If you are getting started with painting there are 12 things you want to know about acrylic paint:
It washes up with water - no smelly, toxic solvents required as may be the case with something like oil
It is very forgiving - you can paint over anything you want to change or adjust very quickly. Acrylic paint has excellent opaque coverage so even if you have a deep purple area you can paint over it with a pale colour or even white and it will be completely covered - this is not the case with watercolour!
Your finished painting is completely dry straight away - unlike oil paintings where some museum curators will not consider the painting totally dry until it is 50 years old
You can paint on almost anything - acrylic paint is made of pigment suspended in water and mixed with an acrylic binder. Yes, that is basically plastic! Paint on paper, canvas or wood like my little whale
Acrylic paint comes in marker form - hurrah! There are several brands available now such as Posca, Molotow and Montana. Some of these markers are even refillable. They come in different nib sizes and shapes, even brush tips. I used acrylic markers for the whale and the doodles in the picture in this post as well as all my paintings in the animal panel series.
You can make it translucent for glazing - You can mix it with a matte or gel medium which is really just pigment free paint. This will make it more translucent and enable you to make glazes over the top of your existing work
You can add texture and/or increase the drying time. While fast drying time is often described as an advantage, you may want to work wet in wet and blend the paint like an oil painter. You can still do this with acrylic paint by adding the right medium to it. Many different acrylic mediums are available eg, texture paste, flow medium
Acrylic paint plays so nicely with other art supplies. If you choose a particularly matte acrylic paint you can use your coloured pencils over the top. Try it out with watercolours too.
It is still relatively 'new' as art media goes. This means we don't really know how it is going to stand the test of time
It was first created in the lab in 1901 by Dr Otto Rohm
in the 1950s acrylic paint was commercially produced as interior house paint