Doug Writes: I’m an amateur artist/painter working in acrylic paints. Can you tell me how I can learn to put color/paint down smoothly? When I paint larger areas the paint is very textured from the brush, and the tone/depth uneven. Just trying to paint skies or clouds they look very blotchy to me.

There are many things that can cause this. One is the type of paint you use. All will have some texture, but some seem to not blend well at all or smooth out. It’s like there is too much binder in them making them just goo. The liquitex basics are my favorite for smooth blending.

The next issue could be the brushes you’re using. You don’t want the brush too stiff because that will create even more brush strokes, and you don’t want it too soft or it just sort of flops over. I like taklon bristled brushes the best with acrylics. The shape of the brush that you’re using could cause issues too. If the bristles are flat, this tends to create more obvious start/stop points with the brush. I like filbert brushes the best for softer brush strokes.

When painting larger areas I always use an airbrush with water. Even a cheap hobby kit, single action airbrush will work for this. You don’t need the full fancy set up. I keep misting water over the area to keep it wet. You can keep it wet for hours this way if you wanted to. When I’m ready to smooth out my brush strokes (because no matter what brush/paint you use, there WILL be some), I use a mop brush to soften it out.

Check out this video on painting clouds. You can really see what I’m talking about there 😀