Oil VS Acrylic and When to Use Each

We have explained about the definition and differentiation of oil and acrylic paint, the last topic that we would like to present is about when to use each of them. If you are one of so many people who get confused about when to use each, you better figure it out by reading the points below, but bear in mind that both of oil and acrylic paint can be applied by brush, spray, or airless paint sprayer.

When to use Acrylic Paint:

  1. If this is your first time with fine art painting, acrylic is the best choice for you since it is the easier medium to get started with. Besides, it requires minimal investment; all you need is paint, water, and a paintbrush.
  2. Acrylic paint is a simple paint which doesn’t require complicated preparation and setup. In fact, your setup with acrylic paint can be fairly minimal, as it is stated before, that all you need is just palette, brush, water and work surface. Moreover, the acrylic paint dries fairly quickly, you don’t have to leave your painting out to dry for a long time.
  3. Acrylic paint is suitable to be mixed with other media painting, since it won’t damage or degrade other elements of the piece. Acrylic is non-corrosive and water soluble, therefore it is far easier to incorporate into a mixed media painting or piece of art.
  4. Acrylic paint is good for a craft item or atypical surface, such as pair of shoes or yoga mat. Besides, its plasticity and low drying time makes it a clean, easy and effective way to paint off-canvas.

When to use Oil Paint:

  1. If you wish to paint in layers, then oil paint is the best choice for you. This is because oil paint stays fresh longer compared to other paint, especially a quick-drying acrylic paint. When built up in many layers, this can yield beautiful, vibrant paintings.
  2. Oil paint will remain the same color as the first time you paint it once it is dry, this makes oil paint comes a better choice compared to acrylic paint. In fact, acrylic paint will turn a bit darker once it is dry.
  3. Since oil paint dries slowly and can only be re-moistened later with a solvent, it is better suited to long-term, highly involved painting projects, or projects that require many sessions to complete.
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