Are you interested in learning how to paint, but you do not know if you should start with oil paints or acrylic paints, which is better for artists?
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I remember watching Bob Ross every weekend as a child, and it is nice to see him becoming mainstream again. Bob showed you how easy it is to paint beautiful landscapes with oil paints. He made it look easy, but I never got the hang of his technique.
Today you can find thousands of artists showing you how to paint with acrylics on YouTube.
What is better to start with oil paints or acrylic paints?
Personally, I do not think that there is a better choice.
There is a difference between oils and acrylics, and I will talk about them later, but honestly, the best choice will be determined by your goals.
Would you like to be an artist who paints with oils or acrylics?
Enhance Your Drawing Skills
Before we talk about oil paints and acrylic paints, which is better for artists, let’s talk about what will make you a better painter.
One key concept artists often overlook is the importance of drawing before learning how to paint.
Drawing is a fundamental concept in painting; thus, it is essential to learn how to draw. The ability to draw often makes a better painter because it equips you with the basics. Understanding how to integrate and balance shape, texture, light, and tone improves your accuracy and eye for proportionality. (Source: Craftknights)
Learning how to draw different shapes and values will condition your skills for when it is time to hold a paintbrush.
Oil Paints And Acrylic Paints What Is The Difference
Let’s go over the difference between oil paints and acrylics so you can make the best decision for your painting projects.
Artists have been using oil paints to create art for hundreds of years, and they are still a popular medium for painters. Just like with acrylics, oils have pros and cons.
Oil Paint Pros
- Oil paints have more pigment, producing more vibrant and vivid colors.
- The oil drying time is about 12 days, allowing you to mix colors for days.
- You can return to your oil painting the next day and produce subtle color contrasts.
- Oil paints do not darken when they dry. What you see is what you get.
Oil Paint Cons
- Oil paints might discolor with direct sun and age. However, this can be prevented by handling and storing oil paintings properly.
- Cleaning oil paint supplies is more work. To clean the brushes and your hands, you’ll need to use Turpentine or Mineral Spirits (both toxic).
- Oil paints are more expensive than acrylic paints.
Are Oil Paints The Best Choice For You
If you like to take your time painting with vivid colors and soft subtle value changes, then oil paints will be a better choice.
Oil Paint Supplies
Oil Painting Tutorials
Acrylic paints are becoming more popular, and artists are creating beautiful paintings with acrylics. But before you decide, let’s go over the pros and cons of acrylics.
Acrylic Paint Pros
- Acrylic paints dry quickly, making it easier to display or store finished paintings.
- Cleaning acrylic paintbrushes is easy and can be done with plain water.
- Acrylic paints are relatively inexpensive and come in a variety of colors.
Acrylic Paint Cons
- Acrylics darken as they dry, making it more challenging to paint the values you envision. However, with practice, you will get used to the value changes during the drying process.
- Because acrylics dry fast, you will have to work quickly. The quick-drying time also makes it a challenge to mix colors.
- You must clean your brushes quickly because dried paint will ruin the bristles. I keep my paintbrushes in a glass of water while painting with acrylics to prevent the paint from drying on the bristles.
Related Post: How To Make Acrylics More Vibrant
Are Acrylics a Better Choice For You
If you’re concerned about the toxicity of the paint and cleaners around yourself, your children, or your pets and do not have a well-ventilated area to work in, acrylics might be your choice.
Final Thoughts about Oil Paints And Acrylic Paints Which Is Better
There are pros and cons for both oil paints and acrylic paints, and the best medium for you will depend on your goals and if you have a well-ventilated area.
You will have to learn different techniques for both paints, and they will produce different results. But both will create beautiful paintings.
Don’t forget about the importance of enhancing your drawing skills before you start painting.
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