The two main choices of paints most commonly used are Acrylic and Oil. Both offer very unique benefits. Acrylic is what I first started with back in 2000. It’s easy, period! With low odor, water clean up, and fast drying time, it is most often the paint new artists choose. There is also a HUGE variety of pre-mixed colors.
It’s also very forgiving for the new artist. Because it drys so fast, a mistake if seen right away, is easily removed without removing the paint underneath. For a mistake that is completely dry, a little vodka on a q-tip does the trick quite well.
It can be thinned with just water, making line work or lettering easy. Not to mention abstracts are easy when you use a water soluble medium. It’s going to be a much easier clean up if you get it on your clothes, furniture or floor also. Just a little water, not paint thinner!
Acrylic is what I used on the painting of Disney’s Hat Box Ghost. He is by far my favorite painting achievement to date!
For this painting I did my shadows of each element first. Then used water to thin down the acrylic, and do glaze after glazing to get the right color. Layering different colors at times to get the right tone and richness. The flexibility of acrylic also lets you work on a piece over time. With this painting, being that it was my first ever canvas painting, it took me 6 weeks. I worked with my instructor over Skype. I would not have had this flexibility with a oil paint.