Oil Based Paint vs Acrylic on Ventriloquist Figures

There is always talk about which is better paint to use when finishing a ventriloquist figure. Most will tell you that the use of oils is the professional way because it has a much richer tone and blend. Of course all the golden era makers used oil paint because that was all that was available.

To use oil based paints you must remember that they take time to dry. One of the secrets I found out about from Ray Guyll, is that you can quickly advance drying time by the use of cobalt dryer.

Now I have figures in the Ventriloquist Central Collection that are painted in acrylic paint and to my eye I can see no tremendous difference in the depth of color. I myself think that is not the case any longer.

The acrylic paints have been refined and the colors are deep and rich. There were no comments about this by any of the visitors to the Birthday Bash and that was one thing I was hoping may be asked.

You should use what ever you find best for you. Today we do have choices.



Dan Willinger is a ventriloquism enthusiast and ventriloquist figure collector. He has been collecting for over 25 years. He created the Ventriloquist Central Collection. It now has over 100 ventriloquist figures and over 50 of them are Frank Marshall figures. Because of his love for the art of ventriloquism, Mr. Willinger created the website Ventriloquist Central. For more information about the website, go to: http://www.ventriloquistcentral.com

Copyright 2011 by Dan Willinger

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2 Responses to Oil Based Paint vs Acrylic on Ventriloquist Figures

  1. I started painting on canvas with oils when I was twelve. When I was 18, I had to switch to acrylics, for school. It was a hard transition for me, because of how dry they felt comparatively to oils. Once I “got” how they reacted, I fell in love.

    Now that I make puppets in a variety of materials (paper mache, wood, plastics, fabrics), the only paint that works on everything and saves me time is acrylic. I can even make it look like an antique oil paint job, either glossy or matte, depending on what I add to it, and how I antique it. My personal preference is to mix my own, from dry pigments (for my most used colors) and tubes, added to a gloss medium. To make the paint matte, I add a bit of talcum powder (preferably the kind without perfume added). To antique the dry paint job, I make a dark liquid paint of raw umber with a bit of burnt umber, brush it all over the object, and quickly rub it off with a clean rag, dabbing and trying to be logical where the dirt may gather. then I go back with a moist rag to highlight by rubbing of some more paint. If the moist rag is not enough, I use alcohol on the rag, but then I rub less, because the alcohol does dissolve the acrylic. Most of my work is painted that way, as you can see in my portfolio. My first vent figure (should be finished during next year) will be painted that way too, although it won’t be too antique-looking.

  2. leedean says:

    I use shellac base Zinsser BIN, with drying time half minute.

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