Student vs Artist Grade Acrylic Paint

Student Grade vs Artist Grade Acrylic Paint from Smart Art Materials

Have you ever wondered what is the difference between Student Grade and Artist Grade Acrylic Paint? Which one is better for your needs? Does it worth to pay extra for the artist grade? To get the answers, let’s take a look a little closer.

Let's Compare: Artist vs Student 

Student Grade vs Artist Grade Acrylic Paint from Smart Art Materials

For a start - What is Paint Grade? The concept of grade also applies to oil and watercolor paint. And by grade, we mean paint quality. That is why sometimes you can hear "artist quality" instead of "artist grade".  Factors that determine the quality: pigment load (concentration of pigment), quality of a pigment, and quality of a binder.

Artist Grade Acrylic Paint
also known as Professional or Extra Fine Grade.
1. Contains a high load of finely meld pigment that is suspended in the best binders with a smooth consistency, which maintains the color intensity when blended with other paints or mediums.
2. Extra Fine grade paint is made of high-quality pigments which results in a vibrant, bright and rich colors, clear color mixing, and no color shift after drying.
3. This paint is designed to resist the impact of the environment, which prolongs painting lifetime.
4. Artist quality paints come in a wide range of colors and are more expensive compared to student paints because of the pigment purity and complex production process.

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

Student Grade Acrylic Paint
also known as Academic Grade, is a lower quality alternative to an artist grade paint.
1. It contains lower pigment load and lower quality of binder. This affects the paint color strength - when you mix it with other colors or mediums, the color intensity decreases significantly.
2. It has a lower grade of pigment or contains substitutes instead of original pigment. This means that the same color might look slightly different from the original. Also, student acrylics tend to shift to a darker shade once dry.
3. In addition, student acrylics usually come in a smaller color selection and are generally cheaper because of less-expensive formulas.

To get an idea about different options of student grade paints, check out the Best Student Grade Acrylic Paints.

So which one?

Student Grade vs Artist Grade Acrylic Paint from Smart Art MaterialsStudent Grade Acrylics are designed for painting beginners. They are great for learning and practicing new techniques. You can also use them for quick sketches, painting experiments, under-painting, and mixed media. So if you’re just starting out, it’s a good idea to go with student grade.

However, as you develop your skills, I highly recommend you to switch to artist grade paint. You will notice a huge difference in the whole painting process, from paint blending and application to the vibrancy of colors and final look of your artwork. Overall, Artist Grade paints make painting so much more rewarding. You'll never know what you're missing till you try it... 


I hope this article helps, and now you know exactly what is the difference between Student Grade and Artist Grade Acrylic Paint. Please, let me know if you still have any questions! 



4 thoughts on “Student vs Artist Grade Acrylic Paint

  1. Mei Scarlet says:

    Thank you for explaining the differences! I always knew the different types of paints, but I wasn’t aware that there were also different grades. I’ve actually just started as a Grade 1 teacher, and I have an art class. The school left it up to me to look into the supplies I need, so I did lots of researching, trying to find the cheapest paints… I think the student grade paints will be sufficient for the level I’m doing art with 🙂 I actually don’t know much about art – so thank you for the article! I’ll have to check out some other pages on your website, too!

    • Olga says:

      Hi Mei, you are more than welcome! Feel free to email me or leave another comment if you have any questions about art supplies 

  2. Steve says:

    Hey Olga! I am very glad to see your site as I have a niece that loves to paint, and for Christmas id like to get her some better paints to use. Your post really helped me a lot, and now I am aware of the different grades of paint to choose from, so that I’m able to get the right grade for my niece. Keep up the great work : )

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