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Beginners Acrylic Painting - What Acrylic Paint should I Buy?

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There is a huge range of acrylic paints. When you are just starting to buy your painting equipment it is easy to feel overwhelmed by the choice.

However when you?re beginning with acrylic paints here?s a few things that will make your choice of paints a lot easier.

One feature of acrylic paint is that it dries very quickly which can a blessing when you are ready to tidy away. Or a curse if you don't know how quickly it dries and it ruins your brush!

Different Paint Consistencies

Acrylic paints usually come in tubes of either Standard Formula or Flow Formula. The Standard Formula is thicker and more suitable for oil painting techniques and using a painting knife. The thicker paint can be built up for impasto work where very thick layers of paint give a three dimensional result.

Flow Formula is a thinner paint and is more suitable for brush work and watercolor techniques. It takes a slightly longer to dry than the Standard Formula.

However if you want a longer drying time you can add a retarder medium to the paint, and this slows down the drying time and allows the paint to be ?worked? ? handy when you are painting complicated areas.

Acrylic paints are water soluble but when some paint dries on your hand you will see that it looks like a thin layer of colored plastic. This means that once the paint is dry it is almost impossible to remove it from clothes or furnishings. Always cover your work area with old newspapers to protect it from any spills.

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Acrylic Painting Tip

Be sure to always replace the top back on the tube of paint. Otherwise the paint will (quite quickly) dry in the tube ? this is annoying and a waste of money!

Acrylic paints often come in starter packs and these can be very good value when beginning with acrylic paints. It is usually cheaper to buy a starter pack than to buy the tubes individually.

When you are buying your first set of paints I would recommend buying a starter pack which will give you a range of colors at a good price. If you decide you would rather buy individual colors check out the other beginner?s acrylic painting articles for tips on the best colors to buy.

I would also buy Standard Formula ones. If you find you like to paint with a brush then you can add a little water to thin the paint for this purpose. However if you decide you like to paint in a thicker style you already have the correct paint.

However with acrylic paints you can add a gel medium to the Flow Formula to give it more body and this will make the paint suitable for thicker painting techniques. Acrylic paints really are very versatile, and there?s a range of acrylic mediums that allow you to vary the consistency of the paints.

Be sure to check out the other beginner?s acrylic painting articles for ones that look at buying the rest of your acrylic painting supplies ? palette and brushes, and painting surfaces.

Catherine Calder is the author of The Acrylic Painting Course. This step-by-step course is the best beginners guide on acrylic painting. For a free preview to completing your first painting visit

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