Picking Paints 101

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Before you go to the store or consider ordering online, it's a good idea to know what you need. Read this guide to get some expert advice about choosing the right paints for you. This article will give you the rundown on oils ,acrylics , and other lesser known paint types.

Paint Types

Each type of paint is specific in what it does and what it is used for. However, not one type is actually better than the other. It all depends on what your needs are. If you're just starting out, you might want to experiment with a few different types of paints and colors to get a feel for what you like. While this might be more expensive, you will be learning from experience and therefore benefit in the long run. Here's a quick guide to what to expect from the different types-

  • Acrylics- Acrylics are definitely the most popular and widely used paints for all skill levels. They are easy to use and versatile when it comes to what you can do with them.
    • Acrylics  are water based, which means that they will dry quickly. This is both good and bad. For creating texture, its great to have a quick-drying layer and then paint right on top of it. If you make a mistake or want to redo something, however, you're out of luck.
    • Acrylics are also very versatile. If you mix them with water, you get a slightly transparent shade great for lighter strokes. If you want to, you can load on the layers of paint like an oil and get a bright clear color.
    • Acrylics are easy to clean off when they are wet, but once the paint dries on your brushes, say goodbye to them. They're done. When using acrylics, it is so important to constantly be washing off your brushes thoroughly.
      • Paint Grades
        • Beside costing less, student grade paints  are not as good as pro paints . They often contain fillers and are not as thick as the professional stuff. They also don't have the same clarity or lightfastness.
        • Artists' paints are made of pure pigments, giving them a richer and more vibrant hue.
        • Exterior paint  grade is designed for use outdoors and is the only grade that will hold up to elemental damage.
        • Scholastic grade  paint is produced with young artists' and students' needs in mind, therefore it is not as rich in pigments.
      • Best Painting Surfaces
        • Heavy and textured surfaces are the best for painting.
        • Canvas, heavy duty paper, masonite, and hardboard are all good and sturdy choices for acrylic painting.
        • Craft acrylics  are best used on less conventional painting mediums, like wood, fabric, and metal.
  • Oils-Many professional and esteemed painters use oil paints  and therefore most people consider them to be of highest quality.
    • Because they have an oily base, painting done in oil might take a very long time to dry. Sometimes they need a minimum of even one to two months before they can be varnished.
    • Slowly drying paint is ideal for maximum opaque layering and blending techniques.
    • Oils can be versatile and used for lighter strokes, but most of hte time they are implement for creating vibrant, thick hues.
    • The hard part is cleaning-for your brushes you'll need some sort of solvent and some paint thinner, as well as soap and water.
  • Watercolors-Watercolors are quick and simple-perfect for the painter on the go.
    • Watercolors are very fast drying, making them easy to acheive different shading and layering techniques with.
    • By simply adding water, it's easy to correct some mistakes by lifting them away gently.
    • Watercolors make the white space on the page appear more prominent, since it will show through the actual paint.
    • Watercolors are solids, not liquids, so they are easy for travel and transport.
    • These are the easiest to wash off your brushes-all you need is water.
  • Gouache-This is a lesser known water-soluble paint, often grouped in the same category as an acrylic.
    • Gouache  dries fast with a matte-like finish.
    • They are similar to watercolors, but more opaque and light reflecting.
    • These are popular paints found in folk art.
  • Hybrids-These are more of a drawing supply since they don't require brushes.
    • Pastels
      • Pastels  are extremely portable.
      • They are easy to use for both blending and adding contrast.
      • These are very easy to smudge and usually messy.
      • You're going to need more than just the three primary colors.
    • Watercolor Pencils
      • Watercolor Pencils  are easy to take with you wherever you go.
      • Technique-wise, all you do is color like you would with a color pencil. Then, go over the lines with a wet paintbrush to blend or build up color as you would with normal watercolors.
      • You can try and layer colors, but these are mostly transparent shades.
      • Watercolor pencils dry quickly.
      • Easy cleanup-all you need to do is wash off your paintbrush.

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