Acrylic Paint

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Common Questions
Artist/Professional Acrylics
Heavy Body Acrylics

Artist or Professional Acrylics are made with high-quality, finely ground and milled pigments, chosen for lightfastness and clarity of color as well as superior mixing qualities.

Heavy Body Acrylics are the best choice for impasto or heavier paint applications. They will hold a brush or knife stroke and even a medium stiff peak. Heavy body refers to the viscosity or thickness of the paint. Gel Mediums are also available in Heavy and Super Heavy Body to help stiffen thinner viscosity paints.

Student Grade Acrylics

Student Acrylics have working characteristics similar to professional-grade acrylics, but with lower pigment concentrations and a smaller range of colors. More expensive pigments are generally replicated by hues.

Pouring Paints and Mediums
Leveling and Pouring Mediums
Craft and Decorative Acrylics

Craft and Decorative Acrylics are suitable for applying decorative techniques on surfaces like wood, terra cotta, paper, and metal. Some of these paints glow in the dark or add a chalk-like finish to your project.

Iridescent, Pearl, and Interference Colors

Iridescent, Pearl, and Interference Colors combine conventional pigments with powdered mica (aluminum silicate) or powdered bronze to achieve complex effects. Colors have shimmering or reflective characteristics, depending on the coarseness or fineness of the powder. Iridescent colors are used in both fine art and crafts.

Extended Open Time Acrylics
Acrylic Paint Markers

Acrylic Paint Markers can be used to write or draw on hard, non-porous materials such as glass, plastic, and metal. Use them on any surface that's not oily, greasy, or waxy. Acrylic Markers are more opaque than ordinary ink- and dye-based markers. In contrast with most other markers, light colors can cover dark surfaces.

Acrylic Painting Questions and Answers



  • What is acrylic paint?

    Acrylic paint is a synthetic paint made by suspending pigment in a synthetic (acrylic) polymer emulsion — they're essentially plastic paints. Acrylics are watersoluble and have good adhesive qualities. They're very stable, resist oxidization and chemical decomposition, and won't yellow over time.

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  • What are some main advantages and disadvantages of acrylics?

    Acrylic paints dry quickly, which is both an advantage and a disadvantage.

    The advantage of a fast drying time is that you can apply many layers of paint in a short amount of time. Artists can very effectively use glazing and layering techniques when using acrylics. The layers of paint bind to one another very well because of their good adhesive qualities.

    Another advantage is their water-solubility, as this allows for easier cleanup and reduces the need to use chemicals that may create harmful fumes.

    The disadvantage to paints drying quickly is that there's a shorter time in which an artist can manipulate the paint once it's applied. Acrylic paints dry quickly because they're waterbased. The time it takes for water to evaporate is how long it takes for these paints to dry. However, there are several acrylic mediums (retarders) that can slow drying time.

    Something else to note: When acrylics dry, their color becomes slightly darker.

    Blick offers many books and DVDs to help you get started with acrylics. Visit our Books and Media – Acrylics page to see our selection.

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  • What surfaces are suitable for acrylic painting?

    Because acrylic paint is very adhesive and flexible by nature, it can be used on a wide variety of surfaces or supports. The best surface is a slightly textured one, such as a hardboard panel. Heavy paper and canvas are also excellent surfaces. It's recommended that an acrylic gesso be used to prepare whatever surface is going to be painted.

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  • What brushes should I use with acrylic paints?

    The viscosity of the acrylic paint is important in determining the right brush. Acrylics can vary from an almost liquid to a paste-like consistency. The thicker the paint, the stiffer the hair should be to move and control the color — acrylic brushes are classified as soft, firm, or stiff.

    Most artists who use acrylic paints use synthetic-hair brushes. Natural bristle can be used, but the stiffness of the hair is diminished when the paint is mixed with water. As a rule, use a long-handle brush if standing and a short-handle brush if sitting. To learn more about your brush options, visit our Acrylic Brushes page.

    Brushes should be kept clean. If acrylic paint dries in a brush it's very hard to get out without using strong solvents that might damage the brush. Clean brushes promptly by washing them with warm water and mild soap when you're finished painting. We offer a variety of products for cleaning and conditioning brushes on our Brush Washers and Cleaners page.

