Acrylic Painting - Dolphins

Acrylic Painting - Dolphins
This printable project teaches you the tips and techniques about the smooth Acrylic Paint medium, perfect for artists of any age! Follow the steps below to guide you through and you will quickly be on your way to creating these dolphins.

Supplies Needed

This project works best when using the materials shown below. These items can be  found in the ArtSkills Premium Artist Case!

Color Guides
Use the color wheel and paint mixing grid to create a variety of hues.

Tips & Tricks

Opaque vs. Transparent Paint
Acrylic paint can be used as opaque (non-transparent) if used straight from the tube, but can become transparent by adding water.

Blending Paints Together
Acrylics dry very quickly, so be sure to blend your colors immediately after laying them down on your surface. Extend your blending time by spritzing water on your painting with a spray bottle.

Adding Texture to Paintings
Using the "impasto technique" will add unique, 3D layers and textures to your painting. To achieve this, use a generous amount of paint on a palette knife and apply thick layers on to your surface.

Let's Get Started!


Start your painting by blocking in the lightest background colors. Fill in the sun and the reflection of the sun in the water with yellow. Mix just a dot of orange into yellow to create a yellow-orange to make the first layer of the sunset sky.  Similarly, mix a dot of blue into white to make the lightest blue of the water.


Mix a little more of the blue color into white to make a deeper shade of blue for the water. Add just a dab of white to the blue paint to make a dark, but slightly subtler, deep blue for the remaining water.   


The top portion of the sky at its reddest, can be equal parts red and orange. The orange paint on its own works for a vibrant middle tone above the lightest color of the sky.


Moving onto the dolphins, start with your lightest color by mixing a very small amount of black into white. If it is too dark or too light, correct by adding more white pigment if too dark, or a very small amount more of black pigment if too light.  Black pigment is very strong, so it overtakes white quickly. For the middle grey tone, still use a generous amount of white; about three parts of white to one-part black.


The darkest shade of grey will be two parts of white mixed with one part of black. Paint this color to the left side of the dolphins, as they are shaded from the sun. Paint in the eyes, making sure to leave a little white for the highlight to their eyes. Alternatively, wait until the paint is dry and dab white back in with a clean brush. Clean up your edges of all the colors if need be to cover the guide lines.