How To Paint With A Palette Knife With Acrylics

about 4 years ago
product By Yogesh Deshmukh

Being an acrylic paint artist, you must have had a tryst with palette knife painting. Apart from the usual brushes that a painter uses to bring his or her imaginations on to the canvas, Palette knife is one great tool to leverage for bringing out the tiniest nuances of the painting onto paper.

 If you are new to the wonderful world of acrylic paintings, you might not be aware of the palette knife painting techniques. If you are not sure on how to paint with a palette knife with acrylics,you should know that it’s just like spreading frost on your cake.

You take a flat butterknife and gradually fan the thing out over the freshly baked batter. Just think of your painting as baked batter, the acrylics as frosting, and Palette knife as the spreading tool just like your routine butterknife. You can cut through the frosting, create beautiful patterns, swipe here and there, sweeping your strokes much like the rise and fall of a tide.

Using a palette knife to paint enhances the scope of experimentation and gives you the space to go more by your instincts. We are going to discuss some palette knife acrylic painting techniques in this article for all the newbies out there and see how palette knife painting gives you an added advantage over your usual adventures with your paintbrush. So here’s bringing to you palette knife painting.

How To Paint With A Palette Knife

Know Your Tools

The eternal debate over the name of a palette knife seems to be unending. Whether it is a palette knife or a painting knife we are talking about? The two terms are often used ambiguously and interchangeably arousing a lot of confusion. Whereas both the tools are made of plastic or metal or wood generally and are very similar looking. A palette knife is usually straighter than a painting knife. 

There can be the slightest hint of a bend along the blade of a palette knife and it is largely used to blend and mix colors and clean palette surface. Painting knife, on the other hand, comes with a deep bend in its handle to keep the painter’s hands and knuckles clean. Painting knife finds its use in actual painting.

Palette knife looks more like a butter knife, while Painting knife gives more of an impression of a spade. The tool that you would be using varies depending on the purpose of your painting. If you are going to be blending and mixing a lot of colors, working on gradients, and creating compositions of a daytime sky or the surface of the water, a palette knife is your go-to tool.

 If on the other hand, you are going to be stroking and applying paints a lot, a painting knife should be your choice. While you can use both the tools interchangeably on several occasions, you would be better off being able to tell one from the other.

Know How to Use Palette Knife

Apart from being able to tell your tools apart, you should have a basic understanding of how to use them. A metal knife has a sharper edge than a plastic knife and should be used for cutting purposes. Not cutting through the paper obviously, but cutting through the caked blocks of colors if the composition demands so. If spreading the paint over is your main purpose, you might as well use a plastic knife.

You must know how to handle both. Be delicate with sharp knife and be fluid in your strokes. Similarly, for the plastic spreading knife, you should know the angles at which you want to hold the knife to get the perfect texture that you want. There are multiple tutorials online teaching how to handle a palette knife to make the most out of the tool. You can learn almost all palette knife painting techniques from these free online resources.

You can also sift through the works of different artists on e-stores like ShowFlipper that sell painting online to get an idea of how the professionals do it.

Scramble Well And Know the Drying Duration

A knife can be used to scramble a bit of color here and there. You can mix and match colors. For instance, a bit of the sky color into the water or a bit of the watercolor to the sky. Depends largely on your composition.

Also, after you are done, let the paint dry well. The thick layers of paints might take up to six months to dry. Thinner layers might take less.

Study Compositions Well, Focus on Paint Consistency and Texture

The main idea behind using palette knife ahead of paintbrushes is to make the slightest of the details in your composition stand out. It is very important thus to study your compositions well before starting working with palette knife. Make sure that the consistency of the paint is regular. Smooth it out with some thinner knife if needed to make the paint spread evenly.

 The knife is associated with carving and palette knife painting very nearly resembles sculpting, just on a piece of paper. One wrong cut with your chisel and you can wreck the whole thing up. So be careful with your strokes and movements with the knife. Spread the color out uniformly, and keep in mind the texture you are trying to achieve.

As a beginner, you can use a brush to paint and then highlight your strokes with a palette knife.

Using a palette knife can be challenging especially for the beginners. But once you familiarize yourself with the basic techniques of Palette knife painting, it just becomes a habit. Just like painting using a paintbrush. The technique is challenging and hard to master but that is where the perks of being an artist lie around. So bring your palette knives out and try out a stroke or two.

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