Recently, the art company Arteza approached me, asking for my honest review on their 24-set premium acrylic paints. Curious and stoked to try a new brand of paints besides my beloved Liquitex, I accepted – firstly because this is the first time ANY company has sent me free items like this…
And TWO, there were so many pretty delicious colors to play with. How can I not get pumped?
Once the set arrived to my door, I immediately sat down to film and put these paints to the test.
You can watch my full review and unboxing of these premium acrylic paints in the video below or continue reading to see my criteria breakdown (including lightfastness and opacity tests!) below.
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Criteria 1: Organization + Color Selection
The first thing I did was admire the heck out of this box. Like holy hell, the design is sleek and sexy, and when I opened the box, I was shook to see all the paints neatly organized into 4 individual plastic racks. Hot damn.
Each paint tube has a screw top – big big thumbs up on my end, and the paint tops didn’t have that sealed top that is usually seen with most paint brands. I could easily just pop open the top, easily squeeze my paint out like butter, and get brushin. In addition each of these 24 tubes are 22 ml in size, which is comparable to other brands like Liquitex.
I had a lot of good feels here, so I will give their organization and paint aesthetic a 5 out of 5.
Criteria 2: Paint Tube Labels + Light Fastness
Then, I moved onto the labels used on the paint tubes themselves, the most important in my mind being the permanence rating.
In case you’re not sure what that means, permanence or light fastness is the resistance of pigmented material to fading or color changing when exposed to light. Basically, will your painting change colors over a short period of time or not.
And according to the American Standard Test Measure (ASTM for short), paints will usually have a scale of light fastness ranging from a lightfastness rating of 1 meaning a color will last you over 100s of years to a lightfastness rating of 3 which indicates colors will last 15-50 years.
And that’s when my enthusiasm came to a loud screeching halt.
I noticed three plus signs on most of the paint tubes….and after talking with Arteza to verify their light fastness rating standards, they do in fact follow the ASTM standard for permanence. Which means, most of the colors in this set can only last about 15-50 years.
I was pretty surprised about this…especially since other student paint brands I have used in the past like Liquitex always had a lightfastness of I, and were comparatively the same price as these Arteza paints.
Plus, if Arteza is labeling their paint as “premium” and claiming their paints can last hundreds of years, they better follow through with their promise on that. But unfortunately, their labels say otherwise. That’s why is it so important to understand and read your paint labels.
So when it comes to light permanence, especially compared to other similar priced paint brands out there, I give these paints a 1 out of 5.
Criteria 3: Color and Opacity Test
I decided to keep going with the review and do an opacity and color swatch test – placing a small rectangle of color over a black line and see how the paint dries over time.
I then compared each paint tube to their respective swatch, noting whether they remained true to their label. And sure enough, most of paints reflected their opacity label. Which is good.
I give that a 5 out of 5.
However, when it came to comparing the actual color swatch on the tube to the swatch on the paper, I saw some varied results.
The first thing I noticed was that all the colors dried a darker shade to what was indicated on the paint tube. Which is kinda normal in the grand scheme of paint. But going deeper into that, a handful of colors looked pretty different compared to their tube swatch. I noticed the majority of the disparity with the blue pigments and a couple in the yellows and reds.
I can see this being a slight issue, especially if I am trying to achieve a certain color for my work. But, I always recommend doing color swatching on paper when getting any paint so you can understand how your paint color looks when dried on paper. It’s good practice that will only benefit you later.
With that being said, I didn’t really experience this kind of disparity with my Liquitex brand paints (professional or student versions).
sooooo…what gives Arteza???
I give their color swatches a 3 out of 5.
Criteria 4: Spreadability, Blending, & Drying Time
Then I decided to go to town and paint a sketch to test for spreadability, blending and drying time.
One thing I did in fact enjoy about these paints were the intense pigments used as well as the feel of the paint itself. It’s not watery like student grade paint but it’s not completely solid like heavy body. It’s almost like runny toothpaste. It’s very easy to spread around and very easy to use with a palette knife for mixing.
And something that completely felt weird to me was the drying time.
These paints dried quickly, a lot more quick than what I have been used to, so this forced me to work fast on my palette when it came to mixing colors.
If you decide to go with these paints and can’t work that fast, you might want to invest in a gel retarder or water spray to add to the paint to increase the drying time.
Let me tell you, I thought I messed up a section I just finished painting, only to see it was almost completely dried. That was cray cray.
I want to also add that the multimedia paper was being a super trooper throughout the painting process. It was thick and held it’s own as I senselessly beat it to death with my brushes. Great work, paper!
So in terms of painting experience I would give these paints a 4 out of 5. I enjoyed playing with the colors and getting those nice saturated tones.
Criteria 5: Acrylic Mixed Media Pad Quality
If there was one good thing that came from this experience, it was the mixed media pad.
Holy smokes. The paper is gorgeous and thick. I totally felt the quality used in the paper. The pads themselves are acid-free, which means they will not yellow over time, thus protecting your precious creations.
Each page is perforated and can easily be flipped due to the simply, yet effective wire-frame spiral binding.
Not only that, this paper took a BEATING from my brush as I was painting and laying all my acrylic colors on it. After multiple layers of paint, the paper stayed the course – it barely buckled from the moisture and did not tear. Needless to say, I was uber pleased.
I totally give these mixed media pads a 5 out of 5!
Final Thoughts…Are These Paints Worth it?
There was a lot floating around in my head as I did my test. Some disappointments and some surprises. So let’s recap what I discovered in my acrylic testing.
The Good Qualities of Arteza Paint & Mixed Media Pad
- Paint pigments are deep and highly pigmented
- Amount of Color availability is great
- Organization kit is FANTASTIC.
- Paint sizes are decent (22mL) especially compared to other paint brands available.
- Most of the paint tubes followed their specified Opacity rating
- Easy to handle, squeeze, and mix with a palette knife
- The Mixed Media paper is awesome! It is acid-free, feels super thick between my fingers, and is easy to flip due to the wired spiral binding.
The Not-so-Great Qualities of Arteza Paint
- The color swatches all dried a darker shade, with a handful of colors drying almost completely different than what their swatches indicated.
- Fast drying time (can be an issue with blending)
- Lots of colors to choose from – can be a bit overwhelming for someone just starting out.
- Light permanence is a big issue here. Arteza acrylics follow the ASTM standard – most of their paints are ASTM III, meaning the colors will last about 15-50 years.
Who are these Paints are good for?
-If you are any of the following, Arteza acrylic paints are the best choice for you:
- A beginner who doesn’t want to worry about wasting money with paint while practicing
- Wants to get a whole variety of paints for a beginner price
- Want to use paints for Journaling, practice, or underpainting
Who these Paints Are NOT good for?
If you are a seasoned artist, that wants to sell their work, don’t use these paints.
Investing in good paints is really key for your career as an artist, and you want your work to last you hundreds of years, not a few decades.
Plus, for a few extra dollars, you can get good quality professional paints from brands like Liquitex.
You won’t get all the extra colors like Arteza offers, but realistically, you don’t really need all those colors anyway.
So, there we have it. That is my honest-to-God review of Arteza acrylic paints and their mixed media pad. It was certainly a grand experience, and I will definitely consider them for other art supplies like paper items.
What are you thoughts about my review? Have you tried these paints before? Comment below and let me know!
Until we art again!
Amanda is a self-taught artist and founder of The Buzzed Artist, dedicated to teaching adult beginners how to art with confidence using acrylic paint and love themselves in the creation process. If you want to get started right with acrylic painting, be sure to enroll in her FREE mini-course The Acrylic Artist’s Toolkit.