Learn about the types of art paint! A trip to the art store brings with it a world of possibilities! Walk down the paint aisle and you will find so many varieties. If you are an experienced painter, you know which paint works for you and which type you need for a certain project. However, if you're new to painting, you might need some help and that is exactly what this article is going to do.
Types of Art Paint
There are generally five different types of art paint that you can use for any type of paintings and art. You will find most of them easily in any arts and crafts store. The five different types of art paint that you can find are:
With each different paint type, you get different finishes and end results. You may need supporting materials with each paint type and at the end of it, a few considerations come into play.
Acrylic Types of Art Paint
Acrylic paints are water-based paints that are very versatile. They are ideal for many different painting techniques such as fine brushwork, glazing, staining, water media techniques, and so many more. The pigment quality is great in acrylic paints along with the color strength and durability. Acrylic paints come in a variety of different containers and can be used on almost any surface such as watercolor paper or canvas.
Advantages of Acrylic Paints
- Can be mixed with water or different mediums and gels.
- Brushed can be cleaned with water easily.
- Dries very fast.
- Once acrylic paints dry you can overpaint without disturbing any underlying layers.
- Acrylic paints can be used thickly as oil paints, or in thin washes to mimic watercolors.
- Great for murals as acrylic paints are water-resistant.
- Can be used as glue for collages.
Disadvantages of Acrylic Paints
- Faster drying time does not leave room for any corrections.
- Drying time can be increased by using different materials that may add more cost.
- Cannot be removed after it has completely dried.
- If acrylic paints dry on a brush, you may have trouble removing the paint.
- Colors can dry a bit darker when used in thick strokes.
Oil Types of Art Paint
Oil paints are a hugely popular pick for artists that have more time to create their art pieces. They are very durable and provide a glossy finish where the brushstrokes fill themselves and level out. Oil paints, as the name suggests, are oil-based but you can find water mixable oil paints as well. These paints blend well on the surface and the coverage they leave is very long-lasting. Oil paints usually come in a tube form but some may also come in different sizes containers. Oil paints dry very slowly which is ideal for any error correction or blending.
Advantages of Oil Paints
- Oil paints dry very slowly giving you plenty of time to fix mistakes, blend different. colors, or just take your time working on details
- Once a layer has dried, you can paint over it without disturbing anything else.
- The intensity and vibrancy of colors stay true even after drying.
- Can be used as thin washes, as thicker pastes, or even as glazes.
- One of the most popular paint types and is usually used by experienced painters so you can find many helpful resources to help you.
Disadvantages of Oil Paints
- You need a well-ventilated area to work with oil paints as you have to use solvents and/or oils to dilute the paint.
- Oil paints dry very slowly so you will have to wait longer for finished paintings.
- Drying time can be sped up using alkyd mediums which can add cost.
- Before varnishing, paintings may need to dry for a few months.
- Brushes need to be cleaned with solvent, oil, or dishwashing liquid.
Watercolor Types of Art Paint
Watercolors are pretty much the most common types of art paint. We've all used them at some point in our childhood, and for many, it was the first introduction to painting we had. Watercolors are water-based and are usually made from translucent paint that has pigments and a binder mixed in. Watercolors have water surrounding the pigment that dries and leaves the color behind. Watercolors also come in a variety of containers depending on the brand type.
Advantages of Watercolors
- Brushes can be easily cleaned with water.
- Water is mixed with watercolors to dilute so no extra cost.
- Paint can be lifted by simply rewetting.
- The opacity can be changed depending on the amount of water use.
- If the paint dries on a palette, containers, or any surface, you can easily remove or make it reusable easily by adding water.
- Very easy to use for beginners.
- Can be used on a variety of surfaces.
Disadvantages of Watercolors
- Mistakes are visible because the paint is pretty transparent.
- Rectifying errors is also very hard owing to high transparency and fast drying time.
- Colors dry lighter than they will look when putting on the surface.
- No white color option.
Gouache Types of Art Paint
If you're looking for water-soluble paint that is very opaque, then Gouache is the one for you. It does not allow the surface color of the paper to show through and has a slightly chalkier finish than other paint types. Gouache paints will absorb light instead of reflecting it meaning they will dry a little bit darker than it looks when you're painting it on. Water is used to dilute these paints but they do have a very strong color pigment. These types of paint usually require a little bit of practice to understand the way the brush holds the paint and how it applies and dries on any surface.
Advantages of Gouache Paints
- The opacity of these paints allows you to lay down paint in one layer.
- Error correction is easier as the bottom layer can be covered with another opaque layer.
- An array of different colors plus a white gouache paint is also available in the market.
- Drying time is average which means you have some leeway with mistakes and finer details.
- If Gouache dries on the container, you can easily bring it back to life with water.
- Provides a brilliant velvety matte finish for more depth in paintings.
- Can be used to add texture to different paintings.
Disadvantages of Gouche Paints
- Some colors dry darker and some dry paler which can off-set the color balance of your painting after it has dried.
- If more than one layer is used it will take a long time to dry.
- Gouache is unstable and hence leads to a bit more fragility in paintings.
- Need rigid support or the paint will crack on the surface.
- Good quality Gouache paints can be very expensive.
- Varnish or glass coverage needed for Gouache paintings.
