Watercolor and Acrylic Paint: What's the Difference?

watercolor and acrylic paints

I like to make these posts short and sweet and easy to understand. I hate posts that go on and on, full of technical jargon that make my eyes roll to the back of my head, lol.

Put simply, the difference is not just due to the use of water (you use water to clean acrylics) but with the binder, the substance that holds the pigments together.

Watercolor is made of pigments mixed with gum arabic. Gum arabic is a water soluble tree sap. When you paint with watercolor, you’re basically dissolving the gum arabic binder in water and leaving behind pigment on the paper.

Acrylic paint is made of pigments mixed with a plastic resin that is “suspended” in water. When you paint with acrylics the water evaporates as it dries, leaving behind a hard pigmented resin that is basically waterproof when completely dry!

Watercolors are very transparent and can be layered to achieve depth, can be very loose and whimsical, can be used to create very fine details, and has a very unique look.

Acrylics can be layered endlessly and painted over, they can be bold and have a lot of texture and are very versatile.

Both are beautiful mediums that are used by many artists. Some artists even use both in one mixed media style painting! 😁

Any questions? Let me know in the comments or shoot me an email.

From my soul to yours! xxoo, Deb.