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Painting with Watercolors vs. Acrylics


Painting is one of the oldest crafts in the history of mankind. Prehistoric Neanderthals and early humans would create art on the walls of the caves they took shelter in.

The ancient Egyptians would use these fine motor skills to create artwork with the capability to communicate with others without ever needing to speak a word. As time went on, art started to evolve and help people with different problems.

Those with mental health woes would use it as a way to heal from their traumas or anxieties while others would use art as a hobby aimed toward an improvement of their positive mindset.

This form of healing, expression, and communication is why many people seek to learn how to paint. However, it can be hard to determine the techniques and methods you have an aptitude for in order to create something you are happy with.

As you’re considering different techniques, take some time to consider water color vs. acrylic painting.
Create Watercolor Effects With Acrylics

Watercolor Painting vs Acrylic Painting

Some of the world’s most powerful artworks have been made using a variety of techniques, tools, and materials. People like Andy Warhol and Pablo Picasso revolutionized the way we see our world and enhanced our ability to think outside of the box with their artworks.

While there are a number of styles to choose from, two of the most popular and timeless forms of painting have to be watercolor and acrylics.

However, when considering these two forms, what are some of the similarities and differences?

What Is Watercolor Painting?

Watercolor painting involves creating art with water-based paints that are manipulated primarily by water.

To do this, you need to ensure you use all of the right instruments, tools, and deliberately choosing the paint you are going to use. Thankfully, there aren’t too many materials needed to turn out a fantastic watercolor piece.

First, you’ll need to identify the pigment you want to use. With over 100 different options to choose from, it’s unlikely that you’ll have trouble finding exactly the right shades. It’s up to you to decide what shades you want to use, but be aware there are differences between different types of watercolor paints. For example, there are both natural and synthetic formulas. In general, natural formulas tend to be the more expensive option, but also tend to give more natural tones.

After choosing your pigments, you’ll need a binder. Typically, gum-arabic is used as a binder for watercolor paints, to help keep the pigment materials together and ensure the paint sticks when applied.

In addition to these, you’ll need a moisturizer and plasticizer to prevent the paint from turning into a hard block as you work. This will keep the paint from solidifying too quickly, giving you ample time to work and create. Some people will use a brightener as well, which will enhance the pigment’s vibrancy.

How to paint with acrylics

What Is Acrylic Painting?

Acrylic paint was originally made for houses – to add some color – but they have since evolved to be used in a more artistic and personal form of artwork. Many of the older versions of colorants caused people to inhale toxic fumes and posed other serious health risks. However, most modern acrylic paints are non-toxic and safe to use.

It’s even become the preferred version of paint for many artists, largely due to the fact you don’t need to mix and create your own colors.

Sure, you’ll want to test them out to see how fast they dry, how opaque they are, and if you need to combine any of them. But unlike other types of paint, you generally don’t have to hand-mix the colors to get the shade you want. Thankfully, acrylic paints usually come in ready-to-go tubes that are easy to identify and use.

Learn how to paint textured abstracts and abstract landscape art.

Acrylic paints are very versatile, allowing for their use on almost any medium. The fact that acrylic paint can be used on a variety of mediums makes it a preferred option for those who like to use different materials in their art. The paint sticks well and offers beautiful color and looks once dried.

Keep in mind this is a water-based medium, making it pleasant to handle and absent of a potent uncomfortable smell that is so prevalent with other forms of paint. It will also dry quick enough to keep from dripping, but not fast enough you can’t work with it.

Acrylics like Watercolors?

You can create washes and transparencies, like in this painting tutorial GLAZED EARTH or learn how to manipulate acrylics like watercolors.


Additionally, you can use various techniques with this kind of paint, including:

● Texturing
● Dabbing
● Palette knife painting
● Stippling
● Washing
● Dry brushing
● Pouring
● Splattering
● Underpainting

There is no limit to what you will be able to create when using acrylics. Building strong techniques and skills will serve you well into your painting future.

What Art Suits You?

If you find yourself still considering the merits of watercolor vs acrylic painting, ask yourself a few simple questions. It’s a good idea first to consider what type of art you are drawn to.

When you seek art, do you find yourself in awe over watercolor? Do acrylic pieces draw your eye? For many, the first and best way to start is simply by utilizing the same materials (or similar) in the pieces they love to look at.

Ask yourself how much time and effort you are willing and able to put into your craft. Due to the different materials and steps required for watercolor painting, this can take longer and be a more involved process than acrylic painting.

Beginner Art Tutorials

Painting with acrylics
Use various mediums to create different looks

Using tools with acrylics

How to create a multi-layered painting

Creating different looks with acrylics


Another thing to consider is what resources and materials you have. If you have a number of books and resources for acrylic painting, but nothing in regards to watercolor, it might be a good idea to start with acrylic now, and move to watercolor at a later time.

It’s important to remember that just because you choose one style of art right now, you are not locked into that forever. You can move between mediums, change your style, and go with whatever suits you best at the time.

This post first appeared on Learn How To Paint With Acrylics, please read the originial post: here

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Painting with Watercolors vs. Acrylics


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