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7 Informative Acrylic Painting Books for Beginners

Acrylic Painting Books 

Acrylics are not an easy medium to master, so having a few acrylic painting books close by for reference is a good idea.

Even though my kids are grown, September and the beginning of the school year always makes me think of books. Of course Christmas, Halloween, Easter, summer and Sundays also make me think of books. I am a book nerd.

These days having a library full of books is a little passé. Most people read on electronic devices … computers, iPads, iPhones and e readers.

These devices are easy to read on since you can make the font larger or change the background color which is great if you have less than perfect eye sight.

Not everyone is into technology however, and a lot of people still like to have the hard copy of the book in their hand. 

orange books

For painting reference I prefer to have an actual book I can pull from the shelves and reference easily.

Not only is it convenient to have reference books on hand but they look really good on your bookshelf :).

Below is a list of a few acrylic painting books that would make a good addition to any artists library.

colored books on a green background

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Art book with artist brushes and splashes of paint on the cover
1500 Color Mixing Recipes available on Amazon

1500 Color Mixing Recipes for Oil, Acrylic and Watercolor by William F. Powell

Spiral bound –  Originally published in 2002.

1500 Color Mixing Recipes is a large collection of color mixes by William F. Powell who studied at the Art Student’s Career School in New York; Harrow Technical College in Harrow, England; and the Louvre Free School of Art in Paris, France. A well educated and very talented painter.

While not strictly referring to acrylics, this is a comprehensive guide to color mixing. It includes sections on general color mixing, color mixing for portraits and color mixing for landscapes.

1500 Color Mixing Recipes covers oil, acrylic and watercolor and gives you color conversions from oil to acrylic as well.

This book also includes instruction in color theory, value, tone, as well as other aspects of color mixing in painting.

A transparent sheet with the incremental markings to measure your paints for mixing is included.

This is a great multipurpose reference guide for any painter.

painting book with thumbnails of various paintings
Learn to Paint in Acrylics with 50 Small Paintings

Learn to Paint in Acrylics with 50 Small Paintings by Mark Daniel Nelson

Soft cover –  Published in 2015

Learn to Paint in Acrylics starts out with very helpful information about tools and materials, as well as some information about color, such as hue, saturation and value.

The following chapters concentrate on various acrylic techniques such as perspective, abstract compositions, color mixing and more.

Each technique is demonstrated by creating a 5 x 5 mini painting which can be done on canvas, canvas board, paper or wood.

The subject matter of these paintings are simple things like flowers or a sunset.

Each project is in a two-page layout and features a sidebar, which lists the specific materials used, the paint colors needed, and notes referring to other similar projects in the book. 

The paintings get progressively harder as you go through the book with each lesson building upon the techniques learned in the previous lesson.

You end up with a collection of 50 mini paintings that you can display wherever you wish.

book of fine art tips with a painted forest and mountain scene and thumbnails of various paintings on the cover
Fine Art Tips with Lori McNee

Fine Art Tips with Lori McNee

Hard Cover and Kindle – Published in 2015

Fine Art Tips is an absolutely beautiful book, filled with artwork and tips from 24 of todays top artists.

These amazing artists share practical tips on landscape and portrait painting, still life, plein air, wildlife painting and even the business side of art.

There is something in this book for every artist, from beginner to experienced.

Lori is a very well known artist with a large social media presence and a popular website where she offers tips and advice on everything fine art.

Visit her site at FineArtTips.com and have a look around.

painting instruction book with 4 small paintings on the cover
Painting for the Absolute and Utter Beginner

Painting for the Absolute and Utter Beginner  by Claire Watson Garcia

Paperback and Spiral Bound – Published in 2009

Claire Watson Garcia is both a talented artist and an excellent teacher. Her 160-page book, Painting for the Absolute and Utter Beginner covers everything a beginner needs to know.

In her plain spoken style she discusses mixing paint, fixing mistakes, using brushes, lessons for still-life, nudes and portraits.

She provides charts, photos and pictures to demonstrate the techniques she teaches.

Each lesson is designed to help the beginner gain confidence and build the skills necessary for them to progress to more advanced and difficult work.

Claire includes artwork by beginners accompanied by instruction on how to fix mistakes and improve the work using the techniques she teaches in the book.

Although this acrylic painting book is designed for absolute beginners, it is certainly useful for intermediate painters as well to refresh their techniques.

Claire has also published a drawing book entitled Drawing for the Absolute and Utter Beginner.

book about painting mediums with paint brushes on the cover
Acrylic Painting Mediums and Methods

Acrylic Painting Mediums and Methods: A Contemporary Guide to Materials, Techniques and Applications  by Rheni Tauchid

Hard Cover – Published in 2018

Acrylic Painting Mediums and Methods is a wonderful reference book for those interested in using acrylic mediums in their artwork. Rhéni Tauchid explains how to use these mediums using step-by-step instructions to get various effects.

Rhéni teaches techniques to enhance the colors and textures of your painting and open up new ideas for your artwork. She also explains a little bit about the chemistry behind the mediums and how they work with acrylic paints.

This book has hundreds of photos showing the different effects that can be achieved using acrylic mediums.

Acrylic Painting Mediums and Methods is a great book for beginners as well as more experienced painters.

acrylic portrait painting book
Paint People in Acrylic

Paint People in Acrylics  by Lee Hammond

Paperback and Kindle – Published in 2006

Paint People in Acrylics is a comprehensive book for artists wishing to learn portrait painting. This book has 10 complete portrait tutorials encompassing 50 different step-by-step techniques.

Lee Hammond dives into painting facial features, hair, clothing as well as techniques for sketching the initial portrait, using reference photos, mixing colors, setting up your palette as well as much more.

The author includes a variety of different subjects ranging in age and complexion. A good book for any aspiring portrait artist to have in their collection.

acrylic painting book with splashes of paint on cover
Abstract Explorations in Acrylic Painting

Abstract Explorations in Acrylic Painting: Fun, Creative and Innovative Techniques Paperback by Jo Toye

Paperback and Kindle – Published in 2016

Abstract Explorations in Acrylic Painting contains 8 painting projects that lead the reader through a journey of artistic expression using such diverse items as sponges and razor blades.

Jo Toye demonstrates many techniques and innovative methods to make amazing patterns and designs with paint. She uses a variety of “tools” such as applicator bottles, glue guns and stencils to name a few.

She also shows how to use inks, gesso and gels to get amazing affects. This is a very good book for artists wanting to explore abstract art and move away from only using a paint brush.

These are just a few of the thousands of art books available for any medium or style of art. Painting books are not only informative but also inspirational. 

When artists block strikes, browsing through a book about painting or artists and their work can give you some great ideas for your next piece.

Art books are also a great gift idea for yourself or your artist friends and for anyone interested in art. They can be a way to encourage anyone in your life to follow their dream of becoming an artist.

pinterest pin open book with text overlay painting books for acrylic artists
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If you have any other suggestions or have a favorite art book tell us about it in the comments below. Be sure to check out my new Facebook group too: Trembeling Art Creative Corner

Thanks for reading.  

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