How to select the right paints


Look for color, paint thickness, and quality.

Selecting paint is a very personal experience because it hinges on the specific painting techniques you employ and the style of art you prefer. Basically, you really need to just get some paint and start making art! You'll come to know what brands and varieties you like best as you you gain experience.

Color     Thickness    Quality

There are  overwhelming  numbers of acrylic paint-colors to choose from. Consider starting with the group of colors below because they encompass nearly any possible color combinations you might create by mixing.

You might start with all of these:

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Cadmum Yellow Medium

Cadmium Orange

Cadmium Red Medium

Alizarin Crimson

Burnt Sienna

Pthalo Blue

Pthalo Green

Dioxazine Purple

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Titanium White

Ivory Black

Paint Thickness

images (26)Acrylic paint thicknesses generally vary from 'fluid' to 'heavy body.' Heavy body acrylics are buttery ... somewhat like oil paints. Brushstrokes are more visible with heavy body, and some believe it is easier for blending  or mixing purposes. Fluid acrylics differ in that they are thinner and may be better for focused detail work.The range between fluid and heavy body acrylics is wide. Mix in acrylic mediums for differences in thickness. Consider starting with 'heavy body' if you are a beginner. 'HB' acrylics can always be thinned with water or medium.


download (1)aThere are two grades of acrylics, 'student-quality' and 'professional-quality.' Student-quality acrylics are cheaper and have less color-range. They have added fillers and lower pigment levels. Professional-quality acrylics are more vibrant because the pigment is more finely ground. They have a higher permanence rating and tend to mix better. Student-quality paints are not bad. As you become more adept at painting and more familiar with acrylics you might consider moving up to professional-quality paints. A compromise would be to purchase professional-quality for some colors and student-quality for  others. Student-quality earth tones are nearly just as good as the professional. The best option is to purchase student grade earth-tone colors and  professional grade for other tones.


thMost manufacturers group paint colors into various price categories. The categories are generally based on the cost of the raw materials used to make the color ... the more expensive the raw material the higher the paint cost. Professional-quality paints are divided into series ... Series 1 and Series 2, for example. The higher the number, the more expensive the cost. A color like Cadmium Yellow would be in Series 9 which is the highest. An earth tone like Burnt umber would be in a much, much  lower series. If it says "hue" on the label it means it is an imitation and not a pure pigment. It is probably a combination of cheaper variations of that particular color without the color saturation of a professional grade.


Acrylic Painting Lessons