How to Choose the Perfect White for Your Acrylic Painting

Are you wondering if white is just not white?

If you’re new to painting, you might wonder why there are so many different white paint colours to choose from. Does it matter what shade of white you use unless your subject is a pair of Siberian dogs in a snowy environment, like in this painting by Expressionist Franz Marc?

The pigments that generate white paint hues have varied qualities that determine how your painting will look, notably how effective paint mixes can be created. It will also affect the long-term stability of your painting, which is critical for oil and acrylic painting, where whites are likely to make up a large portion of the paint on your canvas.

What exactly is white paint?

Although various white paint hues are available to painters, the range of white paints comprises only three primary pigments, LEAD CARBONATE, ZINC OXIDE, and TITANIUM DIOXIDE.

Lead carbonate was the pigment used to make white paint for millennia. Due to its awful toxicity, which caused lead poisoning in many prominent painters, it is now almost obsolete in paint. Under EU legislation, lead is now prohibited in domestic paints, and while artist’s paint is exempt, lead-based paint can only be sold in childproof tins rather than tubes. It must be kept behind a counter or in a locked display and cannot be placed on open shelves.

Nowadays, practically all white paints for painters are made with titanium, zinc, or a combination of the two.

Remember that the marketing label of a paint tube only sometimes accurately depicts the pigments contained therein. You must refer to the ‘pigment index codes’ on the rear.

Before we get into the various varieties of white acrylic paint, here’s a rundown of some of the features that may influence your colour selection:

Various shades of the same colour

The colour of white paint varies slightly depending on whether it is made of titanium or zinc. White paint created with titanium has a somewhat blueish hue, whereas zinc seems more golden and warm.

However, the specific colour of white paint is determined less by the original colour of the milled pigment and more by the ‘binder’ with which the pigment is blended. As a result, two tubes of white paint manufactured by different companies but containing the same pigment can have different colours.

The degree of opacity

The degree of opacity is crucial because it determines a colour’s tinting power. This term refers to how the paint behaves when mixed with another colour. Due to its opacity, titanium can overpower any colour mixed with it, and a small amount will produce a chalky and pastel shade.

Types of Acrylic White Paints to Choose

The most diverse range of whites may usually be found in an art store among the paints. Watercolour paints have the most limited palette, with just ‘Chinese’ white (another name for zinc) and titanium white available. Titanium white is occasionally renamed ‘Opaque’ white in a watercolour palette. Acrylic colour ranges may include two to four alternatives, such as titanium, zinc, ‘Mixing White’ (a titanium and zinc blend), and an Irridescent White’ with a pearlescent look.

Titanium White

Titanium White paint is a bright, solid, and opaque white with outstanding coverage, making it ideal for significant areas. It is pretty stable, although as an oil paint, it can become spongy when dry and dries slowly. As a result, most oil paints branded “titanium” contain trace amounts of zinc (about 2% to 10%) to improve texture and speed drying time. Titanium dries quickly in acrylic form. Therefore, Titanium White acrylic colour will not include any zinc.

Because titanium is so opaque, it reacts swiftly in a combination, immediately changing the colour to a pastel tint. As a result, a ‘Mixing White,’ a titanium and zinc mixture, will be better for tinting and speeding up drying time.

Mixing White / Soft Mixing White

This paint is available in both oil and acrylic colour varieties. It is composed of titanium and zinc, and its medium is fast-drying safflower oil. Because of the presence of zinc, Mixing White has a lower tinting power than pure titanium, making it suitable for mixing with other colours without overpowering them. The zinc content helps in the drying process.

Iridescent White,

This is a relatively new form of paint that comes in acrylic and occasionally oil variations. Iridescent White is a semi-opaque pearlescent white hue derived from titanium dioxide-coated mica. It blends well with opaque colours and is especially suited for top glazes.

Warm White

This is a tinted white available from several brands. It’s typically a titanium/zinc blend with some yellow or orange pigment added for a warmer tone.

Cool White

As previously stated, this is a tinted shade with a titanium/zinc base and added blue pigment to give a soothing tone.

Radiant White

This colour is a clever marketing ploy! Gamblin created it for their oil paint line, and it’s titanium combined in a safflower binder, the clearest and least fading oil medium.

Conclusive Thoughts

Choosing the right white acrylic colour is essential to give the perfect clean colour to your drawing. You can get the perfect white colour delivered to your home with Canvazo and make your masterpiece look more realistic and perfect.

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