Beginner's Guide: 10 Steps to Learn Painting in a Year
Written by  Daisie Team
Published on 9 min read


  1. Choose Your Painting Tools
  2. Learn About Color Theory
  3. Start With Basic Sketching
  4. Practice Painting Techniques
  5. Paint From Life
  6. Experiment with Styles and Mediums
  7. Attend Art Workshops or Classes
  8. Create Your Own Art Studio
  9. Join a Local Art Community
  10. Create and Revisit Your Art Portfolio

So, you want to learn how to paint and you're wondering how to learn painting in a year? Well, it's possible! With a dash of dedication, a sprinkle of practice, and a hearty scoop of creativity, you can start your painting journey today. This blog post will guide you through ten practical steps to help you navigate your artistic voyage.

Choose Your Painting Tools

Just like a chef in a kitchen, your tools can make or break your painting experience. Before you start painting, you'll need to pick out some basic tools. But don't worry, you don't have to break the bank. Here's a simple list to get you started:

  • Paint: Acrylics are a fantastic option for beginners. They're easy to work with and dry quickly. Plus, they're available in a wide range of colors.
  • Brushes: Variety is the spice of life—and painting! Have a range of brush sizes at your disposal. This gives you more flexibility when painting different details.
  • Canvas: A basic white canvas is a great place to start. They come in a variety of sizes, so choose what suits your space and painting goals.
  • Palette: This is where you'll mix your colors. It could be as simple as a piece of plastic or glass.
  • Easel: While not strictly necessary, an easel can help keep your canvas stable while you paint.
  • Cleaning supplies: Remember, painting can get messy! Have some paper towels and a cup of water nearby for easy brush cleaning.

As you progress, you might find you prefer certain brands or types of paint and brushes. That's part of the fun of learning how to paint—discovering what works best for you!

Keep in mind, the most important thing is that you start. You'll learn the most by doing. So, take the first step towards learning how to paint in a year by getting your hands on some painting tools and start creating!

Learn About Color Theory

Color is the spice in the dish that is your painting. It can change the entire mood and feel of your art piece. But how do you decide which colors to use? Enter: color theory. Color theory is your roadmap to understanding how colors work together.

Ever noticed how some colors seem to pop when placed next to each other, while others seem to blend in? That's color theory in action! Let's break down some of the key terms:

  • Primary Colors: These are your bread and butter. Red, yellow, and blue can't be made by mixing other colors.
  • Secondary Colors: Mix two primary colors, and voila! You've got secondary colors. Blue and yellow make green, red and yellow make orange, and blue and red make purple.
  • Tertiary Colors: These are made by mixing a primary color with a secondary color. Think: red-orange or blue-green.
  • Complementary Colors: These colors are opposite each other on the color wheel. When placed next to each other, they create vibrant contrasts. Red and green are a classic example.
  • Analogous Colors: These are neighbors on the color wheel. They create harmonious color schemes. A sunset, for example, might have an analogous color scheme with reds, oranges, and yellows.

Learning about color theory is a big step in understanding how to learn painting in a year. It's the secret sauce that can take your painting from good to great. So, grab your paints and start mixing. Experiment with different combinations and see what speaks to you. Remember, it's all about expressing yourself!

Start With Basic Sketching

Before you jump into painting, it's important to start with the basics of sketching. Think of it as the blueprint for your painting. It’s the skeleton that holds your painting together, and it allows you to plan out your composition before you commit to paint.

So, how can you get started with sketching? Here are some steps to follow:

  1. Choose your subject: Whether you want to sketch a bowl of fruit or a beautiful landscape, picking a subject is your first step. Remember, it doesn't need to be complex. Even a simple shape can make for an interesting sketch.
  2. Observe: Look at your subject from different angles. Notice the lines, shapes, and shadows. Observation is key in sketching.
  3. Start drawing: Don't worry about making it perfect. Your sketch is just a guide, not the final product. Use light, loose strokes to outline the basic shapes and then add more details as you go.
  4. Practice: The more you sketch, the better you'll get. It's all about training your eye to see and your hand to translate what you see onto the paper.

Learning how to sketch can be a game-changer when trying to figure out how to learn painting in a year. It's like learning to walk before you run. So, grab your sketchbook and start exploring. Who knows, you might just surprise yourself with what you can create!

Practice Painting Techniques

Once you've mastered the art of sketching, it's time to dive into the colorful world of painting. Now, you might be wondering, "What are the techniques I should know?" Don't worry, we've got you covered. Here are some basic painting techniques to get you started on your journey to learn painting in a year:

  1. Underpainting: This is the first layer of paint applied to a canvas, typically a color that complements the primary colors in your piece. It sets the mood and tone of your artwork.
  2. Glazing: Glazing involves applying a thin, transparent layer of paint over another dried layer. It can add depth and luminosity to your painting, enhancing the overall appearance.
  3. Dry Brush: Dry brushing means using a brush with very little paint and no water. It creates a strong, textured stroke that can add an interesting dynamic to your painting.
  4. Scumbling: Scumbling is the technique of applying a thin layer of light, opaque paint over a dried, darker layer. It can create a soft, hazy effect, perfect for those dreamy landscapes.

Practicing these techniques can be fun and enlightening. But remember, the key to mastering them is patience and persistence. Don't be discouraged if you don't get them right the first time. Keep going, and soon you'll find your own rhythm and style. After all, learning how to paint in a year is not about perfection, but progress.

