Acrylic paint is water based and fast drying. When beginning to work with acrylics, you should try a few different kinds, to be most precise – different quality and consistency acrylics. Why? I really do think that this practice will help you to understand the flow of each acrylic type, its performance, capability, purpose, and contribution to your art piece in general.
For a start, I will introduce you to the basic category of acrylic paint: craft acrylic, student acrylic, artist acrylic, and professional acrylic. The main difference between all four would be the proportion variety between the amount of water, pigment, and filler in each of these kinds of acrylics.
The craft acrylics are the most affordable price wise. Craft acrylics have the most amount of water, a small amount of pigment and filler. This type of acrylic is colour flat, runny, and thin. By colour flat I mean lack of brightness; craft acrylics are quite dull. However, they have good colour range availability. But don’t be fooled, craft acrylics are a lot of fun to work with and can majorly contribute to your art piece. I use black craft acrylic when painting something in detail such as eyes, small tree branches, etc… This way I don’t have to water down my full bodied artist quality paint. Craft acrylics could be extremely useful to practice your pour painting technique which I will introduce in a future article. Craft acrylics have potential and could be a great addition to your acrylic paint collection.
Student acrylics are still in a very good price range. They have higher amount of pigment and more filler. The colour range offered in student acrylics is quite wide. This acrylic is medium bodied making it easy to work with. They have a good capability and are suitable for most of jobs. It’s a good type of acrylic to start your learning process with.
Artist acrylics and professional acrylics are not very far apart. Both have high amount of pigment, brilliant colour range; both are very powerful, flexible, and easy to work with. The difference between two is still price, quality, and body weight. Artist acrylics are more paste alike, have thick consistency, where professional acrylics are more smooth and flawless. Professional acrylics have higher amount and quality pigment which directly affects colour maintenance after a painting is dry. Please remember, acrylics darken when drying by at a tone or two, depending on a colour range and quality.
As you can see acrylics offer a wide range of capability. By trying every kind you will learn their potential and will be able to decide how you should implement them into your work process. Keep your mind open.