Differences Between Acrylic Painting and Oil Painting (With Table)

Painting is one of the most chosen leisure activities by most individuals. Painting is not only an activity done for leisure but also, an artist can earn millions by painting.

Painting can also be done with many tools. Oil paints and acrylic paints are two such paints that differ according to their uses.

Acrylic vs Oil Paints

The main difference between acrylic and oil paints is that Acrylic paints are made of pigments mixed with acrylic polymers. On the other hand, oil paints are made of oil mixed with the pigments that bring out the color The difference between the two tools of painting lies in the material with which they are composed of.

Acrylic Paints are a composition of Acrylic polymers and pigments. These pigments bring out the desired colors in paints. Acrylic Paints dry away very quickly. In two minutes, they get dried away. Acrylic Paints don’t require any additional chemicals. They can be simply used with water to bring out the best effects.

Oil paints are a composition of oil mixed with pigments. These are the pigments that bring out the different colors. Oil paints don’t dry quickly. That is, they can be used, even after a day but oil paints won’t dry away. Oil paints are generally used along with some chemicals to bring out the best effects.

Comparison Table Between Acrylic and Oil Paints

Parameters of ComparisonAcrylicOil Paints
CompositionAcrylic Paints are a composition of Acrylic Polymers and pigments. Oil Paints are composed of oil and the pigments.
Drying TimeAcrylic Paints dry away very quickly. Oil paints take longer time to dry away.
Light FastnessAcrylic Paints have excellent light-fastness.Oil paints fade away when exposed to light.
CostTheir cost is more than oil paints, around Rs400. A pack of primary oil paints costs around Rs.200.
Blending AbilityIt’s difficult for Acrylic Paints to blend.Oil paints get blend easily.

What is Acrylic?

Acrylic Paints were founded in recent years, that is around the 1920s. Acrylic paints are a composition of Acrylic polymers emulsion and pigments. Emulsions are supposed to be a mixture of two or more two liquids. These liquids are not miscible into one another.

Polymers are the shortest unit of a thing. Polymers can be natural as well as synthetic acrylic is a type of synthetic polymer derived from acrylic acid. Acrylic Paints are most preferred for beginners. This is because they do not demand additional chemicals to thin or clean them. Acrylic paints can be very well used with water.

The drying time of acrylic paints is fast, like really fast. Again, this adds to both the good and bad aspects of acrylic paints. Let’s say an artist gets urgent work and has to leave his art midway. Acrylic paints can’t be used the very next day.

They get dried away even in two minutes. If there’s a call on the door and an artist has to leave his assignment for 5 minutes, the moment he’ll get back the paint would have dried away. That’s why professionals seldom recommend it. The cost of Acrylic paints is also much more than that of oil paints.

What are Oil Paints?

Oil Paints are the tools of painting used since ancient days. It was first used in the 12th century. Some of the great paintings like the Mona Lisa was done with oil paints. Oil paints are classically a mixture of oil and pigments. The Oil used in oil paints is extracted from linseeds.

Pigments are nothing but pigments of different shades of different colors. Oil paints cannot be used simply with water. So if an artist wants to thin oil paints or clean them it cannot be done with water. Chemicals like, Turpentine or White Spirit must be used for this purpose.

Oil paints don’t get dry away quickly. The pigment along with the oil takes a long time to settle in. This increases the drying time. This is a useful as well as an irritating ability of oil paints. It is useful as a longer drying time allows an artist to use them even after a day.

If an artist needs a longer time to complete a painting, Oil paints can be used later as well, even after a day. Longer drying time also adds to the negative aspect of oil paints. Once a painting is completed, the pigment needs time to settle. Hence, a painting won’t dry even after a day.

Main Differences Between Acrylic and Oil Paints

  1. Oil Paints are composition mixture of oil and pigments. Contrary to this, Acrylic Paints are a composition mixture of Acrylic polymers and pigments.
  2. The drying time of oil paints is much more than Acrylic Paints. Acrylic Paints get dried away in a few seconds only.
  3. Acrylic Paints have excellent light-fastness. Light-fastness is the ability of paint to withstand light. Oil paints fade away when exposed to light.
  4. A pack of oil paints containing only primary colors, costs less than Acrylic Paint. Acrylic paints require some chemicals which increases their costs.
  5. Oil paints can blend in easily whereas Acrylic paints don’t blend in easily with other colors.

Conclusion

Summing up everything that has been stated so far, The difference between Oil paints and Acrylic paints depends majorly on their uses. The uses, in turn, depend upon their different features.

Oil paints have a longer drying time, that is, it takes a longer time for the paint colors to get settled on the canvas. Talking about acrylic paints, it takes only a few minutes to dry away. Oil paints need some chemicals like white spirit to thin or clean them.

On the other hand, this can be done, plainly with water in the case of Acrylic paints. This makes them suitable for beginners.

References

  1. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0300944011000993
  2. https://www.spiedigitallibrary.org/conference-proceedings-of-spie/6807/68070M/Surface-reflection-properties-of-oil-paints-under-various-conditions/10.1117/12.766188.short