How To Make Watercolors with Acrylic Paint

Know More About Paints

The brilliant colors and passionate form of watercolor paintings are well-known. You may well be wondering how to make acrylics act more like watercolors because they’re water-based.

What’s the best way to make acrylics seem like watercolors? It’s necessary to start with a thin acrylic paint if you want your acrylics to seem like watercolor. 

Acrylic ink, fluid acrylics, and soft body acrylics work well. Because most watercolor paints are transparent, you should use translucent acrylic colors. Finally, spend some time learning some fundamental watercolor techniques so that you may apply them to your acrylic paintings.

What is Acrylic Paint?

Acrylic paint was made of pigments contained in an acrylic solvent. It’s water-soluble at first, but the paint becomes water-resistant as it dries. Because the fast-drying paint is opaque, you can build up layers of color from dark to light and paint over parched regions.

Acrylic paints, unlike other forms of color, are incredibly adaptable. For example, to make the paint look like watercolor or oil paintings, dilute it with water or change it using gels or mediums. It can be used on a range of outlets, including canvas, metal, plastic, glass, and more.

There are many acrylic paint supplies like heavy body acrylic paints, soft body acrylic paints, Acrylic paint pens, acrylic spray paints, etc. You should understand the benefits and features of each type and choose the best for your art.

What is Watercolor Paint?

Watercolor is a great medium to work. It produces lovely color washes that are fun to brush onto the paper. On the other hand, watercolor may be a difficult medium to work with, so choose the best watercolors

It’s simple for an artist to lose control due to its transparency. Overworking may be a severe issue. When watercolor dries, it lightens and becomes pale and faded in appearance. Frequently, I am excited about the way my painting appears while it is wet. However, I take a break for lunch, and the painting continues to dry while I’m gone. 

When I return, the appearance has vanished, and the colors have become colorless and drab. This trait should be kept in mind when using it, and brightening the colors a little while it’s still wet will assist. However, this might be difficult to achieve since it may seem overly harsh when wet.

Differences Between Watercolors and Acrylic Paints

The main similarities between watercolor and acrylic paints are the pigments used to create the various hues and the fact that they are water-soluble. However, the quality medium is the game-changer in terms of consistency and total qualities.

The notable difference between watercolor and acrylic paints is how they are applied. Acrylic paint dries quickly and provides good coverage, but watercolors are light and combine well with water. There are several distinctions between them. They are, however, both water-soluble paints.

Watercolor paints are smaller and lighter than acrylic paints; they are ideal for traveling and outdoor painting. You may simply carry it with you to paint landscapes and urban areas or throw it in your backpack and travel with it.

How Are Acrylics Made?

Acrylic paints produce toxic VOCs (Volatile Organic Compounds), raised mainly by the preservatives contained in the paint. Short-term exposure to VOCs has been shown to produce nausea, headaches, and skin irritation in studies. However, long-term exposure can harm the kidneys, liver, and neurological system and cause cancer.

Acrylic paints use a polymer emulsion manufactured by the petrochemical sector as a binder. Every year, 16 billion kilos (36 billion pounds) of dangerous polymer solvents are created, with much of them ending up in art materials. (Scientific American, 2001)

Acrylic paint is liquid plastic (both the synthetic pigments and binders are plastic-based), which you discharge into the water system while cleaning your brushes and discarding paint water.

Is It Possible to Paint Watercolor Over Acrylic?

Even though both paints are water-soluble, watercolor cannot be painted over acrylic. This is because watercolors will collect on an acrylic background’s surface, warping the plastic acrylic paint. On the other hand, transparent acrylic might help preserve watercolor from exposure difficulties.

However, you might be able to glaze it with watercolors over a watered-down acrylic. Unfortunately, the watercolor will not stay if the acrylic is too thick.

Paint Types

Watercolors and acrylics both come in various paint types. Acrylics come in tubes, jars, and bottles, whereas watercolors often come in tubes and pans.

Acrylic paints come in many different varieties, including:

  • Standard
  • Fluid
  • Long-lasting
  • Slow-drying
  • Re-workable
  • Thick, heavy-bodied paints

Watercolor Technique That You Can Use With Acrylics

Making acrylics resemble watercolor is just the most challenging component. Creating some fluid acrylics isn’t tricky, but perfecting watercolor methods takes time and practice.

Watercolor painting is challenging even though the paint is transparent, preventing you from painting over your mistakes. If you work with acrylics transparently, you’ll have the same difficulties.

Acrylics bring the advantage of adding opaque colors into your works. You may cover up mistakes with these opaque colors, but you must do it in a non-fussy manner.

Some of the effects you’ll find in watercolor paintings are listed below.

  • “Wet into Wet”
  • Variegated Washes

“Wet into Wet”

Painting on a wet surface is one of the most basic watercolor painting techniques. You may do this by saturating the canvas with water or painting it into a wet wash that already exists.

Paint will spread if it is applied to a wetter surface. This results in forms with rounded edges. This effect may be seen in all of the paintings in this post. This is how I generally paint the skies in my landscape paintings. The smooth edges are ideal for painting clouds and delicate sky shadings.

Because acrylics dry so quickly, creating smooth borders with them may be difficult, but using these watercolor methods makes it simple.

Variegated Washes

When you add a second shade to a wash and let the colors mix, you get a variegated wash, also known as a mixed wash. It’s a typical technique that makes a watercolor picture appear to have been made without effort.

I frequently combine a warm and a cold version of each shade and utilise them in the same wash as a strategy. For example, if I’m painting a tree, I may use a yellow-green and a blue-green together. Then I’ll paint the shape with both colors.

Techniques For Watercolor and Acrylic

  • The closest watercolor effects will be achieved with transparent and semi-opaque Acrylic Ink or Soft Body hues.
  • For more fluidity and transparency, combine with Flow Aid Additive (1 part). 20 parts distilled water as a flow aid
  • Use dry paper for hard edge brush marks.
  • To get softer edges and blend brush marks, moisten your paper with distilled water or Slow-Dri Fluid Additive first, then apply acrylic watercolor combined with Flow Aid to minimize pressure drop.
  • Dampen paper with Flow Aid for ultra-soft edge brush marks, then add washes for more intense color. The tone is created by working wet into wet.
  • Slow the drying rate by combining Slow-Dri Fluid Additive with distilled water (4 parts water to 1 part Slow-Dri). This allows you to control your paint for longer.

Make Your Colors

It is a choice to decide whether to use watercolor or acrylic paints for your project. Both types are available in professional grades, which make use of high-quality paint pigments to provide different colors. 

They’re both water-based, but the paints differ significantly. To figure out which paint and other elements are suitable for your project, think about how you’ll acquire them.