Painting with Knives

Painting with Knives

A small practical guide to create effectively in the studio.

My Practical Guide To Palette Knife Painting 

Ideal for working with lines, colour and impasto, the palette knife (also called painting knife) combines freedom, spontaneity and artistic modernity.

Working with a painting knife, the paint (oil or acrylic) then takes on the appearance of a material to be sculpted. The paint should be heavy, heavy body or a thicker paint that can be used for more expression.

The painting knife allows amazing effects, impossible to achieve with a simple brush.

GOOD TO KNOW: By letting the paint dry between coats, we can create new effects. The addition of a medium in the paint accelerates the drying time.


• a smooth, flexible, stainless metal blade (The knife does not like rust)

• different sizes and shapes of tips

• a long or short edge as required

• a comfortable and fixed handle

• a long handle to avoid touching the fingers during work

• easy and non-restrictive cleaning after use (cloth or paper towel)

• longer life than a brush

• a lower price than a brush


• drop tip

• chisel tip

• straight tip

• curved tip

• wide tip or triangle

• spoon or round tip

• claw tip

These products are currently available at GreatArt Online or in the art supply shop in London Shoreditch..


1 / With the flat of the blade

  • coat, cover quickly, work the thickness (possibility of adding modeling paste, structure paste, texture gel, medium)
  • load, crush or mix the material
  • slip one colour onto another or onto a wet surface
  • create sudden changes in flat areas, textures, 3D effects, edges
  • apply the colour without mixing it (vibration effects, layer on layer)
  • smooth out a visible brush stroke

2 / With the tip of the blade

• stamp or apply the colour on a fresh support

• be specific, add or apply details

• load or remove colour

• sculpt or dig the material

3 / With the edge of the blade

• work on line irregularity, imperfection and lack of precision

• cut, trace, cut, delimit the material

• scratch the paint to correct errors

• scrape the colour for a smooth and melted touch

• clean up an error area to start again

• remove all the colour from the palette

GOOD TO KNOW: By associating a painting knife with a flat brush (a brush or a spalter) you can soften the sharp edges of the reliefs.


When using the painting knife, the first plan is generally loaded, sculpted, hollowed out. He jumps in our face.

On the other hand, the background seeks distance and depth, the material will therefore be smooth, scraped, and less thick.

GOOD TO KNOW: to remove the dry paint on a blade, I rub 2 knives against each other or I use sandpaper. During the creative process, the blade should not catch fresh paint due to the presence of paint residue or dry matter.

Content provided by Amylee Paris

The passion of Amylee Paris, painter, consultant and author is to share her paintings between galleries, art collectors and her community. Beyond her pictorial skills and her several ebooks available online, Amylee is also recognized as one of the most influential francophone artist-entrepreneurs. She helps beginners or professional artists to optimize their artistic activity.

You can visit her colourful portfolio,follow her on Facebook and Instagram, or find all Amylee’s posts published in GreatArt online Magazine by clicking here!

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