Not sure what kind of paint to use for your next art piece? Acrylic and oil paint both have their pros and cons, so I’ll talk about the main differences between the two in this blog post to help you decide which one is best for you.
Common Knowledge About Their Differences
As you probably already know, the main difference between oil paints and acrylic paints is the substance that holds the pigments together. Acrylic paints can be dissolved in water, but oil paints can’t. You may have also heard or noticed that acrylic paint is thinner and more watery than oil paint, but that’s not always true because depending on the brand and the quality they both can have a different level of thickness.
Oil paint is usually thicker, but there are also lighter oil-based paints. The acrylic paint supplies online art stores sell come in a wide range of textures, from liquids that can be poured to thick paints that feel like paste. In general, both mediums need different drying times, materials, techniques, and safety measures.
Which paint dries faster?
Acrylic paints are made with water, which makes them dry faster than oil paints. A fully dry or “cured” oil painting can take anywhere from a few days to a few months, but an acrylic painting can dry in just a few hours, based on how many layers it has and how big it is. Opt to buy acrylic paint supplies online if you want the best choice for your painting to dry more quickly.
Opt for oil paints if you’re working on a big painting and don’t mind a long drying time or want to use different blending methods over several days. Still, this isn’t to say all acrylic based dry quick as opposed to all oil based that dry slow. Experienced artists know that both types of paint can also have different things added to them to make them dry faster or slower. When you mix something into the paint to make it dry faster, you usually call it a “drying medium.” When you mix something into the paint to make it take longer to dry, you call it an “extender medium.”
Which one is easier to mix or blend?
There isn’t exactly a winner here because each type of paint can be blended or mixed to make interesting colours and effects. You can make an impressive drawing with just art pencils, so this really mostly depends on your artistic process.
But here’s a tip to keep your acrylic colours easy to blend and mix for longer: Keep a spray bottle of water close by so you can wet the paint again if it dries too quickly or if you need to do more work. Just don’t use too much water, or you’ll lose some of the rich colours and end up with something that looks more like watercolour paint. So, mixing and colouring depends on how you like to work and how long you want to be able to work with your paint.
Which one is easier to clean?
Cleaning up isn’t as fun as making art, but it’s an important part of finishing a project and getting ready for the next one. And overall, it is much easier and takes less time to clean up acrylic paint than oil paint. This is because of a few different things.
First, you can’t clean oil paint with just water because oil naturally repels water. Second, oil artists often use solvents like turpentine to thin their paint and clean their brushes. You can’t wash turpentine down the drain. And third, many artists add strong substances to their oil paints to get effects like a matte or shiny finish, which can’t be cleaned with water alone. To clean your paint brushes the right way, you’ll need to use linseed oil, artist’s soap, paint thinner, or something else made just for that purpose.
The artist acrylic paint is easier to clean up because it is made to easily dissolve in H2O. Most of the time, all you need is warm water and a little soap and some towels. Acrylic paint is safe to wash down the drain, so you can feel free to clean your brushes and other tools right in the sink at home.
Which one is more toxic?
If you try to paint with oils in a small room, the fumes from the thinners, like turpentine and white spirit, can be too much for you to handle. White spirit can also irritate the skin, and rags soaked in turpentine can catch fire on their own! Many new solvent-free gels, like Gamblin’s Solvent-free Gel, are now on the market. These make it possible to thin oil paint without using solvents. You can also use walnut oil to clean them.
Mineral spirit with no smell doesn’t cut through oil as well as pure artist’s turpentine, and mixing it with Dammar varnish can cause problems. Liquin should always be used in a well-ventilated area because some people are sensitive to the petroleum distillates that are in the product.
Acrylics are a good alternative to oils if you don’t have a lot of room to work. You only need water to use them, and they don’t smell as bad as traditional oil painting thinners. Even so, it’s still a good idea to have ventilation because some brands of acrylics have small amounts of ammonia.
Acrylic paint and oil paint both have pros and cons, but the general rule of thumb is that if you want to concentrate on a sizable piece of art and still be able to blend, oil is a better choice than acrylic because it holds on to moisture longer giving you the opportunity to create for a longer period. But if you’re just starting out and want to experiment with various methods and painting techniques, acrylic paint is the way to go.