Acrylic Paint Vs Watercolor Side by Side Comparison

Acrylic Paint Vs Watercolor

There are pros and cons to both when it comes to acrylic paint vs watercolor. In this article, we will take a look at both types of paint and discuss the benefits and drawbacks of each.

We will also compare acrylic vs watercolor side by side so that you can see the differences between the two mediums.

Finally, we will give you some tips on which type of paint might be best for you, depending on your individual needs and preferences.

Watercolor and Acrylic Paints Paint Summary

Acrylic paint is a synthetic polymer made of acrylic acid. It is fast-drying, water-resistant, and can be used on a variety of surfaces.

However, it is not as flexible as watercolor and can be difficult to work with for beginners.

Watercolor paint is made from pigment suspended in water. It is slower drying, but it is more flexible and forgiving than acrylic paint.

It is also easier to work with for beginners. There are pros and cons to both mediums when it comes to acrylic vs watercolor.

It really depends on your individual needs and preferences as to which one you choose. If you are a beginner, watercolor might be a better option for you.

If you need something that dries quickly and is more versatile, acrylic might be the way to go.

What is Acrylic Paint?

Acrylic paint is a synthetic polymer made of acrylic acid. It was first developed in the 1930s and has since become a popular medium for artists of all levels.

Acrylic paint is available in both tubes and bottles, and it can be used on a variety of surfaces, including canvas, wood, metal, and glass.

Acrylic paint dries quickly, usually within an hour. It is also water-resistant and can be used on both indoor and outdoor projects. Acrylic paint is available in a matte or glossy finish.

Pros of Acrylic Paint

  • Dries quickly
  • Acrylic paintings are water resistant
  • Can be used on a variety of surfaces
  • Available in matte or glossy finish

Cons of Acrylic Paint

  • Not as flexible as watercolor
  • Can be difficult to work with for beginners

What is Watercolor Paint?

Watercolor paint is made from color pigment suspended in water meaning it is water-soluble. Watercolor artists have used it for centuries, and it is still a popular medium today.

Watercolor paint is available in tubes, pans, or liquid form. It can be used on watercolor paper, fabric, wood, and glass.

Watercolor paint dries slowly, usually taking several hours to dry completely. It is more flexible than acrylic paint and can be reworked even after it has dried. Watercolors dry lighter and is available in a matte or glossy finish.

Pros of Watercolor Paint

  • More flexible than acrylic paint
  • Can be reworked even after it has dried
  • Available in matte or glossy finish

Cons of Watercolor Paint

  • Slower drying time
  • Can be difficult to control

Acrylic vs Watercolor Side by Side Comparison

Now that we have looked at the pros and cons of acrylic and watercolor, let’s look at the difference between watercolor and acrylic paints side by side.

Acrylic vs.Watercolor: Natural vs Synthetic Ingredients

When it comes to acrylic paint, one of the main advantages is that it is made with synthetic ingredients.

This means that it is less likely to deteriorate over time, and it is also less likely to be affected by changes in temperature or humidity.

However, acrylic paint can be more difficult to work with than watercolor, and it can also be more toxic. Learn more about acrylic paint safety here.

On the other hand, watercolor is made with natural ingredients like natural gum Arabic and honey.

This makes it easier to work with and less toxic, but it also means that it is more likely to deteriorate over time.

In terms of preservatives, both acrylic paint and watercolor contain glycerin. However, acrylic paint also contains a synthetic glycol binder, which helps to keep the paint from drying out.

Acrylic Paint vs Watercolor Paint: Paint Types

There are two main types of acrylic paint: liquid and solid. Liquid acrylic paint is more versatile and can be used on various surfaces.

Solid acrylic paint is more opaque and can be used to create thick layers of color. Other types of acrylic paint include:

  • Standard acrylic paint: This is the most common type of acrylic paint, and it is available in both liquid and solid forms.
  • Heavy body acrylic paint: This type of acrylic paint has a thicker consistency and can be used to create texture.
  • Soft body acrylic paint: This type of acrylic paint has a softer consistency and is ideal for blending colors.
  • Molding acrylic paint: This type of acrylic paint is used to create three-dimensional effects.

Watercolor paints are available in two main types: tube and pan. Tube watercolor paint is more versatile and can be used on various surfaces.

