Acrylics versus Oils

Blending itself means to create a smooth transition from one color by fading it to a target colour. Generally there are 2 different forms for blending: one is for acrylics and the other is for oil paints. After trying both painting techniques, I figured that both mediums have its pros and cons.

I have heard many different modellers saying that one medium is easier or difficult to blend than the other. For me it�s just a matter of preference actually cause both have totally different blending processes-the more familiar you are with it the easier it is.

Oil paints takes a longer time to dry and care should be taken not to handle the painted figure so as not to smear the paint job. It also needs to be in a dust free environment during painting and the drying process causes dust particles tend to stick mercilessly onto oils. The blending process for oils is less complex since it uses lesser colours.

Acrylics drys up pretty quickly but it takes a longer blending process due to its many layers of paint required to blend each colour.

Blending in Acrylics

In acrylics there are two kinds of methods widely used. The first blending method is starting from the basecolour and making it lighter or darker by adding a lighter colour or darker colour by incrementals of 25% till it reaches the highlight colour or the darkest shade colour.

The second blending method is by painting the extreme highlight and darkest shade first and then blending in the mid-colours. Both blending methods are similar except the approach are different.

Both these techniques uses a watered down paint and generally have 3 highlight transition colors and 2 shade transition colours. This blending technique is also called feathering. Acrylics blending is more of an illusion or visual effect since the colours do not really blend into each other but consist of many layers that make it appear so.

It’s best to have all the colours laid out and mixed in a palette before blending.

Wet Blending

This technique is a popular and very effective when blending acrylics. What happens here is when you apply a layer of paint over an earlier layer before that dries. For example, you overlap a lighter green layer over a dark green layer and blend them to show the transition. To blend further you need to reapply the same light green layer over another wet layer before adding another even lighter green layer of paint.

This technique also reduces unsightly brush marks between over lapping colours.

Blending in Oils

Oil painting is very different to acrylics since it utilises a blending technique called stippling. The oil colour are blended together by a stabbing motion with a brush. This is to eliminate brush stroke marks if applied normally with a brush. The result is a seamless transition from a basecolor to its darkest shade and highlight. Oil painting mainly uses 3 colors for blending: basecolour, highlight and shade. It takes a few days for oil paint to fully dry.

Learn to Paint - A great resource for oil painters to learn various aspects of the craft.