Acrylics 101

Acrylics 101

Acrylics are pigments in a polymer emulsion thinned and liquefied by the addition of water. Because they are water-soluble, no harmful solvents are necessary in the painting process or when cleaning up.

Acrylic techniques are similar to many of oil painting processes, however if you thin them with water, they can be treated much like watercolor paint.

Acrylics are a relatively new medium, having been around just since the 1940s.

poipu table.png

Why Acrylics?

The versatility of painting with acrylics is why many people gravitate towards this medium. It can be used opaquely or diluted with water or medium for more transparency. It can be used as a traditional painting media and it also works well mixed media, collage and airbrushing.

Tips for Painting with Acrylics

1. Acrylics dry very quickly.

• if painting outdoors, shade the painting and palette

• mist palette with water to keep the paint fresh longer

• blend and soften edges soon after putting the paint on canvas

2. Many mediums are available for acrylics, allowing for a variety of textures and surfaces.

• gloss medium, pumice stone gel, matte acrylic painting gel, crackle paste, retarder, varnish, glazing liquid

3. Acrylic pigments dry darker than they look when freshly applied.

• keep this in mind when trying to match a color

4. Acrylics can be used on many painting surfaces.

• heavy paper

• canvas

• wood

• etc. (if the surface has just a small amount of tooth the paint will adhere)

Give it a try!


Acrylics are a fun, affordable, and versatile medium. Be sure to check out our Acrylic tutorials for some great tips and painting projects and visit our social forums with any questions.