Step by Step Abstract Art Tutorial (EASY)

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Woo! I'm bursting at the seams to bring you this step-by-step easy-peasy-lemon-squeezy abstract painting tutorial! 

If you follow me on Instagram, you know I've recently become obsessed with the abstract art medium, and since I'm still a beginner, I wanted to share a beginner-level tutorial with you. Trust me, if I can do it, so can you!

What I'm loving most about acrylic paint right now is how stinkin' affordable it is. Acrylic paints only cost about 50 cents at most craft stores. Since I'm not selling these or really even giving them as gifts, I don't need to invest in anything more high quality at the moment. 

Want to get started? Me too! First, let's see what you'll need...

Ok, here's what I used:
-A paint palette (can use a paper plate or a large piece of cardboard, but I linked a similar palette to mine below)
-3 Types of Paintbrushes: A small round brush, a large flat brush, and a small angled flat brush
-Canson XL Oil & Acrylic Paper (I L-O-V-E this paper. It is a bit more expensive, depending on where you find it, but it's awesome. It's like canvas paper!)
-Washi tape or other removable tape
-A variety of acrylic paints. You could use whatever colors you please that complement one another!!
-Not pictured: a cup of water and some paper towels for washing brushes between colors.

You begin with a blank slate, which can be exciting and filled with opportunity or scary and filled with ways to mess just depends on how you look at it! I choose to look at it the first way :) 

The canvas paper is taped down with some washi tape (or any easy removal tape) for two main reasons:
1. I like my paper to stay secure so I can really go crazy with my paint brush!
2. I love the clean lines I get when I peel the tape up. #satisfaction

As you can see, I also have my palette to the left of my paper. My palette is horribly messy, but oh well! The main colors I'm using are in the bottom 5 wells of the palette. The white and gold paints will be applied directly to the paper later in the tutorial.

I keep my cup of clean water beside me the whole time, but I did move it out of the frame to keep the light bright and airy for this post. So, please remember, I am completely cleaning my brush between switching colors. 

When cleaning my brush, all I do is swish it around in the cup of water until it comes clean. Once clean, I squeeze the brush tip with a paper towel until most of the water is out. It's a really fast process, and it 'ain't no thang' if your brush is a little damp. It actually helps the paint go on much more smoothly! 

STEP 1: Start with green (or the color equivalent of your choice). You will simply want to dip your brush in the green enough to cover about one quarter of the flat brush head. It's better to get too little than to get too much, as you can always add more, but you can't take away! 

STEP 2: Brush the green (or color equivalent) on in a triangle shape on the bottom left corner. Try to cover the same amount of area I did, obviously, scaled correctly to fit your paper size. (Remember, I used 9x12 size paper)

Have fun with your paint strokes. As you can see in the close-up, I'm not precise at all! I like a little rough brush stroke texture. It will most get covered up anyway!


STEP 3: We're moving to the pink (or your color equivalent) next! Pick up about the same amount on your brush.

STEP 4: Do pretty much the same thing with the pink (or color equivalent) in the top right hand corner. Try to match my shape as much as you can, but once again...HAVE FUN! Don't stress.

STEP 5: This is where it really gets fun! Pick up the light blue color (or equivalent) and start brushing it on just to the right of the green. I didn't do a great job at photographing where the blue should go, but you can definitely make out where I placed it. 

As you're brushing it on, you wanting to overlap with the green to create this soft minty color. 


Ultimately, you want the green and blue to be blended like so. Alternate between picking up more green on your brush, then picking up some blue until you get the consistency and look right (or similar). 

Remember the rule: Don't stress! This is abstract. It is fun! Don't be afraid to 'mess up.' Imperfections are what this kind of art so rewarding.


STEP 6: After the green and blue is blended, you'll want to pick up quite a bit of gray (or color equivalent) on your brush.


The gray color is going to cover up pretty much all the white space you have between your blue and pink. Brush it on freely, not trying to blend with any other colors, just filling in space and having fun!


This is about what your painting should look like (or similar!). Everyone's painting style is different, and I think it's probably impossible to recreate anything exactly (even I can't match every brushstroke). Now, we're going to add accents that can cover any areas we may not be crazy about. 


STEP 7: With the white paint, put little drops of white all across the gray area, as seen above.


With your brush, simply swipe up and down, spreading the white dots out, creating white brush stroke-y areas across the gray section. Very technical stuff here, guys!


STEP 8: With a smaller round brush, grab a decent amount of the navy color (or equivalent).

Place the navy paint in the un-blended edges where two colors meet, roughly in the areas seen above.


STEP 9: Now, with the gold color, make dots of paint on the paper as I did above. You'll need more paint for a smaller area, because the gold paint is quite sheer, and we want it to be a bit more opaque!

Side note: I'm using an angled flat brush for the gold paint. You don't have to use the exact same type of brush, but it really does help achieve the look I'm going for in this tutorial.


Use the angled flat brush to spread the gold out into an even, opaque layer. Do your best to feather it out at the edges, if possible!


Here's a closer look at how I'm spreading the gold paint out into a completely even later. All the streaks of thick paint will be gone by the time I'm done with this step. As you can see, I also decided to add a little extra splotch of gold in the upper left hand corner. Basically, add gold where you think it needs to go to be a balanced look!


STEP 10: Pick up some white paint on the same brush

Use this brush to make these rectangular-like dots of paint in various lengths. You can add these dots wherever you think they're needed! 


I added the dot pattern in the two corners, and in a portion of the gray section, which is only barely visible. I like that the pattern is subtle in some areas, and really sticks out in others!


STEP 11: PEEL THAT TAPE, GURL! You don't have to wait until it's dry to peel the tape up....who has the patience for that anyway?!


I am currently in the process of redecorating my office (so excited to blog about the process!), so all my walls are bare. I threw this painting in a frame and quickly hung it on my wall for a temporary photoshoot! My cat is having a great time posing in front of the camera!! 

I want to know! Are you going to try this step-by-step tutorial for yourself? Are you into this abstract style? Where do you want to hang your painting? Let me know it ALL in the comments.