*
Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.
September 21, 2018, 02:46:43 PM

Login with username, password and session length

Recent

Author Topic: Difference and benefits of artists acrylics/hobby acrylics  (Read 989 times)

Offline Hammers

  • Amateur papiermachiéer
  • Moderator
  • elder god
  • *
  • Posts: 14124
  • Workbench and Pulp Moderator
    • Adventure gaming
Difference and benefits of artists acrylics/hobby acrylics
« on: March 11, 2018, 11:51:44 AM »
I open this thread as the topic was  mentioned  in another thread. Searching the from I found another thread on the topic but that was from seven years ago so I thought we could have another go at it:

What are, in your experience, the relative benefits of either artist or hobby acrylics?

I use almost exclusively hobby acrylics (Reaper, Vallejo, Andrea, Citadel, Army Painter...). In my experience they have higher pigmentation, the medium is thinner and the containers are handy for their purpose.

I use artist and craft acrylics (I do not really know what the difference is) for painting terrain, mainly because it is cheaper. I do use them, in rare cases, for miniatures. The decision to was made because I had a lot of kakhi drill to paint oer a long time. I wanted have the same readymade pots with the same paint throughout the project.

My beef with artist acrylics is that they do not cover as well, they are "gloopier" and they tend tend to dry with a satin finish. On the other hand I see many obn this forum achieving stellar results using them.

What's the secret?
« Last Edit: March 12, 2018, 06:32:44 PM by Hammers »

Offline Mick_in_Switzerland

  • Supporting Adventurer
  • mastermind
  • *
  • Posts: 1482
Re: Difference and benefits of artists acrylics/hobby acrylics
« Reply #1 on: March 11, 2018, 11:57:18 AM »
My experience is the same as yours.

I usually use Vallejo Model Colour or Vallejo Game Colour for figures. I use Citadel for metallics and sometimes flesh tones.
I find that they have better coverage than craft paints.

I do use some acylic artists products - acrylic gesso, sand texture paint.

I use acrylic craft paints for terrain projects as thye are much cheaper if you need a lot of paint.

Regards

Mick


Offline SteveBurt

  • mad scientist
  • Posts: 506
Re: Difference and benefits of artists acrylics/hobby acrylics
« Reply #2 on: March 11, 2018, 01:20:52 PM »
When buying artist's paints, make sure you buy the 'opaque' rather than the 'translucent' version (unless you want to use it diluted as a wash).
I find the artists' paints last better, cover well, and have more even pigment than craft paints.
The hobby paints are usually fine as well, but often dry up quicker than the artists' colours.

Offline Hammers

  • Amateur papiermachiéer
  • Moderator
  • elder god
  • *
  • Posts: 14124
  • Workbench and Pulp Moderator
    • Adventure gaming
Re: Difference and benefits of artists acrylics/hobby acrylics
« Reply #3 on: March 11, 2018, 03:59:42 PM »
When buying artist's paints, make sure you buy the 'opaque' rather than the 'translucent' version (unless you want to use it diluted as a wash).
I find the artists' paints last better, cover well, and have more even pigment than craft paints.
The hobby paints are usually fine as well, but often dry up quicker than the artists' colours.

It is my general impression that artist paints set slower thab hobby paints.

Offline casual tea

  • bookworm
  • Posts: 62
Re: Difference and benefits of artists acrylics/hobby acrylics
« Reply #4 on: March 11, 2018, 11:22:12 PM »
Before I start I'm just going to clarify that I'm always referring to higher-end artist acrylics like Golden, Old Holland, Sennelier, and Liquitex, not cheap craft paints like Apple Barrel or Folk Art. Those are simply inferior paints, though they do have their place.

One big difference between artist acrylics and hobby paints is that hobby paints use matting agents, dyes, and other chemicals in attempt to be uniform viscosity, matte, and opaque. In contrast, artist acrylics are usually 1-2 pigments and an acrylic binder. My biggest beef with hobby paints (Game Color, looking at you), is that due to the additives, the paint can do strange things when extending them. I have colors that turn milky in hue when too much water is added to them, a green that separates rapidly on the wet palette revealing a dark blue dye, a black that turns chunky when flow release is added to it, etc... This is the big reason I have been turning more and more towards artist acrylics. The particular properties of a pigment in an artists' acrylic might not be desirable for some techniques out of the tube because it is too glossy or too transparent, but it means that you get more control over how the paint behaves. On the back of Golden paint tubes, for example, they give a helpful scale to give you some idea of the properties of the pigments:



The zinc white in the photo is very transparent and high viscosity. It wouldn't be very good for a base coat, but it is excellent for subtle highlights or for mixing with other colors. I tend to use the transparent artist acrylics for glazing or washes. Here's a WIP picture of a model I base-coated with a VGC green, then glazed in shadows with heavy body Sennelier chromium oxide deep green:



Another consideration is that hobby paint lines are designed so that each bottle of paint is the same price. We know that pigments for certain colors can be much more expensive than others. I suspect that one of the reasons certain colors in hobby paint lines tend to suck is because they are made to meet a cost standard rather than a quality standard. Artist acrylics are designed to meet a standard of pigment density, so the cost of a tube of cadmium red is much greater than one of carbon black, as it is a much more expensive pigment.

