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Best Acrylic Paint: 20+ Brands Reviewed for Beginners [From Cheap to Pro]

Best Acrylic Paint Brand

There are more than 40 brands that offer “high quality” acrylic paint, for sure, they will all make you feel like this is your right choice. However, not even all artist-grade paints are really used by artists.

To choose the best acrylic paint brand for you, you need to know something about brand reputation, check the reviews, but consider about 9 different factors affecting price and outcome, including colors, permanence, viscosity, etc.

Best acrylic paints for canvas (student and artist grade):

  1. Golden Acrylics (3 options)
  2. Liquitex (3 options)
  3. Winsor & Newton (2 options)
  4. Blick acrylics (3 options)
  5. Utrecht acrylic paint
  6. Old Holland Acrylic Paint
  7. M. Graham Acrylics
  8. Chroma Atelier Interactive
  9. Holbein Acrylic Gouache
  10. Hippie Crafter Acrylic Paint
  11. Daler Rowney
  1. Arteza
  2. Reeves
  3. Grumbacher Acrylic Paint Set
  4. Lascaux Acrylic Paint
  5. Amsterdam Expert Acrylic Paint
  6. Pebeo Vallejo Acrylic Paint
  7. Crafts 4 All Acrylic Paint Set
  8. Sennelier Artist Abstract
  9. Castle Art Supplies Acrylic Paint Set
  10. TriArt Liquid Acrylics
  11. Matisse
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A good canvas, soft synthetic brushes and a nice simple spacious palette also play a role in successful, and enjoyable painting session 🙂


Best acrylics paint for beginners overall - Liquitex Basics 

Best cheap acrylic paints - Winsor & Newton Galeria series (fore beginners)

The cheapest acrylic paint set is Acrylic Paint Set by Crafts 4 ALL set of 24 colors ($16.99)

Best acrylic paint for pouring - Hippie Crafter Pour Set of 24 colors (Full review - spoiler, I LOVE IT!)

Best acrylic paint with longer open time - Golden Open Acrylic Paint 

Best acrylic paint for watercolor imitation - M. Graham Acrylics

Best acrylics brands for Pros - Golden, Liquitex, Chroma Atelier Interactive, Winsor & Newton Artists'. 

This article can contain affiliate links. It means no extra cost for you, but tiny commissions for me to support my blog. Thank you!

Acrylic paint brandPrice
Golden Open Acrylic Paint, Traditional set of 8around $40
Golden Heavy Body Artist Acrylic Paint, Principal Set of 6 Colorsaround $27
Golden Fluid Acrylics Set of 10 colorsslightly under $50
Liquitex Basics Set of 24 – Best for beginners around $35
Liquitex Soft Body Acrylic Paint Set of 12around $50
Liquitex Heavy Body Acrylics, Essential, Set of 12around $50
Winsor & Newton Galeria Acrylic Paint Set of 10 colorsaround $15 on promo
Winsor & Newton Professional Artist Paintaround $50-70
Blick Studio paint set of 24around $31
Blick Artists’ paint set of 12 colors$36.95
Blickrylic paint basic colors set of 6 bottles 16 ozaround $35
Utrecht Artists’ Acrylic Paint set of 6around $36
Old Holland New Masters Classic Acrylic Paintfrom $9 per tube
M. Graham Artists’ Acrylicsaround $40
Chroma Atelier Interactive Acrylic paint set of 12 + 4 mediumsunder $40
Holbein Heavy Body Acrylics set of 5 around $40
Holbein Fluid acrylicsfrom around $9 per bottle
Holbein Mat Acrylicsfrom around $13 per tube
Hippie Crafter Acrylic Paint for pouring, set of 24 (Best for pouring)around $36
Matisse Flow Acrylicsfrom $8.70 per tube
Matisse Fluid Acrylic Paintfrom $11 per bottle
Daler-Rowney System 3 set of 10under $30
Arteza Acrylic Premium Artist Paint, Set of 24 around $27-30
Reeves Acrylic Paint 10ml Tubes, Set of 24 $67.99
Grumbacher Academy Introductory Set, Set of 6 colors, 90 ml tubes around $22
Lascaux Artist Acrylic Paint from $14 per tube
Amsterdam Expert Acrylic Paint Set of 12 colors (I often use these paints!)around $30
Pebeo Extra-Fine Artist Acrylics around $10-11 per tube
Acrylic Paint Set by Crafts 4 ALL set of 24 (the cheapest set)around $10
Sennelier Abstract Innovative Heavy Body Acrylic Paint $8.94 for 120 ml
Castle Art Supplies set of 48 22ml $37.99
Tri-Art High Viscosity Artist Acrylics from $5 per tube

