"Putting off an easy thing makes it hard, and putting off a hard one makes it impossible." George Lorimer

Composition of Paint
©1998 Nita Leland

For quick reference, here's a simple chart, describing most of the major art media, that might help you determine which can be combined in mixed media artwork. Generally speaking, all water media can be combined in various ways. All oil-based media are also generally compatible. Oils can be applied on top of water-based washes, but you cannot apply acrylics on top of oils or any waxy surface. This chart is from Exploring Color Revised.

See also my paint FAQ.

acrylic acrylic polymer emulsion water/denatured
alcohol (limited use)
fast drying (dries darker); opaque or transparent
alkyd oil modified alkyd resin oil medium/pure gum turpentine, mineral spirits similar to oils, but fast drying; compatible with oils; opaque
casein milk solids water fast drying; opaque; matte
colored pencil wax, gum mineral spirits, colorless marker applied in layers; waxy; buff for shine
gouache natural gum water fast drying; opaque, matte
gouache (acrylic) acrylic water same as gouache; dries water resistant
ink (pigmented) gum, shellac or acrylic emulsion water/denatured alcohol fast drying; transparent, brilliant color; use lightfast only
oil or oil sticks natural oils (linseed, poppy, safflower) oil medium/ pure gum turpentine, mineral spirits slow drying; opaque
oils (water miscible) modified linseed oil pure gum turpentine, mineral spirits/ water for cleanup slow drying; loses water miscibility if too much oil is used
pastel weak gum solution only for water soluble soft pastel brilliant pure color; opaque; soft or hard
pastel (oil) natural oils and wax pure gum turpentine, mineral spirits opaque pastel effect with no dust
tempera egg yolk water fast drying; opaque; translucent layers
watercolor natural gum water fast drying (dries lighter); transparent; matte
watercolor pencils or sticks water soluble gum water mostly transparent; wettable for wash effects

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