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Which Medium is Best for You?

Many artists feel more comfortable working with a specific medium than others. They enjoy that medium more during the creative process and they feel like that medium completes them the best. But if you are just at the beginning of your journey and don't know which medium is right for you, then maybe this article might help you determine that. I just want to mention that these are solely my own opinions based on my experiences. Also don't forget that it takes practice to warm up to the new medium and maybe you will like the new medium you learned the most! So, let's see which medium is best for you.


Any artist starts their journey with a simple pencil and paper. Drawing with graphite or charcoal is simply beautiful. It is more risk free as you can always erase and draw again. The challenge is turning something colorful into black and white. Learning the highlights, mid-tones and shadows might be tough for some people. If you want to learn about this techniques more, I'm putting the link for my drawing tutorial playlist here and also if you are interested in my real time tutorials where I walk you through the process, click here for my Patreon link.

Pencil is also a cheap medium which makes it more accessible. I find drawing very relaxing. Besides, even with a simple sketch, you can create a very meaningful piece in seconds.

With charcoal though, you have to consider the fact that your working space might get messy as they smudge easily. They are like pastels of the black and white world. Make sure that you have wet towels near you so that you can wipe your hands often.

So we can summarize it like this for drawing:

(Price value = Budget friendliness)


As you probably noticed, people love creating realistic portraits with colored pencils. Colored pencil creates wonders once the colors are used and blended wisely and the paper is welcoming to the pencils. They especially work on smooth paper the best. So, since you cannot get great results on ANY paper, their convenience score is lower than charcoal drawing. Also, you will need to learn colors and blending them. There are many colored pencil blending methods out there and you will need to check them out to see what works best for you. It takes longer time to learn how to use colored pencils if you want to check out my YouTube tutorial for "How to draw skin and hair with colored pencils" just click on the link or the photo below. Because it takes time to learn how to work with your colors it will take time so you need to be patient. They are not as forgiving as charcoal or graphite when it comes to mistakes. But the result is usually STUNNING, increasing their awe factor. Definitely it takes a lot of time and effort to draw with colored pencils. Once you learn your pencils and how to work with them, you will create gorgeous artwork!

So we can summarize it like this for colored pencil drawing:


As you know, watercolor is known for its relaxing, therapeutic effect. I don't know if it is because of the involvement of water or the feeling of gliding brush on the paper, I think it is true that it calms the artist down. It is also way more forgiving than the other painting mediums such as oil or acrylic paint.

But, you also need to consider the free spirit of watercolor. It moves the way it likes. You don't have control over them as much as you do with pencils. They also yield quick results which is one of the reasons why it is so popular. the only problem would be the fact that you will need to move quick as you would like to work on wet paint before it dries. I think that is the only part I find stressful while doing watercolor. There are really cheap watercolor materials out there which make them quite accessible.

I also have "25 Watercolor Tips for Beginners" tutorial available for you if you want to check it out just click on the link or the picture below.

So we can summarize it like this for watercolor:


With their velvety texture, definitely pastels create amazing paintings. With pastel pencils, which are compressed form of oil pastels, now artists have even more control in their creative work. However, as you know, the pastel smudges a lot and while drawing it requires extra attention and effort. Also, it requires planning of colors, especially the shadows as you cannot go back and lighten up a dark color easily. They are easy to blend and relatively easy to erase. They definitely create beautiful artwork and they don't take up too much space so we can say that they are convenient. Although they give the best results on pastel mats, they are technically can be applied to any paper.

Even though drawing with them doesn't take as long as it takes for colored pencil drawings, definitely it takes longer than watercolor painting.

Keep in mind that just like charcoal, pastel might create a huge mess as well. Make sure you work extra clean while working with pastels.

So we can summarize it like this for pastels:


Although I talk about them together here, they are quite different mediums despite their similarities. Acrylic dries too quickly whereas it takes too long for oil paint to dry. Oil paint requires a lot of other equipment such as chemicals to clean the brushes, easel, palette, etc. It is high maintenance. Besides, it also requires a larger space where you will need to make sure you don't spill any paint. If you have a smaller working space, maybe you should consider acrylic instead. Oil painting yields smoother results whereas acrylic painting will show edges. And finally, acrylic is light fast so the colors won't change for a long time. But the oil paint will change its color once it dries and it might have a yellowish tone to it due to the oil. If you don't like surprises and you want to work quick, maybe you should choose acrylic instead of oil paint. You cannot work with oil paint on any surface you want but with acrylic actually you can.

So we can summarize it like this for Acrylic and Oil paints:

I hope this clarified some of the questions you had. But of course the best way to figure out what is best for you is basically to experience it yourself! No matter what the medium is, the joy of creative process itself is priceless :)

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Stay with art and love!



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