Read also: How to Paint with Acrylics on Canvas: 3 Easy Steps [Supplies included]


To support our planet opt for one of these 15 Best Eco-friendly Alternatives to Acrylic Paint

1) Golden Acrylics – Great but pricey

Golden is one of the market’s most reputable, oldest, and high-quality paint brands. They offer a variety of supplies for painting, including paint and mediums.

3 main paint that you should consider from Golden in Golden Open Acrylics, Golden Heavy Body, and Golden Fluid Acrylics.

Golden Open Acrylic Paint

Golden Open Acrylic Paint | $24.63 – $37.51

Golden Open Acrylic Paint has a unique feature that NO acrylic paint has: they stay open (you can paint and they will be still wet) for up to 1 hour! It is artist-grade paint, great for Plein air, and can be used with natural bristles. Each tube has an opacity mark and details about lightfastness.

Golden Open Acrylics have 3 types of paint sets: Modern colors (sets of 6 or 8 tubes), Traditional colors (set of 6), and Landscape sets (8 tubes + thinner). All colors can be also purchased individually (from $7.41).

Golden Open Acrylic Paint SetColors included
Traditional Colors6 colors: 0.75 oz (22 ml) tubes of Alizarin Crimson Hue, Indian Yellow Hue, Sap Green Hue, Ultramarine Blue, Van Dyke Brown Hue, and Titanium White.
Modern Colors6 colors: 0.75 oz (22 ml) tubes of Hansa Yellow Opaque, Phthalo Blue (Green Shade), Phthalo Green (Blue Shade), Pyrrole Red, Quinacridone Magenta, and Titanium White.
Modern Color Mixing8 colors: 0.75 oz (22 ml) tubes of Anthraquinone Blue, Benzimidazolone Yellow Light, Benzimidazolone Yellow Medium, Naphthol Red Light, Phthalo Blue (Green Shade), Phthalo Green (Blue Shade), and Quinacridone Magenta,
+ a 2 oz (59 ml) tube of Titanium White, a 1 oz bottle of thinner, and a color mixing guide.
Landscape8 colors: 0.75 oz (22 ml) tubes of Alizarin Crimson Hue, Cadmium Red Light, Cadmium Yellow Primrose, Manganese Blue Hue, Sap Green Hue, Ultramarine Blue, and Yellow Ochre,
+ a 2 oz tube of Titanium White and a 1 oz bottle of Open Thinner.

Golden Heavy Body

Golden Heavy Body Artist Acrylic Paints set of 6 | above $40

Golden Heavy Body Artist Acrylic Paints also have artist-grade with no added extenders, opacifiers, or additives. They are thick, opaque (each tube has a mark with opacity), smooth, and have a buttery consistency.

Each color is formulated in a different way based on pigment nature, and as the result, some colors will have a matte finish, and some – are glossy. Heavy Body paints are permanent and lightfast (why it is an important read in the section below about How to pick the right paint).

Sold in sets and individually, I recommend buying on Blick as it is cheaper than Amazon. 1 tube can cost $7.41, and sets of 6 colors from $24.63.

Golden Fluid Acrylic Paint

Golden Fluid Acrylics set of 8 | under $40

For glazing, pouring, spraying, brushing, and staining fluid paint is the best choice. Golden Fluid Acrylics are permanent, vibrant, lightfast artist grade paint. They contain 100% pigment with no additives and are low in viscosity.

