Acrylic paints are a great choice for beginner artists. They give particularly rich colors, dry fairly quickly. They can draw on a variety of materials: paper, fabric, canvas on a stretcher, glass, wood, ceramics. In this article, we will tell you the main points that you should know about acrylic paints when starting to draw.
Acrylic paints are water-dispersed and have a pasty consistency. They can be diluted with water, a special thinner, or not and write like that. In any case, the paint lays well in an even layer and forms a strong and durable coating. Acrylic is suitable for both voluminous outdoor and decorative interior work. After drying, a polymer film is formed on the paint layer, which is not afraid of moisture and temperature changes. At the same time, the colors remain as bright and fresh as if you had just finished your painting.
They do not have a sharp unpleasant odor, do not emit toxic substances, do not require the use of thinners, so they are great for children’s creativity. Pregnant women and people with allergies or diseases of the respiratory system can work with them without fear that this will lead to a deterioration in well-being or harm to health. In addition, there are no flammable components in the composition of the paints.
Thanks to a wide variety of acrylic paints, amazingly beautiful pictorial effects can be achieved. For example, paints differ in coloring composition. Matte paints do not give shine and after drying they create a uniform opaque layer. Glossy paints create a bright shiny surface. Gloss can be both soft silky and glossy mirror – depends on the degree of gloss. Fluorescent paints contain a special pigment that glows in the dark. The pre-painted surface must be exposed to sunlight.
Pearlescent paints create a coating that refracts light like real mother-of-pearl, as they include a light-reflecting pigment. Metallic effect paints imitate a metallic sheen because they contain an aluminum powder pigment. Acrylic paints also differ in the types of work for which they are intended: artistic – for painting; for design work outside and inside the premises; for fabric work; for ceramics; for glass; for metal. According to the form of release, acrylic paints are either in tubes or in cans. In tubes, the paint is more viscous, dense, this form of release is convenient for the impasto technique when writing with thick textured strokes.
In jars, acrylic paints are more liquid. They are convenient for pouring large areas, they are easier to breed. As already mentioned, you can draw on anything, but if you are starting, it is better to take a paper canvas on a cardboard basis, which in its characteristics resembles a canvas stretched on a stretcher.
For acrylic painting, it is best to choose the following brushes: with artificial pile (synthetics), bristle; pile stiffness – medium and high. Brushes for painting with acrylic paints Soft natural brushes are not suitable, since acrylic paint is quite heavy, and the strokes will turn out shapeless and of different sizes, it is difficult to control them. We advise you to have four round and flat brushes of different thicknesses in your arsenal, as well as a palette knife.
Acrylic dries very quickly! Therefore, if you have acrylic paints in tubes, squeeze out a little, if in jars, then immediately close them with a lid as tightly as possible. If you are using a regular plastic palette, spray it with water from a spray bottle from time to time so that droplets of water hang in the air above the paints. Then the acrylic will dry out more slowly. You can also use special drying retarders.
In principle, ordinary clean water is enough to work with acrylic. But if you decide to seriously take up acrylic painting, then you should make sure that you have a medium and a drying retardant on hand. The medium improves the quality of acrylic in the sense that the paint becomes more elastic and fluid, does not lose color brightness, lays down better and is more evenly distributed over the surface, and forms a more durable coating.
There are two types of mediums.
The thickener is designed specifically for thickening too liquid acrylic paints. Thinner to improve the flow properties of the paint, but not completely dissolve the pigments, as is the case with water. Retarder Acrylic Paint Drying retardants are indispensable if the drawing has a lot of details and you are worried that you will make mistakes. The fact is that acrylic dries irretrievably: you can’t wash it off with water, like watercolor. Retarders slow down this process and make it possible to correct shortcomings in time.
If you paint from time to time, it is extremely important to ensure that the acrylic paints are in working order. This is especially true for paintings by numbers: in the set, the paints are selected according to shades, so if they dry out, you will either have to look for and buy additional colors separately, or mix them, which also requires certain skills.
What to do?
Check paints regularly if they have thickened. Add clean water and mix with a wooden spatula until smooth. Professionals recommend storing mixed paint containers tightly sealed or placed in a ziplock bag (make sure all air is expelled). In this case, they will be suitable for drawing within 2-3 days.
Experienced artists know how to get acrylic back to working order, even if the paint has dried in a can. Grind the dried piece in a bowl. Fill with boiling water. As it cools, add boiling water until all the crumbs are saturated with water and become soft. Mix thoroughly until all lumps are gone and transfer to a container with a tight lid.
If you use water to dilute acrylic, then it should be clean and cool. The properties of the paint change from the selected proportion. 1:1 is suitable for the first layers, the fluidity of the paint improves, and it lays down well without accumulating on the brush; 1:2 applied to the secondary coats, the paint is distributed evenly, creating a smooth finish; 1:5 is used for glazing, acrylic creates a durable translucent layer, as the pigment easily penetrates into the pores of the surface. By the way, special diluents do not give such an effect. Thinners, drying retarders and mediums are added to the paint strictly according to the manufacturer’s instructions. A significant disadvantage of this method is that the paint is unlikely to be as homogeneous as before, since some lumps may not completely dissolve.
To get new shades, you can mix acrylic paints according to the same principle as oil paints. Collect a small amount of two or more colors and mix until a uniform shade is obtained. Special tables help to correctly connect the paint in the right proportions. Another way of mixing: on top of an already well-dried layer, a second one is applied – transparent, using a different color. Thus, you can achieve a very interesting effect: the main color will seem to shine through the top layer.
This method requires certain skills and knowledge of glazing techniques. As far as the amount of tint mixed, it’s always best to mix a little more than you might need. Then you will have the opportunity to quietly correct the shortcomings after drying. There are several techniques for painting with acrylic paints. Acrylic painting techniques Glazing – a translucent diluted paint is applied in a thin layer on the canvas by pouring.
Dry technique – the paint is applied to the surface with a dry brush. After rinsing, the brushes are thoroughly wiped. Wet technique is used if you want to create a watercolor effect, paints are abundantly diluted with water. Impasto involves the application of thick paint on the canvas with thick relief strokes. Acrylic paints allow you to work in mixed media, using different techniques.
Dry Brush – dry brush technique, wet-in-wet – use of a large amount of water, for a watercolor effect, Impasto – paint strokes with a palette knife \ spatula, etc.
What else is important to know?
After complete drying, acrylic paints are not washed off, so it is best to create by changing into clothes that you do not mind, or by protecting your clothes with a large apron. The work surface should also be covered with a protective oilcloth. If the work is large, be sure to complete at least one independent element at a time. Do not be lazy to rinse the brush and change the water as often as possible, especially if you are working with a lot of small, thin details: it is impossible to paint them with a dirty brush. If you let the acrylic dry on the brush, then it will only have to be thrown away.
Therefore, always wash it immediately with mild soap and warm running water. There are also special liquids for washing brushes. To achieve clean lines, you can use paper masking tape. Fix it on a dry layer and work on. Do not worry, the tape has a very weak adhesive layer that will not damage the coating. Prepare three jars of water at once. In the first, add a few drops of liquid to increase fluidity, and then the paint will be better distributed over the surface. In the second, pour warm water to wash the brushes. In the third jar, rinse the brushes. Brushes should be washed every 5-10 minutes. Always dry your brush thoroughly with a paper towel or paper towel to prevent water from seeping under the metal crimp and ruining your work.