The Right Paint for the Job

Picking the right paint for a painting is like choosing the right ingredients for a meal. They can’t tell you exactly how to make that perfect consumme, or the right timing for dough to rise, but they can make for a better finished product when applied appropriately and used to their fullest potential. Every paint comes with its own advantages, and disadvantages to consider, alongside their costs and their availability. Here are a few recommendations of paints to use, and why you may want to consider them over the other available products.

The Right Paint for the Job


  • Fast drying, easy to clean. Acryllic paints can be mixed with water, and brushes can be cleaned with water. It’s also easy to create layers with acryllic paint, or to paint it in thick or thin strokes. Once it dries, it’s water resistant.
  • But once it does dry… good luck removing it without a little elbow grease. It’s waterproof once it does dry, which means that you could end up ruining a few nice brushes if you aren’t careful. Colors also tend to darken once the paint dries, which can be a minor inconvenience.


  • Slower drying, which gives you more time to work and blend it. You can also get some very rich colors from oil that look nice when they do dry. Oils are the classic standard of paint, so you can create, or recreate, timeless looks accordingly.
  • But be careful, because oil paints can give off fumes that can make painting hazardous in a closed space. The slow drying can also mean that you’ll be waiting a while, sometimes up to several months, before the paint is officially dried. Easy to clean with a solvent, but not waterproof, so care should be taken not to damage with water as well.
The Right Paint for the Job


  • Easy to clean, and affordable, water colors allow you to do a lot of work with a little paint. You mix these paints with water, but remember that they can also become extremely thin, and colors can quickly fade.
  • Very thin and no white paint, which means that you’ll have to take your canvas as being the white portion of a piece. Colors lighten when they dry, probably more so with watercolors than other options.

The conclusion should be that experience is often the best way by which to judge which paint is your chosen tool. You need to actually work with the paint, to see how quickly it dries, and how it blends, before you can know which will be right for your own style or piece.

The Right Paint for the Job

Experimenting with lower cost paints in each category is usually not a bad idea if you want to get a loose feel of how each performs, but remember that more expensive paints also tend to provide richer colors and more “volume” to a painting. These recommendations are also for canvases; painting on sculpted figures or models requires their own paint considerations accordingly.