Instead of thinning Heavy body paint, you can use Fluid paint for better flow and no brush strokes application.

Sold by pieces and in 2 sets: set of 8 colors (around $27) and set of 10 colors (around $45). Pricing per bottle starts from $5. Please do check the prices as I noticed they are reindexing them quite often.

2) Liquitex – BEST OVERALL

Liquitex is another big art supplies brand that is widely popular among beginners. They offer a variety of paint: Liquitex Basics for beginners (student grade), Liquitex Professional Heavy Body Acrylic Paints, and Liquitex Professional Soft Body Acrylic Paint and Sets.

Liquitex Heavy Body Acrylic Paint

Liquitex Heavy Body Acrylic Paint Set of 12 | around $50

Heavy bodies are great for impasto or highly textured pieces, for artists who love to work with thick and heavy mediums on raw or primed surfaces. They are thick, heavy, high in intensity, and pigment. Their open time is a bit longer.

Liquitex also offers Cadmium-Free Colors that are completely non-toxic.

A starter pack of 12 colors includes all basic colors to try out Heavy body paint.

Liquitex Professional Soft Body Acrylic Paint and Sets

Liquitex Soft Body Acrylic Paint | around $50

Liquitex Soft Body Acrylic Paint is fluid, with better flow, and already thinned paint. They are good for pouring, glazing, spraying, decorative art, and painting, even in watercolor techniques. Soft Body acrylics are opaque, intense, high in pigment, fluid, and creamy.

To ease the use, Soft Body has bottles with nozzles.

Liquitex Basics

Set of 24 | around $35

The Liquitex Basics are great student-grade paint for beginners and artists on a budget. They are vibrant, contain high-quality pigment, are lightfast, easy to blend, and dry to a satin finish. They are thinner than Heavy bodies.

Liquitex Basics can be thinned to imitate watercolor, and also have fluorescent and metallic colors (which are less lightfast). Basics paints are UV-resistant and water-resistant acrylics colors

Liquitex Basics Sets for beginners include 12, 24 36, or 48 colors. I recommend a set of 24 colors – it is a bestseller and contains all the needed colors.

For beginners.

3) Winsor & Newton Acrylic Paint – RUNNER UP

Winsor & Newton has student-grade paint and sets – Winsor & Newton Galleria, and artist-grade paint – Winsor & Newton Professional Acrylic Paint.

Read my full review of both: Winsor and Newton Acrylic Paint Review (Galeria vs Professional)

Winsor & Newton Galeria Acrylic Paint

Winsor & Newton Galeria Acrylic Paint Set of 10 | around $15

Galeria Paint is great for beginners, offering good flow, smooth consistency, water-resistant when dry, and brilliant colors. Galeria sets are suitable for painting on all surfaces.

Winsor & Newton Galeria Acrylic Paint Set of 10 colors is an affordable choice for those who are just starting painting.

For beginners.

Winsor & Newton Professional Acrylic Paint

Winsor & Newton Professional paint is sold in a Starter Set of 12 | around $50-70

Artist-grade paint with high intensity, high in pigments and color strength, deep in colors, and with almost no shift from wet to dry.

Winsor & Newton Professional paint is sold in a Starter Set of 12 Colors or individually in tubes and jars.

For advanced artists.

4) Blick Acrylic Paint – Great for beginners

Blick is a popular art supply online store and also a brand of art supplies. They offer extremely good quality for a very wallet-friendly price.

Blick Acrylic paint with the lowest grade are Blickrylic Student Acrylic Paint and Blick Studio paint, they also have artist-grade paint – Blick Artists’ Acrylic Paint.

Blick Studio is a perfect choice for beginners of any age. They offer 60 colors, and the best option is to purchase a set of 24 colors. High pigment, thick consistency, permanent and non-yellowing paint will fit any non-oily surface.

