Painting Mediums

Paintings can be created with many different types of paints. Depending on which medium is chosen for the piece, the very same painting can end up with a very different look.

Things to consider before choosing a medium:

Think carefully which medium to use before starting the painting, because once this decision is made, it is almost impossible to change your mind about it.

The look:

Think about the end result and the look that you are going for before choosing the medium for any painting.

Skill level:

Of course, a particular artist may be more skilled in a particular medium, in which case he or she may make his choice based upon his skill level. If you can do gorgeous water colors, but your oil paintings are very ho-hum, then you may want to seriously think twice before starting an oil.

What do you want to do?

People often paint to relax and enjoy the process. If that’s the reason you are painting, then just think about which type of medium you enjoy the most, and let that govern your decision.


Some types of mediums:

There are a TON of mediums out there, and we are going to go briefly over just a few.


It is easy to cover up one’s mistakes in acrylic paint, so this is a good medium for beginners. It’s also inexpensive, so that’s another reason to use it if you are just starting out and are not yet sure if painting is your thing. It also dries rapidly, so you don’t have to worry about being super careful with it forever.

Water Colors:

Water colors are kind of medium in price range. You can make them dry fast with a little help (e.g., by using a dryer). But watercolors are not very forgiving, and therefore require a certain amount of skill. Also there is no shine on water color paintings once they are dry.


There are a lot of issues with oils – they are expensive and somewhat toxic. Many people tend to get headaches when they engage in oil paints for a while. Another big con with oils is that they take a very long time to dry, and there is pretty much nothing you can do about it.

Oil Pastels:

Oil pastels are made up of color pigment, oil and binder. They kind of look like crayons. The surface of an oil pastel painting, while still powdery, is not as powdery as crayon or chalk.

Another close relative of painting mediums is charcoal– this medium is often used with some pretty stunning results.


Now you know a little bit about some of the mediums and what to think about when picking one.

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