Stuck for ideas? Here's a range of art techniques shared by 20 artists. Pick one and try it out!

During the recent {epically successful! Thank you so much everyone who participated – am thinking we might have to do it again!} 21 Days in My Art World challenge, one of the prompts was ‘Favourite Technique’. I was so inspired reading through the ideas people shared, I decided to share a selection of them here with you.

There are heaps of fun things to try here – and one or two that may surprise you – consider this a resource to come to for a quick idea to get you going again! And most of them use tools or materials you probably already have.


“This is pretty basic but when I’m working with watercolors, I often make sample cards of colors that I’ve mixed to see how they interact with each other – and for ideas for future color combinations. It helps me slow down and think about color. I later use these cards for collage material.” 


“Whether I am working in acrylic or watercolor, with some sort of realism or abstractly, I like to work in layers. Initial layers are applied knowing something will come along on top. But with subsequent layers I intentionally leave evidence of previous layers. I like the character those little bits of color peeking through add to the whole.”


I love to start a painting with free arm movement, translucent paint. When it’s dry, I will go through a free association phase, sit there and look, until I see something, then I make it concrete.”


“I like to get some texture down on my substrate and use collage including tissue paper, acrylic mediums, sand, crushed eggshells, etc.”

“I have just come to the end of this current series of floral oil paintings and I have really been enjoying working in a particular way with oil bars. This painting was done without using any tools other than my fingers and wet wipes! If you like working with charcoal and getting covered in your materials then do have a go at using these! Once the oil paint is on the surface I used my hands to spread and blend the colour before using my nails to make marks and pull back to previous layers.


“My technique involves layering whether I’m painting or collaging, I find myself often starting with broader areas of laying down color that keeps getting more and more defined. And then more refinement of line, detail, letting the story come into play. Along the way, I am often adding textural elements… it could be combing the paint, palette knives mixed with brush strokes and finger smudging, spraying, adding paper, photos, gold leaf and more.”


“I watercolor quite a lot. Lately a favorite technique is to go back in and add some oil pastel and a bit of acrylic paint.


“I have found layering and mono printing with stencils and handmade stamps a great process to build up textures. The most instant and fun way is with a gelli plate and a roller, using acrylic paint. It gets messy with wet stencils everywhere, but it is really awesome technique for creating both random and controlled backgrounds. I often find happy accidents with this process that informs other work.”


I love to stitch over my artworks. The thread adds texture and interest to my style of art. I feel it brings my art to life.”

Charcoal mark making with stencils. Using a dry brush you can just brush on or off the stencil patterns. A recent discovery that has many possibilities!” 


“Layers of textured impasto is my favourite. It adds so much character to a painting. And then when I paint over it with palette knife or brush the paint catches in an artistic sort of way.” 


“I do like to deconstruct things. I take lines and forms from everyday objects and rearrange them. Sometimes I use things on Pinterest. I then add to it. I love pen work and find the whole process quite meditative.”


Trying new things! I can’t stick to one style or technique, there are so many things to try.”


“Love to put down color and have it blend with water or isopropyl alcohol depending on which medium I’m using. After some color palette and placement decisions I apply the liquid in various ways until I like how it looks. After drying comes my favorite technique of detail line work with a fine line applicator! Usually have my music going and my mind clear and free! Very meditative. :)”


“A quick little pencil sketch, a blob of watercolour finished off with a little bit of black pen.”


“I paint with emulsion on board, my favourite technique is to combine drizzling the paint and using my fingers to smear the paint to create movement. Not always successful at first but the more layers {of mistakes} I do the happier I am with the end result! A bit like life really.”


“I love layers and adding collage to the mix, putting some collage down first and using a roller to layer paint over the top, thinning out areas that I want to show through.”


Watching the waves and letting the ideas formulate.”


“My favourite technique is making a background with paint leftovers and then use stencils to add some layers and patterns. I like to use natural stencils, like leaves, they are my favourite.” 


“As my final layer I like to use feather and ink to make marks and scratches on my work. I feel it pulls it all together.”


I don’t know about you but I’m totally going to try some stencilling with charcoal, some stitching, and a bit of deconstructing/rebuilding! What sparks you from this list? Do you have any favourite techniques to share?