Blickrylic Student Acrylic Paint is the most affordable in the line, as you can purchase 6 bottles of 16 oz each just for around $35. They also have metallic and fluorescent colors. It is a great choice for teaching kids, experimenting, and doing some craft projects.

Blick Artists’ Acrylic Paint is the artist-grade paint in Blick’s line. They are high in pigment and color saturation, high in viscosity, smooth, lightfast, thick, and permanent. Blick sells a set of Artists’ paint with a tabletop easel or a basic set of 6 or 12 colors.

More for beginners no matter what grade it is.

5) Utrecht acrylic paint

Utrecht Artists’ Acrylic Paint set of 6 | $36.54

Utrecht is an American brand that offers student and artist-grade paint. They manufactured paint for 50 years, and now they belong to Blick. The reputation and the quality were and still are well-known.

Student grade paint Utrecht Studio Series Acrylic Paint has no sets, which may not be really convenient for a beginner. Utrecht Artists’ Acrylic Paint is high quality, intense, rich colors coming in a variety of sets and individually. Utrecht Artists’ Acrylics are also available cadmium-free.

Available sets are portrait, landscape, basic colors, and some sets with canvas pads and brushes included. I would recommend buying sets for beginners or gifts and individually for experienced artists.

May be expensive for beginners. More for beginners.

6) Old Holland New Masters Classic Acrylic Paint

Old Holland New Masters Classic Acrylic Paint | from $9 depending on size

Old Holland New Masters Classic Acrylic Paint is an artist-grade paint created by one of the oldest manufacturers, that is known for oil, watercolor, and acrylic supplies.

Old Holland Acrylic may be pricey, but they offer high quality: color strength and adhesion, high pigment, no dry color shift, variety of applicable techniques: from thin glazing to textured and impasto techniques. Available for purchase only individually in tubes and jars.

Both for beginners and advanced artists.

7) M. Graham Acrylic Paint

M. Graham set of 6 | around $40

M. Graham Artists’ Acrylics is an American brand of highly pigmented acrylics free of additives. You can buy it in a set of 6 colors or individually (sometimes cheaper on Amazon than on Blick).

Vibrant and strong colors can be used for the watercolor imitation technique too while diluted with water.

  • M. Graham Artists’ Acrylics have 50 colors available.
  • Each color has its own opacity and lightfastness, read the labels or official website before buying.
  • A pure acrylic emulsion containing 60% solids.
  • Working properties similar to gouache.
  • Longer working time, up to 1 hour as the official website promises.

Precaution: Not for children under 13.

8) Chroma Atelier Interactive – The only acrylics you can reactivate

Chroma Atelier Interactive Acrylic paint | around $40

Atelier Interactive has a unique concept of working with acrylics: they offer you to buy a set of paint and special mediums that will allow you to work with Atelier acrylics as regular acrylics or as Open Acrylics.

Painting directly with Atelier acrylics you work normally, with fast-drying paint. By adding the Unlocking formula to the paint, you’ll get new paint that stays open for up to 1 hour. Using Clear Painting Medium you’ll get thinned paint.

Better for experienced artists.

  • great for Plein air, watercolor technique, and blending
  • have longer open time
  • the set includes Slow medium, fast-medium, unlocking formula & mist sprayer, and 12 colors.
Some cons:
  • you can only buy a set with all mediums even if you don’t need them
  • not really suitable for glazing
  • less permanent and less lightfast.

For advanced artists.

9) Holbein Acrylics

Holbein Heavy Body Acrylics set of 5 | around $40 
Holbein Fluid acrylics | from $9 per bottle
Holbein Mat | from $13 tube

The Holbein manufacturer introduced their own formula of acrylic paint, similar to oil, in 2013. Apart from Acrylic gouache, Holbein also offers regular acrylics: Heavy Body, Fluid, and Mat.