Paint From Life

Photos can be a great reference, but nothing beats the real deal. Painting from life helps you see and understand the world in a whole new way. It trains your eye to notice light, shadow, color, and detail. It's like suddenly seeing the world in high definition! So, how to learn painting in a year while incorporating this approach? Here are some ideas:

  1. Still Life: Start by arranging a few items on a table. You could choose anything from a vase of flowers to a bowl of fruit. Try to capture the light and shadow, the textures, and the colors.
  2. Landscape: Venture outdoors and paint a scene from nature. It could be a park, a beach, or your own backyard. Pay attention to the changing light and the way it affects colors.
  3. Portraits: Invite a friend or family member to pose for you. Observe their features, expressions, and emotions. Try to convey those through your painting.

Painting from life can be challenging, but it's definitely rewarding. It's a powerful way to connect with the world around you. And remember, it's not about making an exact copy. It's about interpreting what you see and expressing it in your unique style. This practice will surely boost your journey on how to learn painting in a year.

Experiment with Styles and Mediums

Now, let’s take a step further in our journey on how to learn painting in a year. It's time to venture out of your comfort zone and experiment with different styles and mediums. Why? Because each style and medium offers a unique way of expressing your ideas and feelings. Plus, it’s fun to mix things up!

  1. Styles: From Impressionism to Pop Art, each style represents a unique perspective. Try your hand at different styles. You might surprise yourself and discover a style that resonates with you.
  2. Mediums: Ever tried painting with watercolors? Or maybe oil paints? Each medium has its own characteristics and techniques. Experimenting with different mediums can open up new possibilities.

Remember, there's no right or wrong in art. It's all about self-expression. So, don't be afraid to take risks and try something new. Who knows? You might just stumble upon your new favorite style or medium!

By experimenting with styles and mediums, you will not only enhance your skillset but also find your unique voice as an artist. This is a key ingredient in mastering how to learn painting in a year!

Attend Art Workshops or Classes

Let's not kid ourselves, learning to paint can sometimes feel like trying to solve a Rubik's cube blindfolded. But don't worry, attending art workshops or classes can give you the much-needed guidance and help you unlock your artistic potential.

Art workshops and classes are a treasure trove of knowledge. They offer a structured way to learn, provide an opportunity to engage with experienced artists and get hands-on practice. Here's how you can make the most out of these:

  1. Research: Look for local art workshops or classes that cater to your interests. It could be anything from a beginner's course in watercolor painting to an advanced oil painting workshop.
  2. Participate: Don't just attend, participate! Get your hands dirty, make mistakes, and learn from them. After all, practice makes perfect, doesn't it?
  3. Interact: Use this chance to interact with fellow art enthusiasts and instructors. You can learn a lot from their experiences and feedback.

Attending art workshops or classes is a significant step in your journey to learn painting in a year. So, go ahead, sign up for a class, and let your creativity run wild!

Create Your Own Art Studio

Ever heard the phrase, "A tidy desk is a sign of a genius"? Well, the same goes for your painting space. Having your own art studio, even a small one, can make a world of difference. It's like having your very own sanctuary where ideas can flow freely, and creativity can take shape.

Creating an art studio isn't as daunting as it sounds. You don't need a fancy space with high-tech gadgets. All you need is a quiet, comfortable spot with good lighting. Here's how you can set up your own mini art studio:

  1. Space: Choose a spot that's well-lit and free from distractions. It could be a spare room, a corner in your living room, or even your garage.
  2. Organize: Keep your painting tools neatly arranged. This step is the key to a hassle-free painting experience. Imagine trying to find your favorite brush or a specific shade of paint in a cluttered space. Not fun, right?
  3. Inspire: Decorate your space with inspiring art pieces, quotes, or anything that sparks your creativity.

Remember, your art studio is your creative haven. It's the place where you'll spend countless hours learning how to paint in a year. So, make it a space where you feel comfortable, inspired, and ready to create. Happy painting!

Join a Local Art Community

When it comes to learning how to paint in a year, going solo can be a bit lonely, and let's face it, a little overwhelming too. That's where joining a local art community comes in handy.

Art communities are not just about learning and improving your skills. They also offer an opportunity to connect with like-minded people, share ideas, and draw inspiration from others' work. Having a support system can be a game-changer when you're trying to learn painting in a year.

  1. Search: Begin by searching for art communities in your local area. These could be physical groups that meet regularly, or online communities where artists share their work and ideas.
  2. Engage: Don't just attend meetings or observe discussions online. Participate actively. Ask questions, share your work, and be open to feedback. Remember, every piece of advice brings you one step closer to your goal.
  3. Connect: Make connections with other members. These relationships could offer valuable insights and even open doors to new opportunities.

Joining a local art community is a fantastic way to keep your motivation high and your creative juices flowing. So, put yourself out there and find your art tribe. You never know, some of these connections might even last a lifetime!

Create and Revisit Your Art Portfolio

Let's be honest, how to learn painting in a year is not just about mastering brush strokes and color palettes. It's a journey, one where you grow, evolve, and improve with each piece you create. And what better way to track this journey than by creating an art portfolio?

An art portfolio is like a mirror reflecting your progress. It's a collection of your work that showcases your skills, style, and artistic journey. Here's how you can go about it:

  1. Start Collecting: Begin by collecting your works, even the ones you are not very proud of. They are a testament to your growth and can help you understand the areas you need to work on.
  2. Organize: Arrange your pieces in chronological order. This helps you visually track your progress. You'll be amazed at how far you've come!
  3. Revisit: Regularly revisit your portfolio. It's not just a trip down memory lane; it's also a chance to learn from past mistakes and celebrate your improvements.

Creating and revisiting your art portfolio is a meaningful step in the process of learning how to paint in a year. It's a reminder of your journey, your growth, and the artist you're becoming. So, why not start today?

If you're excited to embark on your painting journey and want to hone your skills further, we highly recommend checking out the workshop 'Improve Your Acrylic Painting Skills' by Rachel Christopoulos. This workshop is an excellent resource for beginners looking to master acrylic painting techniques and build a strong foundation in the art of painting.