Speaking of cost, let's just say it: Hobby paints are EXPENSIVE for what you get. Volume/cost artist acrylics are almost always cheaper, even if you're buying the beautiful and expensive cobalt turquoises and cadmium reds, a 60ml tube is going to be a better deal than a bunch of 12ml pots from GW.

I'm not advocating everybody throw out their hobby paints and paint all their models with artist acrylics (though that certainly is a viable option). Hobby paints do have advantages. They're convenient. There are a TON of colors you can use right out of the bottle, great for painting groups of models, easy color matching, and easier to control consistency. I think for a lot of people they're the right choice. However, if you're running into the problems I mentioned above, I think artist acrylics offer more control and are a better solution than hunting the various hobby paint lines for agreeable colors.

Further reading: http://www.contrastminiatures.com/learn/sketching/finishing-the-sketch-gollum/
« Last Edit: March 11, 2018, 11:38:52 PM by casual tea »

Offline Hammers

  • Amateur papiermachiéer
  • Moderator
  • elder god
  • *
  • Posts: 14124
  • Workbench and Pulp Moderator
    • Adventure gaming
Re: Difference and benefits of artists acrylics/hobby acrylics
« Reply #5 on: March 12, 2018, 07:19:24 AM »
You have a lot of interesting insights. It is great to learn new stuff which to consider.

Another benefit of artis acrylics is that they are often using established names for their paints (mars, black, Naples yellow, burnt umber). I have never liked the names hobby paints manufacturers uselike ’vomit brown’. They only make sense to those already using them.

Offline casual tea

  • bookworm
  • Posts: 62
Re: Difference and benefits of artists acrylics/hobby acrylics
« Reply #6 on: March 12, 2018, 08:59:47 AM »
Of course, happy to share my thoughts.

Yes, true. Colors of the same name should be pretty close regardless of the brand. Another thing worth mentioning is Golden, Liquitex, and probably others also make fluid versions of their paints. I use both heavy body and fluid titanium whites for different applications.

Online Keith

  • Supporting Adventurer
  • mastermind
  • *
  • Posts: 1282
    • Small Wars Blog
Re: Difference and benefits of artists acrylics/hobby acrylics
« Reply #7 on: March 12, 2018, 09:35:42 AM »
I've always liked Windsor & Newton artists acrylics, but my stock has slowly dwindled over the years. Blues and whites in particular tend to be strong and easy to use.
An infrequent Blog http://small-wars.com

Offline Hammers

  • Amateur papiermachiéer
  • Moderator
  • elder god
  • *
  • Posts: 14124
  • Workbench and Pulp Moderator
    • Adventure gaming
Re: Difference and benefits of artists acrylics/hobby acrylics
« Reply #8 on: March 12, 2018, 04:22:59 PM »
I've always liked Windsor & Newton artists acrylics, but my stock has slowly dwindled over the years. Blues and whites in particular tend to be strong and easy to use.

Do you buy a special kind? The ones generally available in art stores are not very good, IMO.

Offline opponenttheory

  • scientist
  • Posts: 248
    • My blog about painting
Re: Difference and benefits of artists acrylics/hobby acrylics
« Reply #9 on: March 12, 2018, 05:44:09 PM »
My limited understanding of this subject is that the main difference is in the pigments. Hobby paints use organic or man-made pigments which allows for a greater variety of colours, and consistency of pricing and quality of paint across the range of colours.

Artists paints use inorganic pigments, the traditional kind used for centuries and made from minerals and such like. This limits the colours, though there are paints that combine mutliple pigments. Prices vary from colour to colour due to the different methods of extracting each pigment. The qualities of the pigments vary also with some being more opaque and some being more transparent.

The artists paints also possess certain qualities that perhaps aren't suitable for painting miniatures. They tend to be more glossy, which again varies from paint to paint and has been mentioned is disclosed by the manufacturer. There are also paints like the heavy body from liquitex which readily retain brushstrokes which is desirable for traditional portrait or mixed media painters but doesn't work to well on miniatures.

I don't believe there are any bad paints out there even in the hobby brands, it's just a matter of finding ones that are suitable for whatever techniques you are using. You can get good results using any paint as long as you understand their properties. Coverage is only one property of a paint, and in my opinion not the most important.

For example, the zinc white mentioned earlier is a tinting white. It's designed to lighten a colour without the usual reduction in chroma so that it's possible to create highlights without losing vibrancy. Titanium white is the more typical white. My preference is the titanium white from golden's fluid range as I find hobby whites to be far too thick to be usable.

