Student-grade art supplies | Will it be an oil, acrylic or watercolour set?

by Art Materials on Aug 29, 2022

Choosing a painting medium | Oils, acrylics or  watercolours

Any beginner artist is faced with a dilemma: which will be their medium of choice? As you scroll through Pinterest images or sign up for free art tutorials, there is something irresistible in each medium - be that oils, acrylics or watercolours. It’s quite likely you may want to try them all. So how do you choose which paint medium to invest in? This is where student-grade art supplies become an accessible and affordable entry point into the world of fine and visual art. 

As a novice artist, you owe it to yourself to give each medium a bash. Student-grade art supplies allow you the luxury of choice and experimentation before you commit to a painting medium and splurge on artist-quality materials.

Before we explore the three main paint mediums, a quick overview of the difference between student grade vs artist quality paint sets will help you to make an informed decision before you ‘add to cart.’ 

  • Artist-quality paints are made from pure natural pigments that are mined and milled. When mixed with mediums, they will still maintain their colour and intensity and when mixed with white, they maintain a vibrancy that stays true to their original colour. But artist-quality paints are a pricey and dear investment.
  • Student-grade paints make use of less costly raw materials and often substitute hues in the place of single pigments. (Hues are a man-made alternative to a pigment). When mixed with white, student-grade paints will lose their intensity. But they are affordable and ideal for learning painting techniques (and also for covering large areas) before making a final commitment as to a medium of choice.  

One of the best ranges to consider when purchasing student-grade art supplies is Winsor & Newton’s Galeria acrylic, Winton oil or Cotman watercolour paint sets. 

Galeria acrylic paint sets - a popular choice

“Acrylic is the only painting medium that can be all mediums - it can act like watercolour, it can act like oils, and it has its own innate properties.” -Andrew Hamilton, Canadian Drawing Master and a Professor of Fine Arts.

Acrylic painting is a brilliant skill to learn and one of the easiest paints to work with if you’re new to the art world. And if you want the best of both worlds, then student-grade Galeria acrylic paint sets offer professional artist-quality pigments, just in a lower concentration. We’re talking vibrant, intense colours with a smooth satin finish; the perfect motivation to get paint to canvas. 

With a total of 60 colours to choose from - available in 10 x 12ml and 20 x 12ml sets - this accessible art supply range is ideal for any artist who wants to start their art journey practising and experimenting with acrylics. Also Included in the Galeria range are the gold, copper and silver metallic colours to add a little shimmer and shine. 

Winsor & Newton Galeria acrylic student-grade paint sets

The worst thing about acrylics is that they dry fast, and the best thing about acrylics is that they dry fast. -Debbie DeBaun

Beginner’s tip: Acrylic student-grade paints usually darken in tone as they dry, so remember to make allowance for this when mixing wet colours. This colour shift is due to the binder changing from white to transparent as it dries.

Winton oil paint sets - a seductive choice

“To a non-painter, oil paint is uninteresting and faintly unpleasant. To a painter, it is the life's blood: a substance so utterly entrancing, infuriating, and ravishingly beautiful that it makes it worthwhile to go back into the studio every morning, year after year, for an entire lifetime” -James Elkins, American art historian and art critic.

When it comes to art supplies, one quickly recognises the lasting beauty of oil paint art supplies. Spoken or unspoken, every artist harbours a dream of being an oil painter. The rich textures and techniques, as well as the brilliant hues and colour options, are all part of their timeless allure. 

Winsor & Newton Winton student-grade oil paint sets

But of all the paint mediums, oils cost the most, and so embarking on an oil painting journey is a big investment. That is why a set of more affordable Winton student-grade oil paints is a savvy art move until you have mastered the techniques and are ready to commit to oil as a medium. 

Winsor & Newton’s Winton oil paints come in 55 colours and their thick, stiff consistency (similar to artist’s grade) can hold the shape of the strokes. 

“When I was thirteen or fourteen I bought a paintbox with oil paints from money slowly saved up. The feeling I had at the time – or better – the experience of colour coming slowly out of the tube – is with me to this day.” -Wassily Kandinsky, Russian artist and pioneer of abstract painting.

Cotman watercolour paint sets - a beautiful choice

"If I have any advice to anybody it's this: take up watercolour painting." -Charles Bukowski, German-American poet, novelist, short story writer and artist.

The gentle beauty of watercolour as a painting medium is its ability to have light pass through and create a magical washed-out effect. Of all the art supplies in the paint aisles, the portability of a watercolour set makes it the perfect medium to take on the road. All you need to add is a watercolour paper pad,  brush, palette and water.

The Cotman watercolour sets by Winsor & Newton are lightfast and permanent; offering novice watercolourists a range of 40 quality transparent colours with excellent tinting strength at an affordable price. As a beginner, testing your hand at watercolour painting, these student-grade watercolours will be ideal. 

Winsor & Newton Cotmanstudent-grade watercolour sets

Experimenting with wet-on-dry or wet-on-wet techniques results in 

the softly detailed illustrations and a delicate colour palette that watercolours paintings are known for. 

"Because watercolour actually moves on the paper, it is the most active of all mediums, almost a performance art." -Nita Engle. American watercolourist.

The Art Materials Company - a smart online choice

Sourcing quality art supplies and materials online is a convenient way to keep your creative juices flowing. From beginners to professionals, you will find quality student-grade and artist-quality art supplies at The Art Materials Company ready to be shipped to your door. From oils, acrylics and watercolours to paper pads, canvases, brushes and every art supply in between, this is where you will find your creative muse. (Don’t forget to check out our satisfied customer reviews on Trustpilot).

Browse and shop all our online collections and get painting.