A Quick Guide To Basic Acrylic Paint Types

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So many different sorts of acrylic paints, so little time! If you ever actually wandered the aisles of an art-supply store feeling half-excited and half-overwhelmed, we really feel you. You just need a little guidance. So here’s a quick lesson on the main types of acrylics out there and what each can do for you.

Fluid Acrylics

Fluid acrylics aren’t as thick as standard paints, but the colours are as intense and saturated. Their main benefit is that you simply can use thinner layers of paint and actually get the same type of glazing and washing effects as oil or watercolor .

Heavy-Bodied Acrylics

These are the opposite of fluid acrylics: you can actually use them when you really need thick applications of color. Because they really dry fast, these acrylics actually work well for impasto painting: Just apply with a palette knife. Heavy-bodied acrylics are great whenever you wish to showcase the texture and quality of your brushwork.

Open or Slow-Drying Acrylics

The longer paint takes to dry, the longer it can actually stay on your palette. So with these acrylics you’ll be able to mix larger batches of color without worrying they’ll dry out (and have to be thrown out) — you do not need spray bottles and extending agents.

You can paint with these acrylics as if you were painting with oils: They’ll stay wet on the canvas so you’ll be able to take your sweet time finishing your artwork.

NOTE: The only company that sells a truly slow-drying paint is Golden, with their Open line.

Think about what type of acrylic paint would work best for you, then march yourself back into that art-supply shop!

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