  • Holbein Heavy Body acrylic paint offers a 113 color palette, has a bit longer open time, vivid colors, and is brushstrokes free (as the manufacturer promises). Choose a primary set of 5 colors or purchase individually.
  • Holbein Fluid acrylics are low-viscosity, fluid, and vibrant paint. The color range contains 60 colors. Additives-free, lightfast, durable. Sold only individually on Blick.
  • Holbein Mat Acrylics dry to a matte finish. 36 high-pigmented colors are available to buy only individually on Blick.
  • Holbein Acrylic gouache works as watercolor and gouache with a matte finish and opaque colors. Color chart includes up to 100 colors.

I think they are quite pricey compared to other well-known brands. Artists choose Holbein for gouache and watercolor more than for their acrylic paint.

For beginners.

10) Matisse Acrylics

Matisse Structure Formula Acrylics | from $8.70 per tube
Matisse Flow Formula | $8.70 - $34.29 per tube
Matisse Fluid Acrylic Paint | from $11 per bottle

Derivan Matisse produced world-first student grade acrylic in the 1960s and since then they are creating non-toxic, high-quality acrylic paint, even for face and body painting. All mentioned points are artist-grade.

Matisse offers 3 acrylic paint individually and in sets:

  • Matisse Structure Formula Acrylics for textured work, impasto and thick application. Archival, vivid, with Excellent lightfastness, Structure formula acrylics are available in 95 regular colors and 5 metallic colors. Sold only individually.
  • Matisse Flow Formula is sold individually per tube in 95 colors. It is a lightfast, low viscosity and low sheen paint. Great for painting, especially photo-realism and fine details.
  • Matisse Fluid Acrylic Paint is available in 40 colors. They are dark, lightfast, low viscosity paint for glazing, airbrushing, and pouring.

For beginners.

11) Daler Rowney Acrylic paint

Daler-Rowney System 3 set of 10 tubes 22ml | around $30

Daler Rowney is a British brand, its main acrylic sets are Cryla Acrylic Paint and System 3, the last one is more popular.

  • Daler-Rowney System 3 offers sets of heavy body or medium body acrylics. An intro set of 10 colors can be a great and affordable choice for a beginner. This paint is lightfast, permanent, fast-drying, with good covering properties. It is student-grade paint. The full range includes 53 colors.

Not for Pro artists.

12) Arteza Acrylics – Great for beginners and crafters

Acrylic Premium Artist Paint, 22ml Tubes - Set of 60 | around $50-60

Arteza is a huge art supplies store and manufacturer, as Blick, they are actually competitors. Arteza has a big crowd of fans and it’s totally understandable! They offer a variety of paint sets and supplies for beginners on a budget.

You can purchase any set on their official website, the bestseller is the full set of 60 colors! They are high in pigment, high viscosity, non-toxic, fade-resistant, easy to clean, and suitable for a variety of surfaces.

Not for Pro artists. Good for beginners.

If you are thinking of painting fabric, Arteza has one of the bestselling fabric paints for beginners that don’t wash away!

13) Reeves

Reeves Acrylic Paint 10ml Tubes, Set of 24 | $67.99

Reeves acrylic paint is student-grade acrylic paint, perfect for children. No need to buy it individually, better to opt for a full set of 24 colors.

Even if they are student grade, the paint offers nice and vibrant pigments, good covering properties, easy to use and clean. It is great for first time painting, this painting was made with Reeves paint in a couple of hours:

Not for Pro artists.

Looking for some inspiration? Check my 101 painting ideas for beginners as well as amazing selection of Star Wars painting ideas and Winter painting ideas approved by kids and adults!

14)Grumbacher Acrylic Paint

Grumbacher Academy Introductory Set, Set of 6 colors, 90 ml tubes | around $22

Grumbacher Academy is student-grade acrylic paint for beginners. Offering decent quality, it stays affordable – an introductory set will cost you only $24.14. You can also buy any color you need individually.

Be aware, that this brand uses cadmium in paint. Paint colors are lightfast, consistent, opaque, and highly adhesive.

Not for Professional artists.