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  • What other supplies should I have on hand?

    In addition to acrylic paints, brushes, and a painting surface, there are some other key items you'll need. These key acrylic painting supplies are:

    • A palette
    • An easel
    • Rags or towels
    • A container for water
    • An apron

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  • What's the difference between artist-grade and student-grade acrylics?

    Fine artist-grade acrylics use more high-quality, finely ground and milled pigments, chosen for lightfastness and clarity of color as well as mixing qualities. They also have more resin solids. Professional-quality paints have a higher pigment concentration, less filler, and a larger color range. Usually made with a single pigment, they mix more cleanly and have better tinting strength than lower-grade paints.

    Student acrylics have lower pigment concentrations and are available in a smaller range of colors. More expensive pigments are generally replicated by hues. Hues may not have the same mixing characteristics as pure colors, and mixes made with hues are often "muddier." They don't cover as well as artist-grade paints, but they're usually more affordable.

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  • Can I mix acrylic and oil paints?

    Mixing different types of paints can be tricky. If you paint acrylic over oil paint, the acrylic won't adhere permanently and will likely peel. But you can paint oils over acrylics.

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  • When can I varnish my acrylic painting?

    It depends on how thick the paint is, how long it's been drying, and the relative humidity and temperature of the room in which it's drying. Generally, we suggest waiting at least a week before varnishing your painting. For impasto or thick paint applications you may need to wait even longer.

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  • Artist VS Student Quality Paints
    Artist VS Student Quality Paints

    If you're shopping for paint, you'll find there is a wide variety of brands and qualities to choose from and a vast difference in price as well. You might be wondering if it's worth spending a bit more for your paint or if a less expensive one will work for your needs. Kati will explain some of the differences between artist quality and student quality paint, so you can make the right choice for your application.

  • Blick Brand Paints
    Blick Brand Paints

    At Blick we pride ourselves on providing artist quality paints at the most competitive price. See why our Blick Artists' Acrylics, Artists' Oils and Artists' Watercolors are an excellent choice for any fine artist - even one on a budget!

  • Blick Acrylic Paint Lines
    Blick Acrylic Paint Lines

    Since there are many different levels of artists, each with their own needs, Blick has created three different lines of acrylic paint to choose from - all of which provide both quality and value. See Blick's Artist Acrylic, Studio Acrylic and Blickrylic in action to help you decide which is the right paint for you.

  • Amsterdam Acrylic Paints
    Amsterdam Acrylic Paints

    This video shows the attributes and differences of both the Standard and Expert Series Amsterdam Acrylic Paints. Whatever level of acrylic painter, one of these paints is right for you.

  • Chroma Atelier Interactive Paint
    Chroma Atelier Interactive Paint

    Acrylics will never be the same again. Chroma Atelier Interactive Professional Artists Acrylic paint is both "traditional" and "revolutionary". Interactive, when used in conjunction with a simple water sprayer, can be kept wet and workable for as long as needed to complete and unify a painting — then dries rapidly as desired. It can even be "reopened" weeks and months later with the use of Unlocking Formula.

  • Color Mixing Tips & Techniques
    Color Mixing Tips & Techniques

    Learning color theory and how to mix your own colors are very important tools when learning to paint. Kati will show you how to select a few primary colors for your palette so you can mix a wide range of shades and colors - whether working in oils, acrylics, watercolor or gouache.

  • Daler Rowney System 3 & 3D Acrylic Paints
    Daler Rowney System 3 & 3D Acrylic Paints

    System 3 is a soft body acrylic that offers the covering power and lightfastness you would find in an artist quality paint. System 3D is an ultra thick acrylic that has an oil-like consistency and great peaking capabilities. See more about these affordable, quality paints in our video.

  • Golden Heavy Body Acrylics
    Golden Heavy Body Acrylics

    Heavy body acrylics were the original paint line created by Golden. This artist quality acrylic line offers the largest assortment of unique pure pigments. No fillers or extenders are used. Each color is formulated according to the pigments unique characteristics for optimal results.