Pan watercolor paint is more opaque and can be used to create thick layers of color. Other types of watercolor paints include:

  • Gouache: This type of watercolor paint has a thicker consistency and can be used to create texture.
  • Inks: These are transparent and can be used to create a variety of effects.
  • Dyes: These are soluble in water and can be used to create a variety of effects.

Read More: Acrylic Ink Vs Alcohol Ink

Watercolor Paint vs Acrylic: Surfaces you can Paint

Acrylic paint can be used on many different surfaces, including Canvas, Paper, Wood, Glass, and Fabric.

But when it comes to painting on a surface that will be exposed to sunlight or other harsh conditions, acrylic paint is not as durable as watercolor.

Watercolor can also be used on many different surfaces, but it is more commonly used on Paper and Canvas.

Watercolor Paint vs Acrylic Paint: Uses and Styles

Acrylic paint is most commonly used for creating abstract art, illustrations, paintings, and mixed media art.

It can also be used for creating three-dimensional effects. Watercolor is most commonly used for creating landscapes, portraits, and still-life paintings.

But it can also be used for creating abstract art, illustrations, and mixed media art. When it comes to the style of application, acrylic paint can be applied in many different ways, including:

  • Brushing: This is the most common way to apply acrylic paint.
  • Sponging: This technique can be used to create a variety of effects, including texture and color gradients.
  • Stamping: This technique can be used to create patterns and designs.

Watercolor can be applied in many different ways, but the most common application method is by brush.

Acrylic vs Watercolor Paint: Storage

When it comes to storage, acrylic paint and watercolor have different requirements. Acrylic paint should be stored in a cool, dry place because it is susceptible to drying out.

Watercolor should be stored in a moisture-resistant container because it is susceptible to mold and mildew.

Watercolors vs Acrylics: Drying Time

Between acrylic and watercolor, acrylic has a shorter drying time. This is because acrylic paint contains a synthetic acrylic polymer, which helps to speed up the drying process.

Watercolor paint, on the other hand, relies on evaporation to dry. Acrylic paint takes approximately 15 minutes to dry, while watercolor can take up to 24 hours.

Acrylics vs Watercolor: Toxicity

Acrylic paint is more toxic than watercolor because it contains synthetic ingredients. Watercolor is less toxic because it is made with natural ingredients.

Again, this is something to consider if you are painting with children or pregnant. You don’t want them to be exposed to any toxic chemicals. Here’s all you need to know about acrylic safety with kids.

Watercolor vs Acrylic Paint: Smudging

Smudging refers to the process of smearing or blending colors together. Acrylic paint is more prone to smudging than watercolor because it has a shorter drying time.

Watercolor is less prone to smudging because it has a longer drying time. To smudge acrylic paint, you need to use a wet brush. To smudge watercolor, you can either use a wet brush or a dry brush.

Watercolor and acrylic paint: Blending

Blending refers to the process of creating a smooth transition between two colors.

Blending colors in acrylic paint is much easier than in watercolor because the acrylic paint dries slower.

You can also layer colors on top of each other without worrying about them mixing together.

Watercolor paint is made with pigment and a binder (usually gum arabic), and doesn’t contain any oil. This makes it a great choice for painting on paper.

Controlling Dark and Light Shades

Acrylic paint is more difficult to control dark and light shades because it dries quickly. Watercolor is easier to control dark and light shades because it has a longer drying time.

You should expect acrylic paint to dry darker than it appears when wet.  Watercolor will dry lighter than it appears when wet.

Price

The majority of painters will agree that acrylic paint is more affordable than watercolor.

This is because acrylic paint goes a long way and doesn’t require any special equipment.

On the other hand, watercolor is more expensive because you need to purchase additional supplies, such as a palette and brushes.

In addition, watercolor paintings take longer to complete, which means you will need to invest more time.

Quality

Acrylic paint is available in both student and professional quality. Professional-quality acrylic paint has a higher concentration of pigments, which results in better coverage and color saturation.

Watercolor is available in both student and professional quality. However, most painters will agree that watercolor paint doesn’t have the same level of paint quality as acrylic paint.

This is because watercolors are more transparent and have a less saturated color.

Transparent Vs Opaque

Acrylic paint is available in both transparent and opaque formulas. Transparent acrylic paint has a lower concentration of pigments, which allows light to pass through the paint.