Encaustic Types of Art Paint
Suitable for more experienced painters, Encaustic paints are wax-based paints. They are available in a variety of strong pigments. You don't have to use any solvents with these paints. Encaustic paints are highly impervious to moisture which makes them great in terms of longevity. The best surfaces for Encaustic paints are firm and absorbent. A heat source can be used to soften these wax-based paints and you can manipulate them on the surface using metal tools.
Advantages of Encaustic Paints
- Can be used in multiple layers to create texture and depth.
- Very durable once fully cured.
- Can be buffed to a satin finish or left matte.
- Great for collages and embedding work.
- Can be scraped to reveal different colors underneath.
- One of the oldest painting techniques.
Disadvantages of Encaustic Paints.
- Paint dries brighter than it looks when painting on the surface.
- Error correction is not the easiest thing since you cannot overpaint the layers smoothly.
- Can be messy to use.
- Need to keep them warm so require a little bit more work.
- More experience needed to work with Gouache.
- Dried paint cannot be rewetted so wastage may happen.
Considerations for Each Types of Art Paint
There are a few considerations that you need to keep in mind when making your choice of the types of art paint you buy. Considerations include the cost of each type of paint and potentially the toxicity level of each type. The toxicity can come from the paint itself or the complementary materials that are needed to make the paints work for you.
Most top-quality art supplies have a steeper cost but that comes with more quality and produces a better end result. Depending on what you are painting for, you may have a set budget that needs to be catered to. Each type has a different cost structure and knowing which ones fit the budget is essential.
- Acrylic Paints - Depending on the color, brand and if the paints come in a set, Acrylic paints are generally quite affordable. A tube of paint will cost you anywhere from $1 - $6.
- Oil Paints - Oil paints are generally more on the expensive side. There are some sets or paint tubes that you can find for a very cheap price but you may be compromising on the quality. A tube of oil paint can cost anywhere from a few dollars to more than $100 per tube.
- Watercolors - There are two varieties of watercolors that are available in the market. Student grade watercolors are generally very affordable with one set running around the $2 – $15 mark. The artist-grade watercolors are more expensive though since they have a higher grade of pigment. They can cost more than good-quality acrylic and oil paints.
- Gouache Paints - Again, depending on the type of color, brand, or variety you're getting, Gouache paints can be expensive or cheaper. The really high-quality Gouache paint sets can cost over $1000 while the cheaper sets may be more economical than acrylic paints.
- Encaustic Paints - Encaustic paints are usually used by experienced artists and so can run a little more expensive than the other types. A good quality encaustic paint set with high-grade pigments will cost you around the $5000 - $7000 mark while a more affordable set can be anywhere from $100 to around $300.
Toxicity hazards for paints come from the potentially dangerous chemicals, pigments, or binders that may be used. For a few, some materials are used in conjunction with the paint that can pose risk to human health. Buying from a good brand and doing your research into which ones are non-toxic is the best way to get around this consideration.
- Acrylic Paints - Acrylics are water-based and hence have the lowest amount of toxicity in them. Just be sure to invest in a good quality brand and you’re good to go.
- Oil Paints - Oil paints themselves are not the most toxic but the oil and turpentine that is used in conjunction with them can be pretty toxic. You need to be in a well-ventilated area when using traditional oil paints. To eliminate any toxicity, you can use water-based oil paints.
- Watercolors - Again, use a good quality brand and you pretty much have no risk of toxicity. Watercolors are made for children and have high FDA standards that they have to abide by.
- Gouache Paints - Gouache paints are generally non-toxic but some paints may have added chemicals or binders that have harmful effects. Gouache paints are water-based and most have pigments derived from natural sources which means all colors are generally safe. Look for brands that are specifically non-toxic and you're good to go.
- Encaustic Paints - There is little poison hazard with Encaustic paints as long as you are working with them in a well-ventilated area. The risk consideration comes in from the fact that you have to use heat to use these paints. Be careful with the amount of heat you apply and stay between the 180-200 degree mark.
Types of Art Paint and Painting Styles
Now that we've been over the five different types of art paint you can use for your art pieces, we can now talk about what painting styles work the best. Down below you'll find a handy chart that matches each type of paint to the painting styles they suit the best.
|Paint Type||Painting Styles||Difficulty Level|
|Acrylic Paints||Quick and Small Projects - Paintings that have crispers edges - Paintings that have more graphic composition - Abstract paintings - Multi-textured paintings||Easy|
|Oil Paints||Landscape and Seascape paintings - Blended paintings - Paintings that require more time - Still-life paintings - Paintings that will be framed and displayed||Medium – Difficult|
|Watercolors||Multi-surface paintings - Gradient paintings - Layered paintings - Dry brush paintings - Paintings that don’t have too many details||Very Easy|
|Gouache Paints||Paintings on different paper surfaces - Staining Layered paintings - Dry brush paintings - Abstract landscapes or seascapes - Muted mix-media paintings||Medium|
|Encaustic Paints||Layered paintings - Portrait paintings - Bold shaped paintings - Collages - Embedded paintings - Blended graphic paintings||Difficult|
Types of Art Paint – In Conclusion
Here are the different types of art paint that you can buy in the market. There are generally five different types of paints that work for a variety of surfaces, painting styles, and different experience levels. Cost and toxicity considerations come into play when buying each type which may sway you away from certain types and pull you towards others. Do your research, use the handy chart in this post, and get down to creating a stunning masterpiece.