Today I’m going to be exploring the question, are student paint brands horrible?
Student brands of paint get a bad rap and from my experience and what I’ve heard from other artists, they don’t seem to deserve it. I frequently use Liquitex Basics and Amsterdam Standard Series paint, both student brands, in my own work and these cards
were painted with Cotman, which is Winsorandnewton’s student brand for watercolors.
Kelly Eddington, of Kelly Eddington Watercolors said of Cotman and Grumbacher Academy Watercolors, “They do everything that watercolors are supposed to do and their lightfastness(that is, how well they resist fading when exposed to sunlight)is very good”. Lisa Clough, of Lachri Fine Art, has repeatedly stated her preference for Liquitex Basics, sighting how their low pigmentation makes them easy to glaze with and how their matte finish makes it possible to draw over them with a charcoal pencil to allow for further layering. She noted in her video “Oil Painting For Beginners”, that WinsorandNewton’s Winton line, their student oil brand, was just as good as their professional line.
Here are some other artists thoughts on student brands.
Yes...i have fabercastell student grade water color pencils and i have created amazing art work with them.. my art teacher told me artist are not dependent on branded art material. Art can be created with simple graphite pencil and any paper, only fingers do the magic..
I have colored pencils I bought (24 for ~5€ all together!) that work nearly as good as my polychromos. But I dont know if they are lightfast and the colorrange is really small... (only these 24 colors)
I now have good quality watercolour paints for their brilliance but acrylics have wonderful student brands that are affordable for us everyday painters, for practice or for selling. They are wonderful to work with
I personally find Cray-Pas Expressionist oil pastels (student quality) quite decent. I've done entire pictures with them They do have a professional line called Specialists that aren't that much better but cost significantly more. Also Winsor & Newton Cotman Watercolors are pretty good too for being student grade.
I much prefer the Blick brand student oil pants to Windsor & Newton. I own and use both, but slowly phasing out the WNs as I run out. The smoother, more creamy texture of the Blick brand is what I prefer. In my mind the quality is much better for the lower price
So why do student brands get hated on so much? Well, student brands don’t have as much pigment as professional brands, they have more binder. The colors are often not as vibrant. Something you’ll see a lot in student brand paint that you won’t see so much in professional grade paint is the word hue. That word hue means it’s a lower intensity version of the color. Student lines also don’t have as many colors in them as professional ones, but I don’t think necessarily a bad thing for beginning artists, as if you have fewer colors available it kind of forces you to learn to mix colors. I’ve also seen in stores that the professional grade paint comes in bigger tubes than student grade paint.
Still, I don’t think any of this a reason to demonize student grade paint or discourage an art student from bringing it to a class. After all, those people are who those lines are made for.
Keep in mind, I’m talking about student grade paint for adults. I don’t encourage you to use Crayola or Prang or any of those brands marketed to kids. They won’t give you the results you want and they have terrible, really pretty much nonexistent, lightfastness.
But Liquitex Basics, Cotman, Winton, and Grumbacher Academy are all high quality, reputable lines that will allow you to make beautiful artwork.
Another thing that gets a bad rap in the art world is working from photographs, instead of from life. I made a post about that too.
Here are my sources for this article.
"Cheap Vs Expensive Paint" by Kelly Eddington Watercolor
"My Top 11 Acrylic Painting Supplies-Supply List From Lachri" by Lachri Fine Art
"Beginners Guide To Oil Painting and Demonstration W/Lachri" by Lachri Fine Art
"Watercolor 101 Materials-All About Paint" by HulloAlice
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Painter of portraits and wildlife