View Full Version : Student grade vs. more expensive types

06-30-2002, 07:33 PM
My question is pretty simple. Maybe it is because I am a cheapskate. But is there a difference in the paints, which will affect the quality and use, between the student grade paints and the artist quality paints? I always buy the student grade, because, heck, I cant afford to buy the others.:confused:

07-01-2002, 02:43 PM
Artist grade is qualitatively better.
The paints are more lightfast and have greater longevity.

Keith Russell
07-01-2002, 04:32 PM

I agree that 'professional' grade supplies are the only way to go.

Always buy the best, period.

If you can afford a whole set of student-grade, buy the primaries, black, white, and a good brown in the 'artist' grade, and mix anything else you might need.

Then, you can add colours one-at-a-time as money allows--if you really need to, after learning how to mix them from the primaries...


07-02-2002, 01:25 AM
Hi there. I have yet to buy my first 'Artist' quality acrylic paints...I use just cheap stuff at the moment for Children's Church murals on polysteirene. I am mainly a pastellist and I have to say that apart from the good artistic qualities you get from using the top grade stuff, when you do buy them and use the best ... it kinda puts a little effervescence in your attitude to your work, if you know what I mean. It makes me, the beginner, feel as though I am a REAL artist!
So I say YES! go for the better quality...even one at a time (as I buy my pastells 3 at a time).. you'll feel the better for it.

07-02-2002, 03:07 AM
Turtle, did you try looking for previous discussions on brand preferences? There have been a number even in just the past couple of months. Just do searches for words like brand, student etc. and you should get a number of hits.

Originally posted by surreal
Artist grade is qualitatively better. The paints are more lightfast and have greater longevity.
This is a common misconception surreal, and is not generally true any longer. Many (maybe even most) student/second ranges use lightfast pigments only, Liquitex Basics and W&N Galleria for example are all ASTM I and II, making them just as lightfast as artists' paints on the whole.

The major differences between students' and artists' ranges are in which pigments they use and in pigment load, plus handling to some extent. The expensive pigments are generally not available in cheaper ranges (cadmium and cobalt colours for example) so their place is often taken by hues - substituted pigments or mixes that are rarely good matches for the real thing - which are not poor paint necessarily, many are fine colours, but they are almost always much more transparent and often are not very close in hue. As regards pigment load, the same colour (using the same pigment) in both ranges is usually quite a bit more opaque and higher in tinting strength in the more expensive range, which is where I think their true value lies - you literally have to use less paint for the same job in certain cases.

So to answer your question, yes there are differences but given their significantly lower prices and their quality today, student ranges can be a worthwhile choice, particularly if your painting style calls for thick paint where their lower opacity may not be an issue. If you want or need to use paint with the type of handling characteristics that artists paints can have, and if opacity is an issue, then the artists' ranges are definitely worth trying. As Keith suggests, buying a colour from a more expensive range every now and again is a good way to check them out.

Incidentally if you buy online (check Dick Blick's website) prices are very much better than retail. Also, if there is a Utrecht store near you their paint is good quality and competitively priced.

Hope it helps,

07-02-2002, 10:07 PM
Thanks for providing the update information.