There are many painting mediums out there, and if you are a budding artist just starting out, and you want to have a good go at it, you might be wondering if Acrylic and Oils are actually all that different.
Not only are there differences in the paints, but the whole process for both types of paint is different. You’ll need to get an affordable acrylic paint brushes set or a decent oil brush set, you might want to think about canvas vs paper and so on.
There is a lot to think about with art, but first off, you want to choose the medium through which you will paint.
Is There A Better Medium?
What we have to ask is if there is actually a better choice between these two, and to be honest, no. It’s very personal. Some people will prefer to work with oils and some with acrylics. It’s a personal choice.
It also depends on the type of art you want to do, some art styles benefit more from the use of oils, whereas others will benefit more from acrylics.
The Key Differences
So, what are the differences that dictate which of these two options is better? Well, there’s a few! Here are the five main differences between the two paint types that will help you decide which you use.
#1. Quick Vs Slow
You need to think about how much time you have to work on your art. This is because of the drying times between these two paints.
Acrylics will take a very short time to dry, they dry fast, and you can paint on anything with them and expect a quick drying time.
However, oils take a lot longer to dry, it can still be wet the next day, so these paintings will take longer to work on. Also, due to the oil in these paints you do not have as many options, and sometimes the medium you paint on will influence the drying time too.
#2. Blending Vs Hard Lines
It also depends on the type of art you want to do. Acrylics are great if you want a crisp edge, it works well for things such as abstract art, and the colors will mix well as well. However, a smooth blend is not so easy to achieve.
With oils, you get a smoother blend, this is thanks to how long it takes for them to dry. However, you won’t get a good and clean edge with them very easily either. It does make it hard to get a solid edge without having to wait ages for it to dry.
#3. Color Stability Vs Shift
Color is also important to think about. Acrylics are light fast, so they will look the same now, and 200 years from now. However, they do change color slightly when they dry, so you will usually look a bit of vibrancy, and colors are usually lighter on the canvas.
Alternatively with oils, there will be none of this. They will be the same color on the canvas when wet and when dry. However, their downside is that they age. The oil binder will yellow over time which ages the painting.
This is why old masterpieces like the Mona Lisa need a lot of upkeep.
Sometimes certain textures give us the ick, and this is the same for artists, some artists will like to work with a knife and a thick impasto paint, so acrylics will be a good option for these artists.
Oils are not so thick like this, they take a long time to try as well, so if you want to have a thick paint expect to be waiting a couple of days for the paint to dry out.
You can fix this with a siccative, but you need to ensure your painting area is well-ventilated if you do this.
#5. Space Available
Finally, how much space do you have? If you are an artist with only a small area to work in, acrylics might be a better option for you, as all you need is water, and your materials. You also do not need a lot of ventilation as their odor is not so strong.
However, oils need more space, and they need more ventilation because the smell of turpentine in them can be exceedingly powerful and, frankly, a bit sickening too!
You can dilute these, but again, you need the space to do this.