logo canson
logo canson

Tutorials and artistic advices

Acrylic: Scumbling

Twitter icon

Rate this article

Scumbling is the ideal way to liven up color blocks and add motion. How? By rubbing a thin, irregular, layer of color over an existing layer.

Did you know?

  • you can do it with a paintbrush (recommended for beginners because it's easier to handle), a rag or your fingers.
  • It is easier to do scumbling on a granular surface (canvas, canvasboard) than on a smooth medium.


Acrylique - Réaliser un frottis

1. Scumbling


  • Wait for the under-layer to dry so the colors can't mix.
  • To keep it from spilling out of the lines, cover the areas around your pattern with strips of adhesive masking paper.
  • Mix water and medium (linseed oil) with the color, like for a wash.
  • Apply the paint roughly, to leave uneven brush strokes.
  • Make sure not to cover the entire under-layer.

What for? To add depth to a sky, liven up a field of flowers, or recreate the texture of a stone wall…


Acrylique - le frottis au pinceau sec

2. Alternative: dry brush scumbling 


You can also do dry brush scumbling. This is your chance to use your old, worn out paintbrushes!

  • Take a little color straight from the tube with a dry brush and rub it on the medium: this will yield an irregular texture with a raised pattern.

What for? To cover a dark background with light paint (an expanse of snow in a night sky) or, conversely, add a complementary color over another.

Suggested products

Canson® Acrylic

See also

Acrylic: Shading with hatching or stippling
Peindre à l’acrylique : Dégrader avec des hachures ou des pointillés
Hatching and stippling: these two techniques allow you to create strikingly gradated, very "pro" effects!