Hello my little Marshmellows!
Today I’m gonna ramble about different mediums. How do I decide what to paint/ draw in?
A lot of the time it’s a personal preference, and takes some playing to find out your favs.
But I thought it might be helpful to create a wee list/guide/thing about what does what, and how stuff does stuff.
I’m sure everyone has they’re own reasons for liking/disliking a medium, but these are mine!
Starting with my favorite medium Watercolour.
Traditionally Watercolour’s are a very soft, gentle medium, used for landscapes and loose portraits. But I find them fantastically versatile for my illustration work.
I like their transparencies and lack of control. Also the way it feels to paint with them. I find it more silken then most other mediums.
The good stuff:
- They have great transparency in the colours, allowing for interesting layering etc.
- The paint does its own thing (it’s such a rebel) creating a variety of pretty effects.
- You can learn to somewhat control it, with the use of water techniques.
- You can use other mediums with it. Gouache is the best for this because you can paint back over the gouache with the Watercolour again if you need to.
- You can also use acrylic and ink, but the Watercolour can’t paint back over these mediums.
- You can continually use the paint without worrying about wastage (dry pallet, no wazzas!).
- You can create beautiful washes really easily. Washes. Rock.
The bad stuff:
- You can’t paint over mistakes you make
- You can’t paint on everything. You’re restricted to working on absorbent surfaces that will hold up to a lot of water.
- You have to work from light to dark. Which can be frustrating
- It’s can be expensive to get a good set of good Watercolours. Unfortunately there’s a HUGE difference between the cheap, medium and high price ranges.
I use Daniel Smith Watercolours which are AMAZING!! But I’ve also been quite impressed with Art Spectrum ones, which are heaps cheaper and more readily available. They don’t compare to Daniel Smith (like gold to silver), but their still decent.
Next I want to talk about Gouache.
A lot of people have heard of Gouache but have never actually used it.
It’s a pretty great medium with really beautiful vivid colours.
It’s similar to Watercolour in the way it moves and feels, but the pigment in the paint is thicker so it isn’t transparent. I find it really handy to bring out really bright places in my paintings, or places I want more of a bold look to the work.
But I have seen artists work completely in Gouache. It’s perfect for pop art or anything needing a brighter, more vivid, slightly harsher (in a good way) colour then Watercolour can give.
The Good Stuff:
- Really beautiful bright colours with a thick pigment
- Works harmoniously with Watercolour.
- Can paint on more surfaces then watercolour.
- Very easy to control (win!)
The Bad Stuff:
- It’s a bit harsher colour then Watercolour, but if that’s what you want it’s great.
- That’s it, it’s pretty rad stuff!
Next is Acrylic.
Acrylic is a very versatile medium. I did most of my classical training in Acrylic (the standard grumpy ass portraits etc.).
It has a different feel and technique to the watercolour and Gouache, which isn’t a bad thing.
When you paint with Acrylic the paint stays where you put it. Which is quite nice in some ways, allowing for a lot of control. Less experimental I guess, as you don’t have the possibility of the paint taking on its own characteristics.
The Good Stuff:
- Really great for learning with as you just paint over it again and again.
- You can pretty much paint of everything, except plastics and metal.
- Very very easy to control
- You can work from dark to light (which I prefer)
The Bad Stuff:
- Easy to waste, as if it’s dry its dead, which is sad.
- No transparency and not much movement in the paint
- You use a lot of paint
- There’s a big difference between the cheap and expensive brands. I use the Atlier Interactive Artists Series. It’s pretty good quality, probably a medium price and is available most places.
The last one I’m going to talk about (I know there’s soooo much many more I could talk about, but I don’t want to bore you with a bazillion pages), is Oil paint.
I started painting with oil paint when I was 8. Which is kinda a weird medium for a kid to start painting with. But as I was 8 and I was cheap, I had a bunch of old oil paints left from my grandma’s kit. So Oil paint it was!
I don’t mind working in oil, it has a sort of romanticism to it. The smell is just, yum so addictive (probably not a good thing) and the fact that everything takes so long is kind of nice. It makes you sit back and really think about what you’re doing.
Again oil is so completely different to work with. As I’m writing this my hand is literally remembering what its like to paint with (hand movements and all). It’s quite sticky I guess, and moves on the brush almost grittyily, almost pulling and pushing you’re brush at the same time.
The actual feeling of painting with different mediums is so hard to describe. I guess as the pigment gets stiffer and thicker the hand has to push differently and the way it moves on the brush is so different. Anyway.
The Good Stuff:
- You can get really beautiful, fine detail
- You can basically paint on anything, just be aware that oil cracks over time.
- You can work from dark to light
- It smells amazing (sigh)
- Its quite romantic
The Bad Stuff:
- You have to use Turpentine to wash up in, which is a pain cos it’s an extra expense.
- You have to wait days for layers to dry, which can be quite frustrating.
- It can crack as it gets older
- It’s very easy to destroy brushes
So there we are, some of the most common mediums I’ve come across and experienced. They all have things that are lovely, magical and wonderful about them and everyone has different opinions on why they’re good or not.
I hope my experience has enlightened you on some stuff, in some way, but remember mediums are very subjective. You really need to try a heap before you settle. Then again you may love them all and not want to settle! It’s up to you, and that’s what I love about art! Huzzah for art!
Be You and Be AWESOME!