Ultimate Guide To Acrylic Paint

An Introduction to Acrylic Paint

 Acrylic Paints are a highly versatile water-based paint that can produce excellent results at a great speed. The beauty of acrylic paint lies in its versatility - this paint group offers almost limitless customisation options, allowing the artist to fine-tune their formula for every application, with a huge choice of mediums available. One of the key differentiators when working with acrylics compared with other paint types is how fast-drying they are! Unlike oils, which can take 1+ hour to dry, acrylics can dry in a matter of minutes. While this can make blending slightly more tricky in some cases, acrylics are also brilliant paints for beginners due to the fact the artist is able to paint over dried areas and not see mistakes like you would with oil. 

Ideal for mixed-media artists, the water mixable formula can adhere to many surfaces, creating a solid foundation for nearly all wet and dry media.  To add to this, acrylics are heavily pigmented, ideal for artists who want to create bright, vibrant artwork. 

For those looking for safe painting options or in shared studio spaces, acrylic is an incredible option due to it's low odor, with no solvents required for clean up like Oil Painting demands! This means it's far easier to clean up, and great for use at home or educational settings and communal spaces where solvents can be potentially harmful. 


Ultimate Acrylic Painting Guide


A Quick Glance At The History Of Acrylic Paint 

Acrylic Paint was first introduced into the market in the 1940s after chemical Company BASF in Germany created the first usable acrylic dispersion (a formula made up of acrylic resin, pigment particles and water). Acrylic was progressive in the sense that it combined both the qualities of oil and watercolour, and the discovery of how to create a rich paint that was still able to be thinned with water was a monumental advancement in the world of fine art materials.  The working opportunities that acrylics possessed set them apart from both oil and watercolour, causing acrylic paint popularity to soar. 

Here at Bird & Davis, we only stock the best brands of acrylic paint that are known and recognised across the world. We thought we would give you a little insight into each brand, it’s history and which artists each range is most suited to. 


Old Holland New Masters

Old Holland are a globally renowned paint brand, with a rich history and heritage encompassing the Old Dutch masters, dating all the way back to 1664.  So when it came to creating a range of classic acrylic colours in 1998, they felt new masters of art would be using the paint, which is where the Old Holland: New Masters line was born.  The New Masters Acrylics range features both opaque and transparent colours, and identical colour strength, satin gloss and intensity as their oil colour range. The brilliance of this range of acrylics lies in it’s ability to see almost exactly how your colours will look when dry, even when they are wet! The range has hardly any colour difference between wet and dry, making the artistic process a smoother one for artists of all abilities. 

Schmincke AKADEMIE Acrylic Colour

Schmincke's AKADEMIE Acrylic colour suits the needs of not only the ambitious beginner but also the highly demanding artist. All of the colours are created without the cadmium pigments meaning an even safer experience as although cadmium can help to make colours brighter, it is a toxic (although not a dangerous) heavy metal.  This range is completely water-proof drying, meaning any spillages or accidents with water won't ruin hours of painting. These acrylics have a long open time of the colours and also a pleasant odour, so are ideal for those working in shared spaces. Another huge benefit to AKADEMIE Acrylic Colour is that Stretched frames, painting boards, acrylic paper, wood and other clean, grease-free surfaces are all suitable as painting surfaces with this range!


ARA Acrylics

Ara, standing for the Acrylics Rietveld Academy is an acrylic developed at the highly reputable Rietveld Academy in Amsterdam. These acrylics are actually produced in the paint factory of Old Holland Classic colours, and the paint is made according to Old Holland's own recipe in order to ensure the highest quality possible. 

ARA acrylics are best suited for serious artists who are needing to cover large ranges of canvases. This range of acrylics are highly pigmented, delivering the purest colours possessing an extraordinary tinting strength. Made of 100% acrylic emulsion combined with lightfast pigments, they are formulated to give the smoothest and effortless brushable colour that still holds intensity and brilliance. When it comes to lightfastness, all pigments have a lightfastness on the Blue Wool Scale of at least 7 in full tone and 6 when the tint is cured with titanium white.


Ultimate Guide Acrylic Paint

Daler Rowney System 3

For students, beginners and amateur artists, Daler Rowney System 3 is an excellent choice due to not only providing a great painting experience, but there very reasonable price tag.  The colours are lightfast, permanent (ranking 3 to 4 stars for most of the colours), and are flexible as well as quick drying, making them highly suitable for applications on multiple surfaces both indoor and outdoor. 

Due to their soft body consistency, these acrylics are highly suitable when covering larger areas, without the irritation of visible brush strokes.  The high-quality pigments of the paints with superior pigment loading allow them to be easily thinned with water, or even can be used straight from the bottle. 



 With such a huge range of paints on the market, it can sometimes be hard to know where to start. But when it comes to the ranges of acrylic paints we sell - we stock only the best and globally recognised brands, meaning it is hard to go wrong! Ultimately, the choice of acrylic paint really depends on how you like to work and on the type of art you want to create, so it is very much a matter of preference for each artist! Pop into store or give us a call on 0208 368 8580 and ask our friendly team for more information on the Acrylic Paints we stock. 

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