How to make abstract art

Salina Mendoza (abstract geometric artist) SAM at Laguna Beach Cliffs doing line art


The first question we should be asking is, "What IS 'abstract' art?"

Abstract art, according to Google, is art that does not attempt to represent external reality, but seeks to achieve its effect using shapes, forms, colors, and textures. 

According to, Abstract art is a trend in painting and sculpture in the twentieth century. It seeks to break away from traditional representation of physical objects. Abstract art explores the relationships of forms and colors, whereas more traditional art represents the world in recognizable images.

Some key takeaways from these definitions:

  • Abstract art isn't attempting to represent external reality (real objects). 
    • EX: Banana - uses curved lines (no clear banana shape), jungle theme, use of yellow color
  • Traditional art represents the world in recognizable images. 
    • EX: Banana - draw/colors banana based on photograph taken, can see all highlights/shades of the banana object

The biggest difference between abstract and traditional art is the creation of objects we see in our everyday reality. Abstract isn't realistic but more of a form of expression. 

It is also loosely associated with non-figurative, non-objective, and nonrepresentational art. 

Now that you know the key differences, let's talk about how you can start making your own abstract art. 

Here are the elements we will keep in mind while creating:

  • shape
  • value
  • line
  • color
  • contrast
  • texture
  • form within a space

You'll want to look into some inspiration before experimenting. I've found that looking at what is already being created then experimenting in my own ways helped me find my own style quicker. 

Keep in mind that finding your own style is the key to building an artist brand image that is organic to you and marketable. 

However, you do not need to find your style in order to learn how to do abstract art. Anyone can create abstract art. It just depends on what direction you'd like to take. 

Here are some examples of abstract artists: 

Once you've had some time to be inspired, it's time to get some starter materials. Since you're just starting, you don't need top of the market supplies. 

Supplies to consider purchasing: 

  • Acrylic paint (can visit your local Michael's store)
  • Painting surface (canvas, wood, paper, etc)
  • Various brushes (best to get a brush pack)
  • Water bucket/cup (can always use your own cups at home)
  • Newspaper / tarp / towels to use underneath your artwork (it can get messy)
  • Magazines (if you want to do mixed media)
  • Glue (if you want to do mixed media)
  • Tape (can tape off pieces of paper or canvas)
  • Markers or pens (used often in mixed media works)
  • Artist palette (can get a cheap one at your local art store)
  • Soap (for clean-up - make sure to wash out all brushes after every session)

Now that you've got a list of inspirational abstract artists and a list of supplies to buy, it's time to schedule out your art date. 

If you are looking to do art with some neighborhood artists, I recommend joining Nextdoor in your local community, listing painting as one of your interests which puts you in a category, and posting a poll so others can respond/interact. This way you'll have other people that may be able to guide you on your journey. 

Nextdoor poll with Salina Mendoza Art


It looks like you're all ready to rock and roll! 

If you're a new emerging artist or just an artist in general that is looking for another friend, count me in. I'm yours! 

Just make sure to send me a DM that you read my blog and want to be friends.

Let's connect here:



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