Offline Codsticker

  • mastermind
  • Posts: 1115
    • Kodsticklerburg: A Mordheim project
Re: Difference and benefits of artists acrylics/hobby acrylics
« Reply #10 on: March 12, 2018, 09:39:18 PM »
I use a mix of craft paints, hobby and artists colours for terrain painting and strictly hobby paints (GW, Vallejo, etc) for models. My experience with craft paints is the same as others; generally poor consistency and coverage for model painting.
Another thing worth mentioning is Golden, Liquitex, and probably others also make fluid versions of their paints. I use both heavy body and fluid titanium whites for different applications.
I just started using these for painting terrain. I love the consistency and they flow very nice; they make fantastic filters. You could probably achieve the same effect mixing a high quality hobby paint with a Liquitex or Golden Flow Enhancer but it may take some practice to get the consistency right end even then it may be different within a range.

Offline Fitz

  • scientist
  • Posts: 467
    • The Website of Fitz
Re: Difference and benefits of artists acrylics/hobby acrylics
« Reply #11 on: March 12, 2018, 09:57:15 PM »
These days I use Vallejo modelling acrylics almost exclusively, mainly because of their consistency and my convenience and laziness. However, back in the day, I used to use Maimeri gouache acrylics for figure painting. These are opaque, dry dead flat, water-fast, and are very highly pigmented. I still use them a bit when I'm painting fantasy or medieval figures, where I don't have to match colours precisely — it's not that they can't be precisely mixed, it's just that I generally can't be bothered if there's a pre-mixed alternative.

The other area where I still use artists paints is when I'm preparing washes. I find that good quality transparent watercolours gives me a far superior wash than any sort of body colour.

Just as a side note: if you do intend to buy artists acrylics, oils, or watercolours for figure painting, DON'T buy anything described as "Student Grade". These paints are cheaper because their ratio of pigment to filler and binder is much lower than "Artist" grade paints, and the particles are generally more coarsely ground as well. Buy a smaller tube of better paint rather than trying to save a couple of bucks to get more volume. Save the Student paints for terrain and stuff.

Online Mindenbrush

  • Supporting Adventurer
  • mad scientist
  • *
  • Posts: 796
Re: Difference and benefits of artists acrylics/hobby acrylics
« Reply #12 on: March 12, 2018, 10:40:22 PM »
I used to use Delta Ceramcote exclusively and found them very good but when I moved back to the UK and then Germany I could not get them so ended up buying Foundry and Vallejo.
On returning to Canada 10 years later the quality of Ceramcote had dropped off drastically and is almost extinct now.
As my Foundry and Vallejo are starting to finish I am replacing them with Reaper Triads.
Wargamers do it on a table.
YNWA - It is not a badge, it is a family crest

Offline Normsmith

  • scientist
  • Posts: 421
    • Blog for wargaming in small places
Re: Difference and benefits of artists acrylics/hobby acrylics
« Reply #13 on: March 13, 2018, 12:41:45 AM »
As already stated, artist acrylic is very good. Like all things in life, you get what you pay for, but again, as with all things in life you do not always necessarily need the best for the job at hand. Tubed artists paint not only lists whether they are transluscent or opaque, but general state their degree of light-fastness, though these days, my paints are light-fast.

Artist quality acrylic is extremely good, highly pigmented and in most cases may well be over-kill for figures. The important thing with acrylic is to use a quality flow improver or extender rather than excessive water. Adding too much water can over-thin the molecules that actual bind the paint, where-as proper extender is essentially acrylic paint without the pigment, so all you are doing is making the same amount of pigment spread into a larger volume of the carrier.

I have a dropper bottle with a mix of water (80%) and flow improver (20%). each time I use GW type pots, before closing the jar, I add in two drops of my mix and shake, it keeps the content really mobile. Every now and then, I go through all the Vallejo bottles and do the same.

When painting, Just one drop of the mix to a few drops of Vallejo paint will significantly thin the Vallejo, so it is better not to drop directly into the working blob of paint, but put the mix to the side and just tap the brush tip in it lightly prior to going into the paint. The  mix will evaporate quite quickly.

Student quality acrylic is still very good. The next level below that is typical of the cheap budget imports and are not something that I would want to use either on a figure or in art!

My own preference is for Vallejo and GW for figures and tubed student quality acrylic for terrain.


Offline Braz

  • mad scientist
  • Posts: 525
Re: Difference and benefits of artists acrylics/hobby acrylics
« Reply #14 on: March 13, 2018, 02:50:38 AM »
There's quite a variety in artist paints for students to professionals - just need to find the right ones.
Another thing worth mentioning is Golden, Liquitex, and probably others also make fluid versions of their paints.
For minis I use Tri-Art from a local Canadian company with the above mentioned, which for mini painting are quite excellent, to supplement my Reaper hobby paints. I also use airbrush artist paints. Occasionally I use craft paints when I find a good one - they are so inconsistent but some can be fair.

For terrain I use the student/value/basics artist paints (that's the gloopier paint you mention) which are much better than craft paints overall but also use craft paints (Folkart, Cermacoat, Apple Barrel) for variety, and the ultra cheap dollar store stuff. Specialist artist mediums for texture and effects are great.