The Differences between Oil and Acrylic Paints

Published: Jun 13, 2014 | Category: Thinking

When it comes to art, the paints used can make a world of a difference in the final result of the artwork. This is why some artists prefer using different mediums. Some are more comfortable with oil paints while others are more comfortable using acrylic paints. It is usually just personal preference. Here is a breakdown of some of the differences between oil and acrylic paints:

Acrylic Paints

  • These paints dry very quickly. In the time it takes you to check the mail, your acrylic paint can begin to harden or even dry completely.
  • Acrylic is very versatile in that it can be painted on anything and any surface.
  • You can achieve very crisp lines and edges with acrylic paints.
  • It is often hard to blend because it dries so extremely fast. Especially if you are working on a larger painting, you need to work really fast to prevent your acrylic paint from drying.
  • Acrylics will not fade over time and look good as new.
  • The colors tend to oxidize just a tad when they dry. Oftentimes, colors came become shade or two lighter or even darker.
  • Acrylic is very flexible. You can use thick layers or thin layers and the color payoff is still opaque.
  • Acrylic paints are water based so they are non-toxic and have no odor or fumes.

Oil Paints

  • Oil paints have a slower drying time so it allows you more time to work on your project. Since oil paints do not dry immediately, you have the flexibility of fixing any mistakes or even come back to your artwork another day to finish.
  • Preparation time for oil paints are longer since oil is very corrosive. You are going to want to work on a canvas because it holds up very well with oil paints. So, preparing the actual canvas may take some time.
  • Oil paints blend like a dream. Since it takes some time for them to dry, you have time to blend smooth out your color.
  • You may have some trouble making crisp lines and edges since oils are a little slippery. You want to work in thin layers if you are trying to achieve a more crisp edge.
  • The color of oil paints tend to shift as it dries and sinks deeper into the canvas. This can also create a tinge of yellow that usually appears when canvases dry.
  • Oil paints almost take too long to dry. At times it can take up to days to dry.
  • Oil paints can sometimes be overwhelming with its turpentine fumes.

Overall, there are both pros and cons to both types of paint. This only comes down to personal preference. Both paints result in beautiful color outputs and are widely used in today’s art. Depending on what type of finish you prefer, choose oil or acrylic paints accordingly.

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