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Fluid acrylics are versatile paints to keep in the studio. Less viscous than standard acrylics, they can be used with a brush for beautiful glazing effects but can also be poured, dripped, and airbrushed. The very best of these use no fillers or extenders in their formulas and offer strong tinting and excellent coverage without sacrificing color. With many high-quality options available, there’s no reason to continue thinning your heavier-bodied acrylics when you want greater flow. Instead, purchase one of these excellent fluid acrylics, ready to use right out of the bottle.
ARTNEWS RECOMMENDSGolden Fluid Acrylic Paint and SetsGolden’s fluid paints have a body similar to that of heavy cream—they’re thick but silky, so they flow easily and offer top-notch covering power. If you’re familiar with the brand’s heavy-body line, you’ll recognize that these have the same impressive pigment strength despite the huge difference in viscosity. Pigments are finely dispersed and unaffected by extenders or fillers, so just a few drops of paint really go a long way. Paint flows uninterrupted from the brush without streaking. These are easy to mix without muddying, dry true to form with a slightly glossy finish, and come in 82 colors in a range of volumes from 1 to 16 ounces.
Golden Fluid Acrylic Paint and Sets
WE ALSO LIKEHolbein Acrylic FluidThis free-flowing paint is slightly thinner than Golden’s, which makes it ideal for artists who want their acrylics to perform similarly to watercolors. Despite the low viscosity of Holbein’s formula, these acrylics showcase high saturation. Brushes glide across the painting surface, leaving pigment-rich strokes in their wake—even when loaded with colors that are on the transparent side. These paints are virtually as good as Golden’s, but we’re ranking them just a notch lower because there are fewer colors—just 60—and with the exception of titanium white and lamp black, colors are available only in 35-milliliter (1.2-ounce) bottles.
Holbein Acrylic Fluid
ANOTHER GOOD CHOICELascaux Studio AcrylicsAs the brand name (referencing those famed caves of prehistoric art in France) suggests, these paints are especially well suited for artists working big, whether on a large canvas or on a wall. Like other professional-grade acrylics, they are loaded with pigment and offer amazing coverage. But Lascaux’s acrylics dry to a matte finish that is especially level, meaning that it’s easier to achieve smooth, uniform finishes across large surfaces. They are also formulated to prevent color shift, so whether you’re using lighter or darker colors, you won’t encounter any surprises as the paint dries. This line is also great for high-volume users: The range of 54 colors is available in relatively large, 85-milliliter (2.9-ounce) bottles.
Lascaux Studio Acrylics
STUDENTS’ CHOICEVallejo Acrylic Artist Fluid ColorsIf you’re just getting familiar with fluid acrylics but want to jump into working with higher-end materials, Vallejo’s series is a great option. Sold in 100-milliliter bottles, these paints are very user-friendly, with an easy-flowing body—thinner than Golden’s—that mixes quickly with other mediums including glosses, gels, and even resins for paint pours. While the pigment load is not as strong as that of some of our other picks, the colors are still very vivid, remain true when dry, and resist cracking.
Vallejo Acrylic Artist Fluid Colors
ALSO CONSIDERUtrecht Artists’ Fluid AcrylicsFor a slightly less expensive option than Golden and Holbein that still impresses, consider Utrecht’s acrylics. They are smooth-flowing, pour or brush on easily, and present brilliant, vibrant color that dries to a super-matte finish. You’re compromising slightly on the pigment load, and colors don’t provide as pleasing a depth as more expensive colors. Still, these flow consistently from the brush, self-level appropriately, and don’t capture unwanted brushstrokes.
Utrecht Artists Fluid Acrylics