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What is Easier to Paint With? Acrylic, Oil, or Watercolor?

What is Easier to Paint With? Acrylic, Oil, or Watercolor?

As a new painter, a lot of things can overwhelm you when you are just trying to get started. The sheer number of choices in the types of brushes, paint, or even paper can confuse you, and you’ll keep repeating the same question: Where do I even begin?

Today, we are going to answer that question; specifically, for paints.

As a beginner, you may be wondering which medium is easier to master: watercolor paint, acrylic paint, or oil paint? To answer this question, we must first understand the difference between the three mediums.


Difference between Watercolors, Acrylic Paint, and Oil Paint

Even though all these three types of paints are very different from one another, there is one key element that defines each type of paint - pigment.

Hence, the only difference between the three types of paint is the carrier, also known as the binding medium. This medium is responsible for binding the pigment together and providing the paint with flow.

Watercolor Paint

Watercolor paints are generally suspended in a binding medium called Gum Arabic. Watercolors, unlike other types of paint, can be lifted after they are dry, and are generally applied to paper. Watercolors are layered in terms of transparency to build tone and depth of the art piece.

Oil Paint

Oil paint pigments, as the name suggests, are suspended in oil, generally Linseed oil. Oil paints dry slowly, as compared to water color paints and acrylic paints, allowing the artist enough time to blend and mix colors.

Oil paints are generally used on canvas, and can take up to multiple years to dry completely. Unlike water color paints, oil paints are thinned using solvents or oil.

Acrylic Paint

Acrylic paint is suspended in a plastic-based carrier, which is a water-based plastic polymer resin. These paints dry off very quickly and can be thinned using water.

Artists that want their paints to dry faster in order to work with a lot of layering and textures generally use acrylic paints.

Which Medium is Easier to Paint With?

As a beginner, one must gain technical knowledge about the paints and practical knowledge about how the medium works on different materials.

When starting off, it is easier to work with oil paints, since they take a while to dry, allowing more time to correct mistakes or modify the painting.

However, to be able to do this, it is important to know that you cannot use oil paints directly from the tube. You must thin the paint, using turpentine or Linseed oil.

Acrylic paints are tougher to master, as compared to oil paints, mainly because they dry off quickly and require speed and precision when working with them.

When one gets used to having precise and clean brush strokes, exploring acrylic painting can be very interesting. However, it is still easier than watercolors since acrylic paints can be cleaned using water.

Lastly, watercolor paints are the toughest to master, as it requires one to specialize in the quirks of the paint and color.

These quirks include transparency, staining, and sedentary properties of color and paint at different consistencies. Apart from that, one must also master techniques such as washing, lifting, filling, wet-on-wet, wet-on-dry, and many more. The space to correct mistakes in watercolor paintings is minuscule as the paper may start shaving off.

We hope this article was helpful in understanding some of the different types of paints, and you’ll be able to make a better-informed choice as to which medium you prefer, or at least which one is easier to paint with!

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