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Your Guide To Starting With Acrylic Paint

There are many paint types you could use for your artwork, this goes from oil paint to watercolours. Another paint type is acrylic paint, which has proven to be one of the most versatile and affordable for most artists. To help you get you started with acrylic paints, we have created a useful guide to acrylics for beginners.

Is there a difference between artist and student acrylics?

While they may look quite similar when you look at the packaging, there is an actual difference. Artist acrylics tend to contain higher percentages of fine ground pigment, which makes the colours more vivid, but also provides better coverage. Student acrylic paints tend to be used in schools. While they provide less cover and less of the pigment, they are more affordable than the artist acrylic paints.

Which colours do I need as a beginner?

Experienced artists already know that you do not need every colour on the rainbow to begin painting with acrylics. You can easily mix your own colours by choosing a selection of base colours.

When you look at the range of professional acrylics, you will notice that certain colours can actually be sold for a higher price compared to other colours, even though they contain the same amount of paint. There is reason for that. The more expensive colours contain colour pigments that are harder to source, which also reflects in the overall price of your paint.

In addition to the base colours and the rare colour pigments you may require for some of your artwork, you can also look at so-called specialty acrylics. These paints are also called fluorescent. As you may have guessed, the pigment in these paints are different once again but in a much more interesting way. In fact, the basic acrylic pigment is mixed with another paint, which causes the unusual result we know as fluorescent acrylic paints.

Is acrylic colourfast?

When we speak about colourfastness in painting, we refer to permanence. It basically refers to the influence of light on colour pigments over time, which could have an influence on your paintings in the long run.

Compared to most oil paints and watercolours, acrylics score really well in terms of permanence. In other words, an acrylic paint is less likely to be affected by prolonged exposure to sunlight and artificial light sources.

Which container is best for acrylic paints?

Once you start selecting your acrylic paints, you will notice that they come in various containers, this may include the typical paint tube as well as jar. You can also find bottles, which contain liquid acrylics.

There are benefits to each type of container, so the most beneficial one will be subject to the type of painter you are. If you are looking for affordability long-term, and are thinking of doing a lot of paintings, we suggest choosing the jars. Buying larger quantities can save money in terms of price, although you will make a larger initial investment. Also, acrylics that come from a jar will easy become less thick when you add it to a palate.

Tubes on the other hand can pose a problem, as the paint come out quite thick naturally and may need some treatment before you can start using it. However, some people find it a lot easier to work with a tube than a jar. Although, wasting paint is more common with tubes, as the amount you put on the palette can be deceiving at first.

When you want easy application and an affordable selection of acrylics to get you started, you could choose the fluid acrylics instead. Fluid acrylics tend to be thinner when they come out of the bottle, which means you can put them straight on the palette and start painting. It does not need more interference.

How long does it take for acrylics to dry?

Artists who have worked with both oil paint and acrylics will tell you that acrylics dries remarkably fast, this provides them with a faster finished result. On the downside, the quick drying speed gives you less time to correct potential mistakes. Oil paint does provide that luxury, but you will have to wait days for the painting to dry and be ready. It all depends where you preference lies in terms of drying time.

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