Acrylic paints are a form of plastic and therefore are waterproof when dry. They come in 2oz., 4.6 oz., and 7oz. tubes. They also come in 2oz., 8oz., 16 oz., and 32 oz., jars. They come in a myriad of colors, and in regular, medium and high viscosity. The brushes you use for acrylic painting are some of the same ones you would pick for traditional watercolor painting. I prefer a more stiff bristle brush for acrylic use as a soft bristle brush tends to get full of the acrylic paint, like a rag-mop full of water. You have a hard time controlling lines and detail with a soft bristle brush. . Also, to paint with acrylic, you will need to purchase a jar of acrylic medium. This helps make your paint pigment go further. You can also use water as an acrylic medium, although the finished look of your painting will be different than if you used the gel medium. Acrylic gel mediums come in mat texture, gloss texture, regular, heavy, extra heavy and high solid gel (which is fast drying). One of the newer mediums is phosphorescent (glow in the dark). "Mica flakes allow you to create highly reflective permanent, subtle, sparkling granular color that can be used to add reality to various compositions." Acrylics can be painted on many 'bases' including canvas, paper, and numerous craft bases such as wood, cloth, etc. Acrylic painting is fun. Mostly because it dries quickly and you can paint over any 'mistakes' without anyone knowing you made any (mistakes). Plastic covers plastic well! :) The thinner the acrylic is, when painted onto your base, the quicker it dries. When painted on thickly, acrylic can sometimes take a day or two to dry, and 'cure'. Acrylic is dry when it no longer has a 'tacky' feel to it. I have done a lot of paintings for children's rooms with acrylic. Their tendency to be bright helps convey a happy feeling. Also, if something spills on them, a little soap and water cleans them up! On my website, there is a painting, done in acrylic, that I titled "The Lay of the Land". It is done in the same technique that I did the children's paintings in. That is, paint the spaces and add lines of acrylic, piped through a glue bottle, to give a 3-D raised effect. These paintings were created using both watercolor and acrylic paints. If you look hard, you will see that I used a glitter paint for highlighting the rocks, bubbles, petals, etc., of these paintings. When using acrylic paint, remember that it does not come out of fabric. That makes it good for painting tee shirts, but not for your 'Sunday best' cloths. :) Remember to wash your brushes well when you are through, because if you don't, the acrylic will dry up in the bristles and then you will have to buy new brushes! Keep your brushes in a jar of water, as you are working on your painting, to prevent drying. I have also experimented with acrylic paint to see if I could get the effect and look of an oil painting. It took work, but I succeeded! To do this you have to gray-down the colors. You also have to be able to mix and keep your colors from drying out. Have plenty of small glass jars ready, if you try this. The final result is worth the effort. You can paint acrylics over most media, except for oil paintings. If you paint over an oil, the acrylic will dry and peel off. You can, however, paint oil over acrylic. Hint: Most canvas that you purchase, has a coating of primer already on it. If you purchase 'raw canvas', you can apply a coating of Gesso on it. An example to show you what I mean. If you have a bowl of white icing and use food coloring to make it 'blue'. The icing is the medium and the blue dye is the paint pigment. Instead of having 2 drops of blue paint pigment to work with, you have a whole bowl of blue paint! The medium increases the volume of paint that you have to work with. Acrylics - Getting A Realistic Look The first step in getting your painting to look realistic, using acrylic paint, is to sketch your drawing onto the painting surface. Remember, your painting is going to be as good as your drawing, so be happy with what you have as a drawing before starting to paint! [This is true with any medium.] I prefer stretched canvas for the 'spring'. Some people prefer masonite, or canvas board, both are stiff. I find that my paintings acquire a stiff look if I paint on masonite or canvas board and a softer look if I paint on stretch canvas. After your sketch is on the painting surface, start out laying in the colors that you want to use. You can choose your colors by using the color charts we made in the beginning lessons. After the first layers of color are on, and DRY, you will be using MORE layers of color wash, as many as you need. I have known people to use up to 50 layers of wash on one painting. Your acrylic washes can be made by mixing either water or an acrylic medium into your acrylic paint. You can buy mat, glossy, and clear medium for acrylic paint. As you apply your washes, you will be targeting certain parts of your painting. You may need to put several layers on the subject, the background, or just one part of your painting surface. As each layer dries, you add the next layer of wash. Applying an overall wash of one color, to the whole painting surface, will change the mood of the painting, sad, happy, bright, etc. Washes can soften edges, create interesting shadows and textures, and make your painting much more colorful and interesting. Try painting with acrylic washes and see if YOU can achieve the look and feel of an oil painting.