Painting With Acrylics
Intro
Getting started painting with acrylics is pretty straight forward no matter if you're completely new to painting, or have experience with other mediums. Painting with acrylics is for everyone. All you need is some paint, some brushes and something to paint on. Oh, and not to forget; a well lit room unless you plan to paint outside. Whether you paint using a flat table, a table stand or an easel is a matter of taste. Just pick the one you find most natural and suitable for the place where you intend to work. But before you leap into the thing I will go through some aspects of acrylics painting that will get you off to a good start.
Brushes, Paint & More
Acrylic PaintCompared to oil paint acrylic paint is usually slightly cheaper but you can make just as great paintings regardless. Acrylic paint, as with oil paint, is available in many different colors and qualities and can be obtained in both paint tubes and small cans. Naturally high quality paint is more expensive but it is money well spent as expensive paint usually have a higher level of lightfastness, which means that the colors will stay vibrant for a longer period of time. Compared to oil paint acrylic paint dries faster. Much faster. If you like working fast this is no problem, but if you wish to dwell over your painting or take small breaks from time to time you might want to mix your paint with something called retarder. Retarder is a colorless transparent substance you mix with your paint making it dry more slowly. It doesn't alter the color in any way and allows you to paint wet-in-wet. Wet-in-wet is a great painting technique for making smooth color transitions and for this retarder comes in handy. It can be obtained in most art stores and comes in tubes and smaller cans.
BrushesBrushes come in various sizes from very small like 000 brushes for detailed work, to rather large sized brushes. You can obtain brushes with natural hair bristles or synthetic bristles. Both kinds work well and last a long time. Brushes made with bristles of natural hair are slightly more expensive as they last longer and keep the bristles in place for a longer period of time. Be sure to buy some quality brushes even if they are more expensive. In the long run it'll actually save you some money. Finally, brushes can have both flat and pointed tips. Pointed tip brushes are ideal for detailed work while flat brushes are more suitable for painting larger areas. I suggest you buy a mix of large and small brushes with both flat and pointed tips.
Paper, Canvas or Artboard?
What you decide to paint on is, again, a matter of what appeals to you and what you are willing to spend. Art boards and canvasses can be bought in various sizes and many of them are already base coated so you can get started painting quickly. Art boards are usually cheaper to buy than canvasses and are simply rigid boards wrapped in canvas. If you wish to paint on traditional canvasses, you can either make them yourself or buy some ready to be painted on. You can also choose to paint on paper made specifically for acrylics painting. They come in pads of several sheets and in various sizes and formats. If you choose paper it's important that you obtain the acid free kind as it wont turn yellowish over time. One more thing. Canvasses have a more structured surface which will often show when you're looking at them at a close range. Paper usually have a much smoother surface. Oh, I almost forgot; If you obtain untreated (non-basecoated) canvasses you need something called gezzo. It's excellent for base coating, is pure white, and have a rather characteristic smell.
Palettes And Cleaning Brushes
You'll need a palette to mix your colors and you can choose either a classic wooden palette with a hole for your thumb or you can choose a pad with many sheets of disposable paper palettes. I use the latter so I don't have to do a lot of cleaning once I'm done painting. Infact you can use anything to mix your colors as long as it doesn't ruin your paint.

As far as cleaning brushes goes; DO NOT FORGET IT! Even though acrylic paint is water based it will most likely ruin your brushes altogether if you forget to clean them properly. Once the paint has dried there is no turning back so remember to do it. To clean brushes used for painting with acrylics simply use water.
Wait, there's more!
And that's pretty much the basics of acrylic painting. I'll leave the hard and fun part to you and hopefully this short beginners tutorial has motivated you to get started in the wonderful world of painting with acrylics.

Happy painting!