This results in a more translucent color. Opaque acrylic paint has a higher concentration of pigments, which doesn’t allow light to pass through the paint.

This results in a more solid color. Watercolor is only available in a transparent formula. This is because the pigments need to be diluted in order to create a translucent color.

The Use of White

Acrylic paint can be used with or without white paint. White acrylic paint is typically used to lighten the color of the paint.

Watercolor can only be used with white. White watercolor is typically used to create highlights and shadows.

Priming Your Surface

Acrylic paint can be used on a variety of surfaces, such as canvas, wood, and metal. Watercolor can only be used on paper.

You will need to prime your surface before painting with acrylic paint. This will ensure that the paint adheres to the surface.

You don’t need to prime your surface before painting with watercolor because the paint will adhere to the paper.

Clean Up

Acrylic paint is easy to clean up because it can be removed with soap and water. Watercolor is more difficult to clean up because it can’t be removed with soap and water.

To remove watercolor from your brush, you will need to use a special cleaner, such as Winsor & Newton’s brushes cleaner.

Sometimes you can also have to use a palette knife to scrap off the paint.

Lightfastness

This refers to the ability of the paint to resist fading when exposed to light. Unlike watercolors, acrylic paints are more lightfast than watercolor because it has a higher concentration of pigments.

Watercolor is less lightfast than acrylic paint because it has a lower concentration of pigments.

Permanence

This refers to the ability of the paint to resist changes, such as yellowing, over time. Acrylic paint is more permanent than watercolor because it dries to a harder film.

Watercolor is more prone to fading, and the colors can change over time, particularly if exposed to sunlight.

Acrylic painting approaches

Acrylic paint can be used in a variety of ways. It can be thinned with water to create washes or applied in thicker layers to create texture.

Watercolor is typically used on paper, and the paint is applied wet and then left to dry.

Ease of use

Acrylic paint is easier to use than watercolor because it doesn’t require any special equipment. Watercolor requires a palette and brushes.

In addition, watercolor paintings take longer to complete, which means you will need to invest more time.

Acrylic Paint vs Watercolor for Beginners

For beginners, acrylic paint is often the best choice. It is cheaper than watercolor and oil paint, and it dries quickly.

Acrylic paint can be used on a variety of surfaces, including canvas, paper, wood, and metal. Watercolor is more difficult to use and requires a steady hand.

Acrylic Paint vs Watercolor Oil Paint

Oil paint is a type of paint that uses oil-based pigments. Acrylic paint is a type of paint that uses acrylic-based pigments.

Watercolor is a type of paint that uses water-based pigments. Gouache is a type of paint that uses gum arabic as a binder.

All four types of paint have their own unique properties. Oil paint has a longer drying time than acrylic paint.

This means that you will need to invest more time in your painting. Oil paint also has a strong smell, which can be a bit overwhelming for some people.

Acrylic paint dries quickly and doesn’t have a strong smell. Watercolor dries slowly and has a light smell. Gouache dries quickly and has a strong smell.

Oil paint is more difficult to use than acrylic paint, watercolor, and gouache. This is because oil paint requires special equipment, such as turpentine and linseed oil.

Acrylic paint, watercolor, and gouache can be used with regular brushes and water. Oil paint is the most durable type of paint.

This means that it will last the longest without fading or yellowing. Acrylic paint is also very durable, but it is not as durable as oil paint.

Watercolor is not as durable as acrylic paint or oil paint. Gouache is the least durable type of paint and it is more likely to fade or yellow over time.

Can You Paint Watercolor Over Acrylic?

The short answer is yes, you can. However, there are a few things to keep in mind if you’re planning on doing this.

First of all, it’s important to make sure that the surface you’re painting on is properly prepared.

This means that any loose paint should be removed and the surface should be cleaned before you begin painting.

Otherwise, the watercolor paint may not adhere properly and could end up peeling off. Once the surface is prepared, you can start painting!

Just be sure to use a light touch when applying the watercolor paint over the acrylic base. If you press too hard, the paint could end up cracking or chipping.

Difference Between Acrylic and Watercolour Painting

Both types of paint have their own unique benefits, so choosing the right one for your project is important.

Acrylic paint is made of acrylic resin-based paint that dries quickly and is resistant to fading. It’s also durable and flexible, making it ideal for painting on a variety of surfaces.