15) Lascaux acrylic paint

Lascaux Artist Acrylic Paint | from $14

Lascaux Artist Acrylic Paint is an artist-grade heavy-body acrylic paint. This paint is permanent, highly pigmented, thick, and lightfast. Water-resistant when dry, and have a nice satin finish. Each tube is hand-painted to showcase the pigment and its opacity.

For beginners and pros (mostly used by beginners). They can be purchased only individually.

More for beginners.

Here is a video made by Blick to demonstrate Lascaux paint:

16) Amsterdam Expert Acrylic Paint – Great affordable paint

Amsterdam Expert Acrylic Paint Set of 12 colors | around $30

Amsterdam Expert Acrylic Paint is a professional, artist-grade, heavy body paint with high pigment concentration, high viscosity, and excellent lightfastness. The color range includes 70 non-fading colors. This paint has no additives in it, which means it is 100% binder + pigment.

Drying time = 30 min. which makes the paint regular fast-drying acrylic paint. You can easily buy it online in set or individually. Even if it artist grade paint, I don’t really know the pros who use this paint, they usually choose other brands.

More for beginners.

17) Pebeo Acrylic Paint

Pebeo Extra-Fine Artist Acrylics | around $10-11 per tube

Pebeo Extra-Fine Artist Acrylics are heavy body professional acrylic paint in 79 colors. They are all high viscosity, offer great adhesion and satin sheen, are permanent, non-yellowing, and easy to apply.

  • Precaution: they still have a light shift between wet and dry. Remember that acrylics tend to dry darker.
  • Only Extra-Fine line is artist-grade.

To sell only individually, as most pro lines do. Not really popular among artists.

More for beginners.

18) Crafts 4 All Acrylic Paint – Cheapest craft acrylic paint

Acrylic Paint Set by Crafts 4 ALL set of 24 | around $10-15 – the cheapest 24 paints

Crafts 4 ALL is a good and cheap choice for a beginner. It is student-grade acrylic paint, but still offers nice colors, buttery consistency, high pigment concentration and works on different smooth surfaces. Crafts 4 All acrylics dry to a satin finish.

This paint is toxic-free, good for children, easy to use and clean, and fast-drying. It is extremely cheap, but the set also includes brushes.

Not for professional artists, not for large projects.

19) Sennelier Acrylic Paint

Sennelier Abstract Innovative Heavy Body Acrylic Paint | around $9 for 120 ml

Sennelier is well known for its original package for Sennelier Abstract Acrylic paint. Sennelier Abstract Innovative Heavy Body Acrylic Paint is sold in nice big and cheap pouches ($8.94 for 120 ml), which are transparent and you can see the real color and how much paint you have.

Sennelier acrylics are highly pigmented, strong, heavy body (may seem softer than other heavy bodies), opaque and lightfast. Also available in Matte set

Great for blending, mixing colors, painting, and glazing for beginners.

Not for pro artists.

20) Castle Art Supplies Acrylic Paint Set

Castle Art Supplies set of 48 22ml | around $40

Castle Acrylics are very popular on Amazon – more than 2500 positive reviews resulting in 4,5 as an average rating. It is a great choice for a beginner, children, and a gift.

Small tubes will be a good choice to start and paint some small or medium paintings, but won’t be enough for large pieces. Paint is not supposed to be sold individually in larger tubes or jars, as it is more craft and student grade paint than a medium for pros.

It still offers vibrant colors, smooth application, easy layering, and fast-drying properties. No need to study mixing theory as you have 48 colors!

Not for professional artists.

21) TriArt Acrylics

Tri-Art High Viscosity Artist Acrylics | from $5 per small tube

Tri-Art sells several acrylics for diverse purposes: Tri-Art High Viscosity Artist Acrylics, Fluid acrylics, and student grade acrylic paint.

Tri-Art High Viscosity Artist Acrylics is a heavy body professional paint sold individually in jars. Great for impasto and textured application, 100% acrylic emulsion with no additives is permanent and lightfast. UV and water-resistant.

More for beginners.

