog that has garnered national attention. Her articles have appeared in "Community Health Forum" magazine, and many of the Suburban newspapers and special sections in Michigan, Georgia and North Carolina. She attended Georgia State University as an Honors English student.