Watercolor paint, on the other hand, is a natural pigment-based paint that produces softer, more delicate results. It’s perfect for painting detailed scenes or for creating washes of color.

Is Watercolor or Acrylic Easier?

The answer is that it depends. Both watercolor and acrylic have their own unique properties and results.

Watercolor is a transparent medium, so it is often used for painting delicate subjects like flowers or landscapes.

It is also difficult to correct mistakes with watercolor, so it requires a bit more planning ahead.

On the other hand, acrylic is more opaque and can be used to create both bold and subtle colors.

It is also easier to correct mistakes with acrylic paint, making it a good choice for beginners.

So, which is the right medium for you? Ultimately, it depends on your personal preferences and what you hope to achieve with your artwork.

Is Watercolor Painting Difficult?

No, watercolor painting is not difficult. However, it does require some practice to get the hang of it.

The best way to learn is by doing. Experiment with different techniques and see what works best for you.

Also, don’t be afraid to make mistakes. Everyone makes them! Just remember to have fun and enjoy the process.

Acrylic Paint Vs Oil Paint

There are a few key differences between acrylic paint and oil paint. Acrylic paint is water-based, while oil paint is oil-based.

This means that acrylic paint will dry quickly, while oil paint will take longer to dry. Acrylic paint is also less smelly than oil paint.

Additionally, acrylic paint is more flexible than oil paint, so it can be used on a variety of surfaces.

Oil paint is more durable than acrylic paint, but it is also more difficult to work with.

Watercolor Vs Oil Paint

Watercolor and oil paint are two of the most popular types of paints. They both have their own unique benefits and drawbacks.

Watercolor is a transparent medium, so it is often used for painting delicate subjects like flowers or landscapes.

It is also difficult to correct mistakes with watercolor, so it requires a bit more planning ahead.

On the other hand, oil paint is more opaque and can be used to create both bold and subtle colors.

It is also easier to correct mistakes with oil paints, making it a good choice for beginners.

Oil vs Acrylic vs Watercolor vs Gouache

acrylic, watercolor, oil, and gouache are all popular types of paints. They each have their own unique benefits and drawbacks.

Acrylic paint is a synthetic resin-based paint that dries quickly and is resistant to fading. It’s also durable and flexible, making it ideal for painting on a variety of surfaces.

Watercolour paint, on the other hand, is a natural pigment-based paint that produces softer, more delicate results.

It’s perfect for painting detailed scenes or for creating washes of colour. Gouache is an opaque water-based paint that dries quickly and has a velvety matte finish.

Oil paint is more durable than acrylic paint, but it is also more difficult to work with.

FAQs

Is acrylic or watercolor better for beginners?

Acrylic paint is a good choice for beginners because it is easier to correct mistakes than with watercolor.

Can you paint acrylic over watercolor?

No, acrylic cannot be painted over watercolor.

Is acrylic or watercolor better for landscapes?

Watercolor is often used for painting delicate subjects like flowers or landscapes. It is also difficult to correct mistakes with watercolor, so it requires a bit more planning ahead.

Is acrylic or watercolor better for portraits?

Acrylic paint is more opaque and can be used to create both bold and subtle colors. It is also easier to correct mistakes with acrylic paint, making it a good choice for portrait painting.

Can I use acrylic paint as watercolor?

No, acrylic paint cannot be used as watercolor. They are two different types of paints with different properties.

Is acrylic or watercolor better for mixed media?

Mixed media is a type of art that combines multiple mediums, such as acrylic paint and watercolor. There is no right or wrong answer when it comes to choosing acrylic art or watercolor art for mixed media. It really depends on what you are trying to achieve with your artwork.

Which is more difficult acrylic or watercolor?

The answer to this question is subjective. Some people may find watercolor to be more difficult because the paint can be unpredictable and the colors can easily mix together. However, others may find acrylic to be more difficult because it can be difficult to create a smooth surface and get the colors to look consistent.

Conclusion

So which one is better?  Acrylic paint or watercolor? The answer is it depends on what you’re looking for.

If you want fast-drying, durable, and flexible paint, then acrylic is the way to go. If you want a delicate and transparent medium, then watercolor is the better choice.

And if you’re just starting out, acrylic might be the best option because it’s easier to work with.

What is your favorite type of paint? Let us know in the comments below!

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