How to choose your paint when you are just starting...

Buying acrylic paint when you're a beginner can seem a lot because there are so many different brands, colors, and variations to choose from... but don't worry! Let's navigate that together and find acrylic paints that match your needs and your budget.


You can buy acrylics in two grades: artists' quality and students' quality. Artists' quality paints (sometimes referred to as "professional") come in a wide range of colors, have a high concentration of finely ground pigment, and boast high permanence ratings. Students' colors are cheaper but the trade off is a smaller selection, lower pigment levels and the possible inclusion of fillers which may weaken the color strength. The difference between the two isn't just how they're made - often it's noticeable that artists' colors are more vibrant and have a smoother consistency that makes them easier to blend and layer.

If you're a beginner and on a budget, it's fine to start off with students' quality paint, but I'd recommend graduating to artists' colors once you start producing artwork that you care about preserving (especially if you aim to sell your work). 

 Paint Composition

All paints contain a pigment and a binder. The difference in oils, acrylics and watercolors is the binder that is used in each paint. Oil paint contains an oil binder, watercolors contain a plant based binder called gum arabic and acrylics are bound with an acrylic polymer emulsion.


Viscosity is the thickness or consistency of the paint. Heavy body paints are thick and creamy and ideal if you want visible brush strokes or texture in your painting. They can still be thinned down with a little water or an acrylic medium if you want something a little smoother.

What Should You Buy?

So, which colors should you buy? Most beginning artists don’t have a lot of money to spend on supplies, so start off with a student grade black and white. You can practice making various shades of grey and maybe do some black and white paintings to get used to different values. As you can afford it, add other colors such as cadmium yellow, permanent rose, ultramarine blue and burnt umber. My recommendation would be to start off with a basic set if you can afford that. As you get more used to acrylic painting, you can start buying the more expensive professional paints to build up your pallet. 

I like to start with my students with primary colors (red, blue and yellow) and black and white. That way we can really get to know how how to mix colors!

 The best way to decide on the type of paint to buy is to think about how you like to paint. Do you like thick brush strokes and a lot of texture or do you prefer thin washes to build up color? Maybe you can buy a couple of tubes of each kind and play around with them. Eventually you will develop your own style and favorite brand of paint. 
This is a paint kit I use with my beginner students! I hope this helps! :) You can order here if you want to paint with my kits.
Check those paint kits too, I also send to my students these links, I enjoy all of them. The important thing is to paint your heart out! :)


50% Complete

7 Most Common Painting Mistakes Beginners Make 

(And How To Avoid Them)