How to Paint Bricks on Canvas


Oil paints create beautiful texture, quite appropriate for painting bricks. To paint bricks on canvas, use shadowing and highlighting to create the illusion of three dimensions and texture.

Things You'll Need

  • Primed canvas
  • Paintbrushes of various widths
  • Oil paint colors: black, red, white, dark brown, gray
  • Linseed oil or other thinner
  • Turpentine or other solvent
  • Old coffee cans
  • Palettes, such as Styrofoam meat trays

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Start with canvas that has been primed for oil paints. Pour each color of paint into a separate container, such as a coffee can or meat tray. Add a little linseed oil to thin the paint and make it easier to work with.

Dip a 1/2-inch wide paintbrush into the black paint. Paint a line of rectangles and another below them. Then paint another line below those rectangles. Shift each line back and forth, as in the picture, so it looks like a brick wall.


Take a wider paint brush and fill in the bricks with you basic dark red brick color. At this point your painting will look like flat blocks.

Boring flat blocks
Boring flat blocks

Create texture with color. Dip a 1-inch wide paintbrush in a dark brown color, and paint a line across the lower half of the bricks.

Beginning to Add Texture
Beginning to Add Texture

Highlight the spaces between the bricks with a narrow tipped brush dipped in white paint.

Highlighting Added
Highlighting Added

Continue to experiment with shadow and highlight. Shadows are more like smudges, highlights are more similar to lines or waves.

Clean your brushes well. Use a little turpentine to get all of the oil paint out. Follow the directions on the turpentine can well, and use in a well-ventilated area.

Tips & Warnings

  • Oil paints will give you nicest finish on canvas, but you may experiment with other paints. Some people prefer artist acrylics because they are water-based and easier to use.
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