What is the Difference Between Oil Paints and Acrylic Paint?

There are several different types of paints in the world of art, each with their own special areas of expertise. Depending on what you are trying to create and the ancillary tools you plan to use, it’s important to understand the purpose and intricacies of the paint you work with.

Let’s take a look at two of the most popular paints among artists: oil vs. acrylic!

Take your time with oil paints

Oil paints are for painters that take their time—they take a longer time to dry, so much so that you can feasibly return to a painting the next day, and the paint itself will still be wet, and applicable. But oil is also corrosive, meaning that you’ll really need to have a prepared canvas on hand that can work well with the material.

Oil paints are top-of-the-line for blends

Oil Paint vs. Acrylic PaintIn fact, most children learn their color palette by blending oil paints when they’re young, providing an easy opportunity to learn what colors work well with one another. As a result, oil paints are fantastic for shading in portraits (and the most famous portraits in history are painted with oil), and other smooth blending techniques.

But again, it’s a matter of timing: blending colors can take a while, as the paints don’t immediately change colors. So, remember patience is necessary with oil paints!

Acrylic paints dry fast

As opposed to oils, these are generally for speedy painters—they dry extremely fast, and can virtually be painted on anything. So, they’re a sort of grab-and-go paint: multi-purpose, and multi-use. That also means they blend colors much faster.

You can’t predict with acrylic

Acrylics are usually recommended for more graphic-oriented painters, as they’re best for crisp edges rather than smooth blends. But like oils, it comes down to how much time you have—acrylics dry fast, but they also shift colors when they dry, making them a bit less predictable than oils.

Now that you understand the differences between these two types of paint, you’ll be ready to start your next painting project! At Hunakai Studios, we offer adult classes in both types of paints and more, starting up again this fall. Give us a call at 508-543-5665 if you have any questions and we hope to see you there!