Thursday, September 28, 2006

Beginners Acrylic Painting - Need to Know What Paint to Buy?

This article looks at buying acrylic paints. Often you need to choose whether you want Standard or Flow Formula paints. This article discusses their properties.

Do not worry about this too much, just buy what you have available locally. There are always acrylic mediums that can be added to make the paint thinner or thicker depending on what you want.

However if you have the choice this is what it means.


Beginners Acrylic Painting

Need to Know What Paint to Buy?

When you go in to buy acrylic paint it is easy to get confused. There is a huge range and knowing which paints to buy can be difficult.

Here are a few tips to make your choice a bit easier.

The key thing with acrylic paint is that it dries very quickly which can a blessing when you are ready to tidy away. Or a curse if you do not know how quickly it dries and it ruins your brush!

Acrylic paints generally come in tubes of either Standard Formula or Flow Formula. The Standard Formula is thicker and more suitable for oil painting techniques and using a painting knife. The thicker paint can be built up for impasto work where very thick layers of paint give a three dimensional result.

Flow Formula is a thinner paint and is more suitable for brush work and watercolor techniques. It takes a little longer to dry, than the Standard Formula.

However if you want a longer drying time you can add a retarder medium to the paint, and this slows down the drying time and allows the paint to be worked, this is handy for complicated areas.

Paint Smart!

Acrylic paints are water soluble but when it dries on your hand you will see that it looks like a thin layer of colored plastic. This means that once the paint is dry it is almost impossible to remove it from clothes or furnishings. I always paint on top of old newspaper.

Be sure to always replace the top back on the tube of paint. Otherwise the paint will dry in the tube; this is annoying and a waste of money! (If this happens you can cut off the bottom of the tube and get some paint out that way, but most of the tube will be dried out.)

Starter Packs

Acrylic paints often come in Starter Packs and these can be very good value. They are usually cheaper than buying the tubes individually.

When you are buying your first set of paints I would recommend buying a starter pack which will give you a range of colors at a good price. If you decide you would rather buy individual colors check out my other articles for tips on the best colors to buy.

Standard or Flow?

Given a choice I would buy Standard Formula ones. If you find you like to paint with a brush then you can add a little water to thin the paint for this purpose. However if you decide you like to paint in a thicker style you have the correct paint already.

But don't worry - with acrylic paints you can add a gel medium to Flow Formula to give it more body. Acrylics really are very versatile!

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