Acrylic Paint Body: Heavy, Soft, Ink

Acrylic Paint Body: Heavy, Soft, Ink - Explanation and Tips from Smart Art Materials
Acrylic Paint Body: Heavy, Soft, Ink - Explanation and Tips from Smart Art MaterialsToday I want to tell you guys about Acrylic Paint Body and different types of it because the understanding of this term is very beneficial for all beginners.
In a Nutshell, the meaning of Acrylic Paint Body refers to Paint Viscosity (consistency and thickness)The viscosity of paint varies a lot from brand to brand. But generally, we can divide acrylic paint into two types - high viscosity (heavy body) and low viscosity (soft body, inks, high flow etc).
Which one to choose? To make this decision, you need to know what style you are after, because each paint viscosity is designed for certain painting techniques, and the choice will depend on your artistic needs.  
If you need to get more general information about what are the features of acrylic paint and what makes it different from any other paint, check out this article - Acrylic Paint Definition and FeaturesOtherwise, let's take a closer look at each type of acrylic paint body!

Acrylic Paint Body Types

Heavy Body Acrylics 

Acrylic Paint Body: Heavy, Soft, Ink - Explanation and Tips from Smart Art MaterialsHeavy body acrylic paint has the highest viscosity index and very expressive nature. It has a thick, buttery consistency (similar to oil paints) that facilitates color mixing and blending. This paint retains crisp brush stroke and knife marks. Good surface drag provides excellent handling and blending characteristics with increased open-working time. High pigment load produces rich, brilliant color.

As a result, heavy body acrylics are the best choice for traditional art techniques using brushes or knives, impasto techniques or heavier paint applications.

To find out more about this paint type, check out my Liquitex Heavy Body Acrylic Paint Review

Low Viscosity Paints

Acrylic Paint Body: Heavy, Soft, Ink - Explanation and Tips from Smart Art Materials

These include soft/medium body and fluid paints. Thin low viscous paints are irreplaceable when coverage and detailing are foremost. They have a creamy and smooth consistency and the same pigment load as heavy body acrylics which ensures the color purity and intensity. These paints retain little to no brush strokes and are superb for smooth even coverage.

This paint type can be used in a variety of applications and techniques: fine detailed work, glazing, staining, water media techniques, under-painting, dry brush, spraying and more.

Acrylic Ink

Acrylic Paint Body: Heavy, Soft, Ink - Explanation and Tips from Smart Art MaterialsAcrylic Ink represents a range of water-based, extremely fluid and versatile colorant with the lowest viscosity index. It is highly pigmented, that is why a little goes a long way. It's far more fluid than regular acrylic paint, by the consistency it reminds a very intense watercolor. Ink dries quickly and is permanent and water-resistant once dry. 

It's also used for a variety of techniques like regular brushwork, watercolor effects, stamping, dip pen, calligraphy, it's also great for airbrush. In addition, you can intermix ink with other water-based tube paints for a change of versatility or combine it with pouring medium.

Here are some great options for different Acrylic Paint Body Types:

Viscosity Tips

All of the Acrylic Paint Body types are intermixable with each other, this helps you to achieve the desired paint consistency. Furthermore, Gel Mediums are also available in various viscosities and are used to thicken or thin acrylic paint, create texture or glazing effects. Lastly, which one is the best for a beginner? Of course, most of all it depends on personal preference and the desired style of painting. Besides, you can totally use few different acrylic paint types in one artwork. But if you are just starting out, my advice is to try soft body acrylics first, because I find them a little less tricky to work with. Your next good option would be a heavy body paint as it's excellent for work with traditional painting techniques.

I hope this article helps, and now you know what are the options when it comes to Acrylic Paint Body. I also recommend you checking Acrylic Paint Colors - Basic Palette and Student Grade vs Artist Grade. They all are amazing and definitely worth trying.  Please, let me know if you have any questions! 



8 thoughts on “Acrylic Paint Body: Heavy, Soft, Ink

  1. Thomas says:

    Hi Olga!
    Just read your post here!
    I personally do not paint with acrylic painting very often, usually stick to pencils and inks that are a completely other world of the drawing / painting world. But I must say, as an inexpert, this post has broaden the knowledge about it and given good tips on what would be best for me to start with. Really helpful!
    Thank you for my reading and keep up the good work!!

    • Olga says:

      Hi Thomas, you are welcome! Yes, drawing and painting a very different, but you never know where will your inspiration bring you next time 🙂

  2. Brooks says:

    Hey Olga! It amazes me the deep level of thought that goes into an artists painting! Not just color choices, but paint viscosities and application devices. As a novice artist, how much impact does the viscosity of paint have on what style brush to use?
    Thanks for the detailed information you provide in your posts!

    • Olga says:

      Hi Brooks, you are welcome! So when it comes to brushes, there is one rule – the more viscous paint is, the stiffer brush should be. And opposite – the lower viscosity, the softer brush you’ll need. 

  3. Dr. Doug says:

    I actually had no idea there were different viscosity acrylic paints. I have painted with acrylics in the past and used the same viscosity all the time but it would have added depth to my work to actually manipulate the viscosity as you describe. I agree that one of the brilliant things about acrylics is the color density no matter how thin the paint. Very informative.

  4. Annie says:

    I use acrylic paints and completely agree with the ability to manipulate the paints with higher viscosity to get texture. The ones I have are medium body, and I will be now looking to add some heavy body paints to play with. I will be checking your Liquitex review of heavy body paints as a guide. Thank you for this information.

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