  • Golden Artist Fluid Acrylics
    Golden Artist Fluid Acrylics

    Golden Fluid Acrylics were created for a more aqeous acrylic paint appication but with the same pigment intensity of the heavy body paints. No more thinning out your color for fluid painting techniques!

  • Golden Open Acrylics
    Golden Open Acrylics

    What makes Golden Open Acrylics different from traditional acrylics? These artist quality Open paints allow for wet-on-wet techniques and a more relaxed approach to acrylic painting, similar to that of oil painting.

  • Lascaux Paints
    Lascaux Paints

    Lascaux Artist Acrylics are known as a premier, professional artist paint. In fact, these paints and mediums are used in all restoration departments and major museums across Europe. See for yourself why these paints are so special.

  • Liquitex Acrylic Colors
    Liquitex Acrylic Colors

    Liquitex acrylic colors come in three distinct viscosities; Soft Body, Heavy Body, and Ink. Each contain high levels of pigment for intense color and great coverage. Whatever your creative endeavor or application, there is a Liquitex Acrylic paint that will meet your needs.

  • Liquitex Slow-Dri
    Acrylic Mediums and Additives
    Liquitex Slow-Dri Acrylic Mediums and Additives

    Many times acrylic artists want to be able to slow down the drying rate of their paints in order to use blending techniques. Liquitex Slow-Dri Mediums and Additives eliminate the need for an entire new line of slow drying paints. Add these gels, liquids and sprays to your Liquitex Acrylic Colors for a whole new approach to your acrylic painting.

  • Tri-Art Acrylic Mediums
    Tri-Art Acrylic Mediums

    Tri-Art mediums have been formulated to provide artists with an endless range of textures, effects, and finishes. Tri-Art Polymer Mediums have a similar consistency to Tri-Art Liquid Acrylic paint - the ideal medium for extending color and creating rich glazes. Tri-Art Modeling paste provides a high relief textured ground that can even be sanded or carved! Tri-Art Gessos are smooth, flexible, sand-able and absorbent. Tri-Art Sludge Gesso is the most economical and ecological gesso while providing an opaque and flexible ground. Tri-Art Top Coat Hard is designed as a non-removable final coat for rigid supports. It dries glass clear to a tough, scratch resistant, glossy finish.

  • More Tri-Art Acrylic Mediums
    More Tri-Art Acrylic Mediums

    Tri-Art mediums have been formulated to provide artists with an endless range of textures, effects, and finishes. Tri-Art Gel Mediums are viscous and can maintain dramatic and detailed texture, while Tri-Art Self-Leveling Gels are honey-like in consistency and smooth out to form thick pools or flowing strands of acrylic. Tri-Art Nepheline Gels combine gel medium with nepheline syenite and provide a gritty, granular texture. They are flexible and tint-able with acrylic color.

  • Tri-Art Finest Liquid Acrylic Paint
    Tri-Art Finest Liquid Acrylic Paint

    Tri-Art Finest Quality Liquid Acrylic Colors are a professional grade paint offering incredibly high pigment load with a lotion-like consistency. These lush colors are designed to be used full strength for high saturation, or extended with acrylic mediums for a variety of textures and applications. These aren't your standard liquid acrylic paints -- watch this video to see why.

  • Tri-Art Solucryl Acrylic Paint
    Tri-Art Solucryl Acrylic Paint

    Imagine an acrylic paint that once dry can be rewet eliminating the waste we sometimes get with acrylic paint products. Tri-Art Solucryl is a liquid acrylic paint that can be used straight from the bottle, or dried and reconstituted like a tempera or watercolor pan. We'll show you just how unique this product is and how many different ways it can be used.

  • Sennelier <nobr>Extra-Fine</nobr> Acrylique Paints
    Sennelier Extra-Fine Acrylique Paints

    Sennelier Extra-Fine Acrylique Paints contain only the highest-quality pigments, selected to assure clarity, purity, opacity, and stability over time. A broad palette of 120 colors, most made from a single pigment, includes all the colors that made Sennelier's Artists' Oils famous.

  • Tips for Mixed Media Art
    Tips for Mixed Media Art

    Hilary shares several tips on working in mixed media. By following these simple rules, your work will remain stable and long lasting.


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