Mural Painting Tips

9 January 2024 Posted by: Kate Lovegrove
Mural Painting Tips

Deciding on the subject for a mural

After detailed discussion with my client I am able to gather what they would like to have painted for them.  Murals are a collaboration and understanding what the client envisages is crucial. After a meeting where I have made notes,  I usually leave a bit of time before starting my sketches, this way I am subconsciously forming the ideas that have been discussed.

Getting the colours right.

Sometimes I make a mood board, using colours and murals that I have previously painted to show the client different possible colour ways for the mural if this has not already been decided in the meeting.

Planning and Design

Before I start, I plan and the mural carefully. Sketching out ideas as thumbnails gradually increasing the size and detail. I research ideas and put these down in small colour sketches, working up to a large precise scale drawing, this I can use to measure from with a scale ruler and transfer the design to the wall.  


I use coloured watercolour pencils for both my sketches and for drawing directly onto the wall.  The watercolour pencil marks become part of the painting.


In my opinion, artists quality acrylic paints are best for both indoor and outdoor murals, they dry quickly and are easy to work with.  I incorporate glaze mediums, usually matte and it is possible to get the same effect as oil paints with a bit of experimentation. 

Surface Preparation

I make sure the wall is clean and properly primed before I start painting. This will ensure that the paint adheres well and lasts a long time.

Scale and perspective

Pay close attention to the scale and perspective in your mural. Where is the mural going to be viewed from.  Trompe l'oeil relies heavily on accurate perspective to create the illusion of depth.  I will blog about perspective for murals later.

Details and Realism

Focus on the details to make your mural as realistic as possible. Study real life objects, sketch from life as much as you can for each element.


Consider how the room's lighting will interact with your mural. Proper lighting can enhance the illusion and make the mural come to life.

Sealing and Protecting

After completing the mural, it's essential to seal it with a good quality clear varnish or sealer to protect it from wear and tear over time.  I use an UV protective matte acrylic varnish applied with a varnish brush.  Matte varnish means that the surface of the wall that you have painted does not reflect, reflections spoil any illusion that you have created.

I will blog about exterior mural protection at a later date.


Inform the client on how to care for the mural.  Most marks can be removed with a mild solution of washing up liquid and warm water.  Nicks and dents can be repaired and repainted if necessary. 


A mural is a remarkable way to transform a space and create a unique atmosphere.  Not only does it add beauty to the room but also provides a conversation piece. It's a fantastic example of how art can transform living spaces and transport people to different worlds and eras.

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Catherine Lovegrove Murals

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