How to

How To Paint A Shark – Acrylic Painting Tutorial


In this step-by-step tutorial, you’ll learn how to paint a stunning underwater scene featuring a shark as the main character. We’ll cover everything from creating a sparkling ocean floor to painting a school of fish, seaweed, and coral. Don’t worry if you’re new to painting, as I’ll provide a traceable template for the shark that you can easily transfer to your canvas. Let’s dive in and unleash your inner artist!

Materials Needed

To get started, gather the following materials:

  • Acrylic paints (Liquitex BASICS recommended)
  • Canvas or painting surface
  • Brushes (3/4″ wash brush, #8 round brush, #4 round brush)
  • Color palette
  • Water spray bottle
  • Traceable template of the shark (provided)

Step 1: Painting the Background

  1. Load your palette with titanium white, turquoise blue, phthalo blue, and Naples yellow hue.
  2. Lightly spray the canvas with water for better blending.
  3. Use the 3/4″ wash brush loaded with titanium white to paint a semi-circular shape at the top of the canvas.
  4. Mix turquoise into the white and paint an inverted half-circle, blending it into the white.
  5. Add more turquoise to the brush and continue painting in a half-circle direction, gradually darkening the water towards the bottom.
  6. Wipe off the brush and blend phthalo blue on the outside of the turquoise, creating a shadowy effect.
  7. Paint a horizontal line near the bottom using a lighter blue shade.
  8. Blend Naples yellow into the light blue area to create a transition between the water and the sea floor.
  9. Optional: Add small white lines with a turquoise and white mixture to create water texture.
  10. Paint light rays meeting in the top center of the canvas using titanium white, gradually fading them out.

Step 2: Painting Blue Seaweed

Using a #8 round brush or #4 round brush, paint wavy strands of seaweed on the left and right sides of the canvas. Use variations of green by mixing black to darken the color and Naples yellow to lighten it.

Step 3: Transferring and Painting the Shark

  1. Wait for the background to dry or use a blow dryer to speed up the process.
  2. Print out the shark template provided and position it in the center of the canvas.
  3. Place a sheet of graphite paper under the template and trace the shark onto the canvas, pressing firmly.
  4. Use a #4 round brush to paint the gray areas of the shark, mixing black and white to create varying shades.
  5. Blend phthalo blue into the gray areas for added depth and dimension.
  6. Paint the white areas of the shark with titanium white, blending it with light gray for a realistic effect.
  7. Add white highlight marks on specific areas to represent reflections.
  8. Use mars black to paint the eye, mouth, gills, and other small details.

Step 4: Painting Seaweed and Coral in the Foreground

  1. Load your palette with hooker’s green hue permanent and mix a small amount of mars black to darken the color.
  2. Paint vertical strands of seaweed on the bottom left and right sides of the canvas, using a variety of greens.
  3. Use medium magenta to loosely paint the shape of the coral, adding phthalo blue for shading.
  4. Paint leaves and define the coral’s features using various shades of green and white.

Step 5: Painting a School of Fish

  1. Thin down phthalo blue and use a #4 round brush to paint ovals for the bodies of the fish.
  2. Paint the tail of each fish, gradually decreasing their size towards the upper right and increasing it towards the left.
  3. Add smaller dots for distant fish with no visible tails.


Congratulations! You’ve completed your underwater painting featuring a majestic shark as the focal point. Feel free to add more details like additional seaweed, coral, or even a starfish. Don’t forget to share your masterpiece and inspire others to explore their artistic abilities!

Share this post and let your friends discover the joy of painting!

Alexia Young

Hello and welcome to the world of Alexia. I am a passionate and dedicated artist who loves to create beautiful, mesmerizing art for everyone's walls. I believe in the importance of encouraging people to express their creativity and be happy.

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