New experiment - Using artist acrylics
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Thread: New experiment - Using artist acrylics

  1. #1

    Default New experiment - Using artist acrylics

    Ok, so I got the change to get some liquitex artist acrylics heavy body for a good price. Almost impossible to get here in China because not distributed...
    My objective is to try to paint a mini using these colors completely.

    I have tried yesterday, here my first impressions:

    I have already tried oil painting, and simply love it, mixing your color, blending on the model, but still too inexperienced to really paint a full mini with this medium. I will use it for some touches here and there but will definitely give it a try.

    So now acrylics, you have the same tendency than with oil color to mix them together and discover the new color, I find it really pleasant... I have several transparent colors, mostly dark ones, the tones are so deep and colorful... I was amazed and I will definitely use them for some shadows or mid-tones glazes!
    Then the opaque paint, and being "heavy body" has a really high viscosity, this is disturbing me, when diluted even with matt medium they have less covering function. So quite tricky with black primer coat, and with white primer coat you can see the brush marks... So I have a mix feeling about using these acrylics for base coat.
    Is it the heavy body high viscosity problem? Wrong medium used? type of colors?
    But definitely I will use more often the transparent deep red, deep blue, deep greens, purple, for my shadows. I have also discovered Payne grey, put on palette, hmmm, was simply a dark grey, then diluted and mixed it became a really nice dark blue-grey!

    I will also get few tubes from Golden acrylics this time it will be fluid acrylic. It will allow me to compare with heavy body...

    So to conclude:
    I love mixing my paints, re-create the right skin tones based on few colors, then add a tip of purple, dark red, etc... Actually I discover myself collecting more colors than models at the end... And a indescribable joy opening a color tube, put it on the palette and diluted it, mixing it with others...
    You definitely don't need to have artist acrylics if you have your hobby paint already and don't want to mix colors! If you have them I believe that you are more than able to achieve top paint job with them without having a single hobby paint.
    Now I prefer the transparent colors only or mixed to hobby paint. I find them extremely deep and colorful for shadows and mid-tones.
    I have some doubts (maybe my mistake) using the opaque paints as a base coat on top of primer, covering power quite low and easy brush marks.

    Now, I would like to have the point of view of other people using artist acrylics, and telling if I were wrong using them?

    I will also post picture of the model I am painting now to illustrate my impressions.

  2. #2


    I believe the general consensus across multiple forums is that artist and craft acrylics can be used, but because of the thinning that is typically done, they need more layers to get the same coverage as the higher pigment miniatures paints. If one is accepting of that, then more power to you.

    When I started out I went the craft paint route. If I recall, I did get frustrated with them and switched to mini paint. I would believe now that I could get one to a good standard using the craft paints.
    "Reality, she's a mathematical bitch from hell.", MaxedOutMama
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  3. #3


    Yes pegazus, i wanted to try out, to experiment, having the chance to get some artist acrylics, i could not resist...
    I found one more advantages, having them with lower pigments concentration or with different medium, i found that highlighting is much easier, not chalky at all even with quite rough color change...

    Ok here some pictures to illustrate after 1.30h of work, the skin not finish yet especially the face, for the cloak 90% done:
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  4. #4



    Since the acrylics work better as glazes, have you tried painting your miniature in monochrome first then adding glazes?

    Not sure if you'll do as well as traditional basecoat - shade - highlight - glaze, but since you're experimenting...!

  5. #5


    I have only ever painted with artists acrylics. I love the freedom of being able to mix whatever color I want myself. I also like knowing exactly what I am using.

    You look like you are off to a great start.

  6. #6


    Great looking mini so far! Personally I never got into using acrylics for base colors, but i love using them for washes and glazes.

  7. #7
    Senior Member Jbickley00's Avatar
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    May 2004
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    Ok, typically artists acrylics have higher pigment loads than miniature paints, hence the more vibrant colors experienced by some painters (such as my self). Artitst paints typically have less filler ( addiditives other than pigments medium and binder,which increase thie opacity. Typical craft paint have less pigment and more fillers which gives them weaker colors (an exception is Americana Brand, which has lots of pigment and is every bit as good as any mini paints).
    Artitst acrylics come with two kinds of pigments: organic and dyes. Organics are powder pigments mixed in with acrylic medium, and have names with cadmium, oxide, umber and sienna (though this is not all). Dyes have chemical names like phthalocyanine and dioxizine. Dyes are very transparent and minerals are very opaque. Typically opacity on very transparent colors I improved by adding titanium white to a darker color. The white brightens (and can slightly flatten) the color.
    Mineral pigments on the other hand offer great coverage, so paints like cadmium red and yellow can go over black and solve most troubles with reds and yellows, but they are very expensive, so chemical alternatives are used which makes colors problematic.

    Heavy body paint can be thinned, it just takes a lot of practice to get the paint where you want it without brush strokes. Thinner coats with lots of layers is not typically a problem for high level painters. In general if painting over black is an issue, either prime white, or add titanium white to your colors, or use mineral based base layers, like umber and sienna and oxides over blacks then layer up with other colors.
    Fluid acrylics are closer in consistency to what you are used to from mini paint, but they will have the same pigment and thus transparency issues as the heavy bodies. I do find them easier to work with, however.

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