22) Hippie Crafter – My personal pick for pouring paint

Read my full review with videos: Great for Pouring – Hippie Crafter Acrylic Paint Review [3 Video Included]

hippie crafter acrylic paint

These pour paints from Hippie crafter are just so good and affordable! And they lasted very long for me, even though they come in small bottles.

But I do acknowledge that there are some issues with shipping, I got one bottle damaged and the paint leaked and I know a few people mentioned it online as well.

Yet, I absolutely love them for pouring and never regretted getting them. They are durable, quick-drying, have superb coverage, and have an amazing color chart, including different metallic colors.

How to pick the best acrylic paint

When choosing acrylic paint consider these key factors: colors, paint grade (quality), permanence, viscosity, opacity, drying, and hue.

Color or Hue

If you’re a beginner, start with 6 to 10 basic colors and learn mixing. Or purchase big sets of 24/36 colors to directly paint without mixing colors. Different acrylic paints have different levels of saturation. Highly saturated paints will produce more vivid colors.

To find out about color saturation, try swatches, ask for a color chart, and experiment.

Basic Color Palette

Read also: Violet vs Purple: The Difference You Should Know

Quality grade

Acrylic paints exist in 2 main grades:

  • professional (or artist) – contains more pigment, tends to be more opaque, thicker, even in application
  • student quality – less pigment, lower quality, but cheaper.

To start student grade will work, but improving your skills, upgrade your paint too. Usually, student quality paint will be marked as Student or Studio. Artist-grade as Artists or Professional.


Lightfastness measures how much the color will fade over years, and how resistant paint is to light exposure. Usually, acrylic paint is high in lightfastness over time and all manufacturers will mention it.

To learn about lightfastness read carefully the label. There are 2 types of classification: ASTM, Blue Wool or a manufacturer can have its own way to rate lightfastness:

LightfastnessASMTBlue Wool
Excellent lightfastnessI7, 8
Very good lightfastnessII6
Fair lightfastnessIII4, 5
Poor lightfastnessIV2, 3
Very poor lightfastnessV1


The permanence of paint shows how the paint will act over time, how it will age, how permanent the pigment is. This property can also include lightfastness. This factor is to consider for professionals.

Most acrylics are highly permanent, and the manufacturer will mention it on the label or on the website. Here is Winsor & Newton permanence scale for reference:

PermanenceLabel mark
Extremely permanentAA
Moderately durableB


Viscosity in simple terms is how thick or thin the paint is. Acrylics usually have 2 main forms:

  • heavy body – thick, high viscosity, for textured techniques or painting, similar to oil, good to use with palette knife.
  • soft body or fluid paint – thin and creamy, low viscosity, – for pouring, glazing, painting, and decorative art. For pouring, you may use Floetrol to achieve the needed consistency.

Heavy bodies can be thinned with special mediums, or water, to become more fluid and improve the flow.

Read more about it and how to thin acrylics: How to Thin Acrylic Paint: 3 Correct Ways & 3 Dont’s


Opacity shows how transparent or opaque the paint is, how the paint interacts with light: reflects it or lets it go through. This property depends on paint composition and the pigment itself, as some are naturally more or less opaque.

Opaque and semi-opaque pigments:

  • Lemon Yellow Hue,
  • Chrome Yellow Hue,
  • Cadmium Yellow Pale,
  • Cadmium Yellow,
  • Cadmium Yellow Deep,
  • Cadmium Orange,
  • Scarlet Lake,
  • Cadmium Red,
  • Cadmium Red Deep,
  • Cerulean Blue,
  • Cobalt Blue,
  • Naples Yellow,
  • Yellow Ochre,
  • Chrome Green,
  • Indian Red,
  • Burnt Umber,
  • Vandyke Brown,
  • Payne’s grey,
  • Ivory Black,
  • Lamp Black and
  • Titanium White.

