How to Decide What Paint to Use


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Which paint is best for beginners?

The most commonly used paints are acrylics, oils, watercolors, and pastels. Each has its advantages and disadvantages. The choice will depend on your personality and to some extent where you are going to paint.

In addition to the characteristics of the different types of paint, there are also some other considerations:

  • Cost: High-quality paint and canvas are expensive, but cheap paint won't give you good results when mixing colors. You need to find a balance between having quality paint to give good colors but cheap enough that you don't have to worry too much about running out of paint (or wasting it).
  • Poisoning Hazards: If you have young children, you may not want to leave the solvents used in oil painting lying around. Some people are also allergic to solvents, in which case you can look for low-odor versions or water-based oil paints. Soft pastels can be very dusty; be sure to minimize the amount you inhale. For example, don't blow on your work to remove loose cake. Toxic pigments, such as cadmium red, are generally available as a non-toxic shade. Not that painting is meant to be eaten! Personally, I think acrylics are the best option for beginners because they are easy to learn to use, dilute, and clean with water, and there are brands available that strike a good balance between quality and price. So let's take a look at the advantages of acrylics.

Acrylic paint


  • Dries very fast
  • Mixed with water or media/gels
  • Brushes cleaned with water
  • Once dry, it can be repainted without disturbing the underlying layers.
  • It can be used in thicknesses (filling), such as oils, or fine washes, such as watercolor.
  • Water-resistant, very good for murals.
  • It works like glue, great for collages.


  • It dries very quickly, although working time can be increased by adding a retardant to the paint, spraying water on paint, or using one of the brands with the longest drying time.
  • Completely waterproof once dry, so it cannot be removed by wetting the paint.
  • Difficult to remove from a brush if it is dry
  • Except when used in fine washes, colors dry slightly darker than when applied
  • There is a wide range of acrylics on the market, from high-quality paints with a high pigment content to inexpensive paints with little pigment and a lot of filler. You will need a selection of colors, at least a brush, and paper or canvas to paint. You don't need anything other than tap water to thin the paint or clean the brush.

Oil paint


  • Dries slowly, leaving plenty of time to work and mix colors.
  • Once dry, it can be repainted without disturbing the underlying layers.
  • Rich, deep colors retain their intensity when dry.
  • It can be used in a thick layer or fine and smooth enamels.
  • A classic (used by the old masters)


  • Diluted with solvent and/or oils, so work in a well-ventilated area.
  • Slow drying, remember to work on multiple tables at the same time
  • Using an alkyd medium will speed up drying
  • It takes several months to make sure a painting is dry before it can be varnished.
  • Brushes are generally solvent cleaned, but you can use oil or dish soap


There is a wide range of oil paints on the market, from high-quality paints with a high pigment content to inexpensive paints with little pigment and a lot of filler. You will need a selection of colors, at least a brush, a canvas to paint, a medium to dilute the paint, a palette to put your colors and mix them.

Water-soluble oils

A relatively new alternative to traditional oil paint is water-soluble oils. These are formulated to be diluted with water and can be mixed with traditional oils.

Watercolor paint


  • Mixed with water and brushes cleaned with water.
  • Paint can be removed by rewetting
  • If the paint drawn from a tube has dried, it becomes reusable if you add water


  • Being quite transparent, it is difficult to correct or hide mistakes in a watercolor painting.
  • You should allow the colors to be lighter after they have dried than when you painted them.
  • There is no white watercolor paint; white comes from the paper you paint on


Watercolors are the cheapest to install; all you need is a set of base colors, a brush or two of different sizes, paper, plus a chalkboard and brown tape if you intend to stretch the paper.



  • Without waiting for the cakes to dry
  • Colors are mixed on paper, not on a palette, overlapping or mixing them
  • A wide range of colors is available
  • No brushes to clean
  • Easy to use outside the studio.
  • Oil-based pastels can be thinned and mixed with turpentine, or they can be scraped to reveal the colors underneath, called sgraffito.

Disadvantages of Pasteles:

  • Requires a wider range of colors to create an image than for other media
  • Different brands and pigments vary without problems.
  • Dry pastels tend to be prone to smudging and cake peeling out of the middle. This can be avoided by using a spray fixative, gluing on a piece of tracing paper, or framing it with a backing that separates it from the glass.


You will need a variety of colors, paper, a board to hold the paper, and a fixer.

How can you be sure that you have chosen the correct paint?

Simply put, you can't be completely sure until you've done some work with it. You will soon find out if you like working with it and the results, or not. Make sure all the frustrations are with the painting itself and not because your painting is not as beautiful as you envisioned it. The gap between how you think your painting should look and what it actually looks like will narrow with experience as you gain more painting techniques and skills.

If you like different things in different paintings, you can mix them up, then you will be working on what is called mixed media. If there is an art school near you, find out if they have an introductory course to a particular medium. You will be able to try painting among other newbies and learn the basic skills. You can also provide a contact for cheaper art supplies.

Pastels and watercolor pencils are popular means of drawing/cross painting; With them, you can achieve pictorial effects while maintaining the immediacy of the drawing. Other painting mediums are gouache, tempera, and encaustic. Special paints are used to paint on silk or fabric, which are set with heat (usually with an iron) to prevent washing.

Enjoy The Video Tutorial about ACRYLIC vs OIL Painting | Differences, Pros & Cons!

Source: Katie Jobling

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