watercolor vs acrylic paint-13 Significant Differences

watercolor vs acrylic

There are many coloring mediums out there & Everyone has their own favorite coloring medium.

But I think you should try different types of mediums out of your comfort zone. Because it will boost your confidence and also give you fun experiences.

Watercolor vs acrylic which is a better medium? what should I use at the beginning? people always ask that questions.

Let me tell you, the key difference between acrylic and watercolor. Watercolor is a semi-transparent or translucent medium that is used with water. And Acrylic is Opaque and thick medium which is used with or without water. Both are water-soluble.

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Watercolor vs Acrylic which is better?

If you are a beginner I would suggest using acrylic colors because they are very easy to use than watercolors and oil paints.

But they are a little expensive than watercolor and required canvas or you can use them on paper by applying gesso.

If you are thinking that I don’t have any materials that’s why I am stuck in one place and not growing as an artist, then let me tell you Don’t be materialistic.

Because painting medium or materials doesn’t make artists great. The skills make them great.

What is watercolor paint?

watercolor vs acrylic
Artist – Rohan

This is the customized portrait I drew with watercolors. In this painting, I used only 3 primary colors Red, Yellow & Blue. By mixing these colors I made this realistic shades of different colors.

As you can see in the background of the image, watercolor is semitransparent or translucent with colored pigments.

It comes in two forms cake/pan and tube watercolors. Winsor & Newton Cotman Watercolors and prima Marketing Watercolors – these are two leading brands of watercolors.

What is Acrylic Paint?

watercolor vs acrylic
Artist – Rohan

Acrylic paints are Opaque and used with an acrylic medium which is actually made up of Elmer’s glue or wood glue.

Acrylic paint is made by mixing colored pigment with acrylic emulsion. Acrylic paint dries quickly but can be last longer if mixed with medium.

Watercolor and acrylic colors both are water-soluble.

What are the significant differences between acrylic vs watercolor?

sr.no. Watercolors Acrylic Paint
1. Watercolors take time to dry. Acrylic Paint dries quickly
2. Watercolors required watercolor paper to paint.
Acrylic paint can be used on Paper, Canvas, Glass, Metal, etc.
3. Watercolors are thin and Translucent. Acrylics are thick and opaque
4. Paint remaining in the watercolor palate is reusable by adding water. The paint remaining on the acrylic palate is dried quickly and is not reusable.
5. Watercolors are the least expensive. Acrylic paints are more expensive than watercolors
6. It is very difficult to paint details in watercolors. You can easily paint little details in acrylic paint.
7. Watercolors are used with water and the opacity of paint is adjusted by also water. Acrylic paint is used with acrylic medium and can be used with water.
8. We can easily blend two colors in watercolors The blending of color is difficult in acrylic
9. The brush can be easily washed off after painting Brush hairs are become hard and damaged after the acrylic paint dries on them.
10. We can create the watercolor effect by semi-transparent property of watercolors We can create vibrant and saturated paintings with acrylic colors
11. In watercolors, you have to work on layerwise and starts with light tones In Acrylic, you can start from both.
12. In watercolor painting, you have required less paint But in acrylic, you have required more paint.
13. We do not use white other than highlighting in watercolors We use white & black with other colors to change saturation and contrast.

Similarities between Watercolor vs Acrylic

The main similarity between these two mediums is, they both are water-soluble.

Both acrylic and watercolors can be used on paper. but for acrylic, you have to apply gesso on paper.

Watercolor vs acrylic for beginners

Watercolors are hard to control because they can spite out of your border. and you couldn’t get sharp drawings. But in acrylics, you can adjust the thickness of paint & get sharp edges easily.

You have to work layerwise on watercolor paper, That means you have to start with light color and then in the third or fourth layer you can add details. But You can start direct coloring on acrylic and you can also overly on it anytime.

And the drying time of watercolor is more so you have to wait for work on another layer. The drying time of Acrylic is less so you have to work fast, this might need some struggle for beginners.

In a final word, if you are a beginner then start with acrylic colors. And I also want to say that, if you are a beginner then colors doesn’t matter work on your skill first.

Final words on watercolor vs acrylic –

There are both advantages and disadvantages of Acrylic and Watercolors. you have to decide your medium according to your need.

Acrylic vs watercolors-

  • Acrylic dries quickly, watercolors dry slow.
  • For beginners I recommend acrylic.
  • Watercolors are translucent, Acrylics are opaque.
  • both can be used with water.
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