Palette Knife Painting: How To Use, Techniques, Oil or Acrylic, Set

palette knife painting

Art- is a magic world, that takes you and doesn’t let you go.

I started to draw when I was 3 years old. My dad, Jivan Asoyan, also is an artist, and from the day I was born his first thought was “She will become like me”. After time, years passing, he noticed me holding always a pen and sketchbook, I was continuously painting somwthing… Or dresses, or flowers, or faces. Seeing this all he understood what way in life I will choose one day.

Very interesting even one fact. I have graduated the University in Novosibirsk of Art and design in 2019, and I became confident that art will always be in my life. Oh, no, sorry, I can even say that Art- Is My Life!
Nowadays I am very thankful to father that he taught me to draw.

“Art is standing with one hand extended into the universe and one hand extended into the world, and letting ourselves be a conduit for passing energy.” – Albert Einstein

In this article I am going to tell you all about palette knife, including the description of it, how to use it in drawing anything you want, kinds of palette knives, how they look. I will give advices and even tell the secret of painting.

“What? A secret? I don’t believe, no one tells their secrets…”- you will say.

But no, trust me, you are going to descover it very soon! After reading you will completely understand everything that you are searching for.
Okay, let’s talk about our main topic: painting with a palette knife

What is it the palette knife.

Palette knife is a thin steel blade with a wood handle, is used for mixing colours or applying, mixing or removing paint. Usually is more comfortable to draw with it on canvas.

You will ask me ” But can I use a pallette knife on paper?”
I will reply you “no!” Why?

Because this kind of knife can easly cut the paper while applying a paint. Should be really careful with it! You can take any canvas you want, even the first one that will capture your eye in art shop, but if you want to use a palette knife, better to take a canvas. Drawing on paper is always more convenient with a brush.

Oil and Acrylic paints. Use of palette knife

By choosing a palette knife, automatically choose a canvas. Its a rule. But in a subject of which colors to take ( oil or acrylic), you can have both of them! As much as palette knife is perfect for oil paints, as same as perfect for acrylic paints.

With oil you have to be careful, while taking an oil paint add a few more of oil natural. BUT! Too much of oil will create on canvas awful shades, and later makes it difficult to fix. If you need to mix colors with oil, do that on pallet. In this way you are able to control the consistence of paint.

The proccess of mixing colors should be done by slowly movement, the way of “up and down”.

Drawing with acryclic paints by a palette knife has a similar proccess, but instead of oil in oil paint, here you should be careful with water. If its more comfortable for you, mix colors with water using a big brush, and later gripe it up with palette knife.

What to choose: acryclic or oil? It’s your choice. Oil usually costs more, but also can be saved for yeas and even centuries. Acrylic is cheaper, but will not live for much time. All depends on you and your propose: how to draw, what to draw, and even for who to draw.

If you a beginner in world of art, try to practice with acrylic. And later, when you will know techniques and have more experience, have a try with oil paint.
Only after, when you would try both of them, you are going to feel with what you are confident to draw, and achieve your own style of drawing.

How looks a palette knife.

oil-painting palette-knife-tutorial

Also, in the world of art exist a lot of kinds of palette knives, and each of them has their own way of using. Personally, I use 7 types of them, in my opinion these are having a common shape and by them can draw everything you want. Has no sense to buy 100 of palette knives, because anyway you are not going to use.

My palette knives number “1” and “2”– are the best friend of mine 🙂 I use it always, no matter what I draw; landscape, flowers, mountains or something else. This one you will never decide to throw out.

With the knives number “3” and “4” you can paint some details, even without fixing it with a brush (how do most of artists), because it’s small, the top of it has a sharp corner, which helps to apply paint more carefully . It is really perfect for drawing architecture, where need to create a beautiful straight outline of a building.

Tip! Do you know what you can also draw with a palette knife number “4”?
Yes, mountains!
But how?

how to paint with a palette knife


Nature is really interesting, because it has created thousand kinds of forms. Mountains are formed from Earth’s tectonic plates smashing together. Thats why the top of mountain is abrupt, and for drawing adrupt shape is better to use a palette knives number “3” and” 4″.
As you see, I show you here the way of moving palette knife for reaching the same effect in my painting.

best palette knife for mixing paint


Palette knife number “5” has a large circal top, which allows to draw smooth shapes, for example clouds, hills, flowers, and even waves of the ocean.

Painting knives number “6” and “7” are small, and also very useful for drawing on small size of canvas, because are nice for details. For example, imagine that you are drawing now the space… Which numbers of knives you are going to use?

Me, personaly, I choose number “2” and “6”. With “2” I am going to create the background with many colors like blue, green, pink, red, making beautiful smooth transition of shades, and with “6” drawing stars by points of white. Its easy!

Secret of drawing with Palette knife

                    Remember! The movement with palette knife should be fast, if to do it slow the colors become dirty. Take with knife a color that you want to use, and with fast and straight movement apply the paint on canvas, after when you did it, do not continue to caulk it more and more.

Even if you made a mistake, don’t work on this piece, just take a bit more of paint and carefully cover the part you have made an error. The secret of drawing with palette knife- is speed and accuracy.

How to choose a palette knife?
Okay, now we can talk on a very important topic…

How to choose a correct palette knife?


As you understood, every kind of knive has his own way of use. If you decide to start to draw with palette knives, you should to practice.

When you are in art shop and see them, don’t just choose a shape and buy, but check it! its very important.

  • First of all, try it on your hand.
  • The wood handle should be large as much, as it is your palm.
  • You have to feel comfortable holding it.
  • Secondly, the perfect knife should be flexible on top of steel blade. Try to move it and see if it’s not too strong.


To be honest, I really like italian brand of painting knives named “Tintoretto”. They have many various shapes of them, and they are really comfortable. Of course, you can’t find “Tintoretto”, don’t be sad, just watch in art shop or online shops another brand, and don’t forget check them following this rule I have explained you.

I know some artists that can’t draw with a knife, they say that it’s really difficult. But it’s not! Just a matter to get used! Have a try! I am sure you will enjoy it, because it allows to reflect your mood and put you passion on the painting, and the result will impress you! You will be shocked!

So, instead of easy drawing with a brush (as you can watch on tutorial everywhere), try to paint with palette knife.

Advise! If you will study to draw with a knife, trust me, for you will be so much easy to paint with brush, that from now on you will always like to use a palette knife.
Why? Hmm, let’s see!

Palette knife VS brush

Well… don’t want to fight :)… but in my opinion the palette knife is winning!

Again asking why?
Well, look, starting to use with palette knife and understanding how to apply paint on canvas, how to draw anything by it, you can immediately become a professional artist! Secondly, you are getting sutisfied from first seconds of your painting, because you see beautiful shapes and shades, gradient mix of colors, and….. yes, 3D effect!

Exactly, palette knife can create 3D effect… Imagine to draw waves! While drawing it just follow the way water moves, and in the end you will feel yourself on the beach! Not joking, its too much magic!

Wish to you!

Following these simple rules and advices, you can have success in your goal. Have a try, take a canvas, buy a palette knife instead of brush, and fully of confidence start to draw. You are going to enjoy it 100%. Don’t give up if firstly will be difficult, just try again.
With any question you can contact me by e-mail

Thank you 🙂




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