What are the differences between Heavy, Soft & Fluid body?
It is not always easy to find what you want among all these brands of acrylic paint. Generally when an artist seeks acrylic paint, he wants a particular colour, but also a perfect viscosity.
Heavy Body, Soft Body, Fluid Body, several types of acrylic paint exist on the market but there is no standard type, so the specifics noted on tubes or pots can make the choice easier.
Acrylic paint : Colour and viscosity
The binder or acrylic resin added to the pigment gives more or less body to the acrylic paint. The paint can be made to be more or less pasty (soft or liquid).
<3 types of Viscosity with Acrylic Paint
1/ Heavy Body:
High viscosity, heavy density, a firm paste with good hold. The viscosity seems like “peanut butter” or oil paint.
Ideal for painting with a knife or colour shaper in thick layers, or impasto, keeps the marks of the tool with relief. We can use the paint directly out of the tube, without being diluted. You can add water or fluid medium if you need to increase flow of colour.
Some Examples: Lukas Pastos, Vallejo, Old Holland, Liquitex Heavy Body Acrylics, Amsterdam Expert Series, Golden Heavy Body Acrylics. Sennelier, Abstract.
How do you know if it’s heavy body?
The paint can make some spikes, maintain the given shape and does not collapse when pulling the paste with a palette knife.
2/ Soft Body:
Creamy paste, soft with flabby viscosity like “custard”.
Perfect for details with a brush, glazing and application of undercoats or very pigmented flat areas. Soft Body can be mixed with a medium to increase viscosity or to be even thinner for nice glaze
Some Examples: Lukascryl Studio, Liquitex Soft Body, Flashe Lefranc & Bourgeois.
How do I know if it’s soft body?
The paint forms beads and spreads slightly when mixed with a palette knife.
3/ Fluid body:
High Flow, Fluid and rich paint extremely diluted with good pigmentation. This paint flows and drops like “milk”. Ideal paint for paintbrush, airbrush, watercolor, textiles and frescoes…
Some Examples: Golden High Flow, Liquitex ink, Daler Rowney FW Acrylic Inks
How do you know if it’s fluid body?
The paint flows in all directions and produces drops when mixed with a palette knife.
Did you know?
Mediums, modeling pastes and gels allow you to change the viscosity of the acrylic paint, so do not forget to make mixtures if you need more thickness or more fluidity.
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