Transparent and semi-transparent pigments:

  • Permanent Rose,
  • Permanent Crimson,
  • Alizarin crimson,
  • Dioxazine blue,
  • Ultramarine,
  • Pthalo blue,
  • Prussian blue,
  • Viridian Green,
  • Terre Verte,
  • Sap Green,
  • Burnt Sienna,
  • Raw Sienna and
  • Raw Umber. 

If you want to make your paint more opaque, try one of my 7 tricks.

The finish of the paint

In general, the finish can be glossy, matte, or satin. It depends not only on brand but on the specific pigment too.

Most acrylics dry to a satin or glossy finish. Acrylic gouache dries to a matte finish.

Read also: Satin vs Matte: Which Paint Makes for a Good Finish?

Binder contents

Primary acrylic paint is a pigment and a binder (it is a very general description), but sometimes manufacturers can add other additives like extenders, stabilizers, opacifiers, and mediums to change some specific properties (make dry slower, make more opaque, etc.).

If too many different additives exist, there is less pigment in the paint, and the colors will be dull. Read carefully the label.

There are different paints on the market:

Drying time

Acrylic paint is fast-drying, which means it will dry to touch and no longer be workable in 5-20 min depending on the brand. Here is the list of brands and their drying time with the full (comprehensive) explanation of the acrylic paint drying process.

Considering it, if you are ok with this timing, go for any brand you like, If you’re working in some special environment or with a particular project and you need more time, choose to paint with a longer open time (up to 60 min), there are only 1-2 options, honestly – Golden Open Acrylics and Atelier Interactive.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is acrylic paint toxic?

Historically, acrylic paint was toxic, but now all acrylics I mentioned are non-toxic. However, some colors may contain heavy metals, read carefully the label. Ex., some brands will mention that they are Cadmium-free.

Even being non-toxic regular acrylic paint is not meant to be on your skin, face, or body. Choose special paint for body and face painting, please.

Keep reading: Is Acrylic Paint Toxic or Safe? 23 Brands Toxicity Included

Is acrylic paint waterproof?

Acrylic paint that artists use is water-based and water-soluble. Once it dries it becomes water-resistant and washable but not waterproof.

Every painting should be protected with a varnish or a protective finish to guarantee its long life. To learn more about 5-step protection, check this post.

Read how to make acrylic waterproof: Is Acrylic Paint Waterproof? 11 Ways To Make Acrylics Waterproof

On what surfaces can I use Acrylic paint?

Acrylics are versatile, you can use them on any porous surfaces, like canvas, paper, wood, or with due preparation, on some non-porous like glass and plastic. The full list of 11 surfaces to paint on waits for you here.

Every surface should be primed and prepared for painting. Here is how you prime wood, here is how you prime canvas. If you are planning to use acrylic paint on glass, choose the paint the sticks and make sure you follow the process I share in the painting glass guide.

However, acrylics are not safe to use on your skin, you need to get body paint.

How long it takes for acrylic paint to dry?

Usually, it takes about 10 to 30 minutes, but it depends on paint composition, brand, and the environment you’re working. Here is a comprehensive explanation of the acrylic paint drying process and timing.

If you want to make acrylic paint dry faster, consider these 5 methods.

If you want to make acrylic paint dry slower, use one of these 15 ways to do it.

Which brand is best for acrylic paint?

Liquitex is by far the most popular acrylic paint for both beginners and professional artists. The second is Golden, as its high-standard paints are loved by many painters who can afford them. Some other simpler brands best for beginners are Arteza, Amsterdam, and Winsor & Newton!

What paint do professional artists use?

Professional artists use artist-grade paint, it contains more pigment in it, often is more expensive than the basic line, and offers great coverage. Some professional acrylic paint brands are Liquitex artist, Golden, Chroma Atelier, Winsor & Newton Professional acrylic.

Which acrylic paint is best for beginners?

Liquitex Basic is the best acrylic paint for beginners. If you want something cheaper, try the acrylic paint set by Amsterdam, Arteza, or Blick. I’m often using Amsterdam even for pouring and happy with results.

If you are ready to start painting on canvas, follow this step-by-step guide with a full supplies list to create your first beautiful painting.