The Beauty Of Choosing The Best Medium For Your Portraits

A portrait of a girl that displays different mediums of painting styles shown in the image. The image also includes texts to show the different painting mediums for portraits

Trying to choose the best medium for your portraits?

It can be taxing, I will give you that. But welcome and thank me later.

You see a portrait’s beauty lies solely in its ability to do justice to its subject.

This only happens when the said subject has been completely and truly captured on that piece of canvas. 

For an artist to capture his muse in its true form—now that’s art.

When you choose a medium for your painting, know that every medium has a meaning

—and just so that you know all the mediums in art hold equal privilege amongst each other.

This article is not just about understanding which is the best medium for your portraits but also about knowing why.

It will help you choose the best art medium apt for your portrait painting.

Let’s get down to business.

Photo To Oil Portrait Painting

An image by PortraitFlip showing their photo to oil painting product to display oil as one of the best mediums for portraits.

Nothing compares to the sumptuous beauty of original paintings placed around your home. 

Oil is one of the best mediums for portrait painting if you want your portrait to act as an heirloom.

They last for hundreds of years; prime examples are the famous paintings today.

Portraiture in art has a rich history just like the history of mediums like oil.

Oil paintings are timeless, and with proper varnishing and care, they may last for hundreds of years while still retaining their beauty and fine detail.

Oil paint medium allows artists to capture fine detail that would be difficult to achieve with other mediums.

The precision, detail, and regality of oil medium are well-suited when the subject and context of a portrait are formal.

It is the best art medium for family portraits or solo portraits of humans or animals.

Of course, this does not imply that oil paintings must be rigid or stuffy.

Oil is an excellent medium for delving into complex emotions and subjects.

One of the many reasons it’s been a favorite of portrait artists for generations and a bestseller at PortraitFlip is due to its adaptability.

Pros: You don’t necessarily need to frame an oil painting to hang it on the wall. Although it does give a regal look when hung with a frame.

Cons: Even though an oil painting is versatile it should be best kept away from direct sunlight or places with high humidity. 

Best Places To Hang An Oil Painting:

  1. Over the mantle
  2. Above the headboard
  3. Cover an empty wall

2. Photo To Acrylic Portrait Painting

An image by PortraitFlip showing their photo to acrylic painting product to display acrylic as one of the best mediums for portraits.

Acrylic paints are the younger medium in art.

The best thing about acrylic painting is that it gives the visuals of oil painting but is moderately low maintenance.

Honestly, there is no difference between oil and acrylic portraits.

Other than the fact that they dry quickly and have a richer color palette.

Even today an oil painting is deemed timeless, but acrylic painting is evenly likely to last as long as it is preserved correctly.

But unlike oil paints, they don’t break or discolor when handled properly. 

Acrylic paints allow the artists to work in detail whilst giving the portraits a more realistic look.

Even though it lacks regality, acrylic portraits are a blessing to the eyesight. 

They match the color pigment of their subject to the T.

This is why this medium is best suited for landscape, vehicle, house, or a merged portrait of your pets.

A candid photo turned into one of the best mediums for your portraits—Acrylic is an excellent medium to reveal a person’s inner self.

Pros: It is much less toxic than oil painting and is safer for pets and kids.

Cons: Acrylic paintings collect dust on their surface more often than any other medium. Clean the surface with a clean towel or a feather duster frequently.

Best Places To Hang An Acrylic Painting:

  1. Baby Nurseries
  2. Living Room Wall 
  3. Dining Room Wall

3. Photo To Watercolor Portrait Painting

An image by PortraitFlip showing their photo to watercolor painting product to display watercolor as one of the best mediums for portraits.

Watercolor is the fondest medium in the art world because it has its own life and flow. 

Its subtlety in its pigments is simply mesmerizing. 

To generate diffused images of life in full bloom, watercolor artists use pigments bound in water-soluble compounds. 

Because of the water-soluble pigments in the paint, watercolor has a beautifully reflected transparency. 

It is a sequence of translucent washes that produce layers that give every painting a particular radiance that is difficult to replicate with other materials.

Today, people who value the medium’s immediacy and the mastery of technique it necessitates demand watercolor portraits more frequently. 

Watercolor portraits don’t have dense layers of textured paint.

They have a lighter appearance and feel than an oil painting, but the medium isn’t limited to airy, brilliant applications. 

The medium can be utilized to explore its subjects’ emotions that can only be characterized as magical in the hands of a master watercolorist a.ka, PortraitFlip’s watercolor artists. 

This medium is best for portraits of landscapes, human portraits, or solo animal portraits.

The beauty of watercolor portraiture is that the artists bring a distinct vision to reality, with the medium’s support.

Pros: Once the watercolor painting is sealed and preserved to be hung, it can last for years without losing its vibrance.

Best Places To Hang A Watercolor Painting:

  1. Foyer
  2. Bathroom Wall (After Sealing It)
  3. To Fill Spaces On a Gallery Wall

4. Photo To Pastel Portrait Painting

An image by PortraitFlip showing their photo to pastel painting product to display pastel as one of the best mediums for portraits.

Any artwork done with pastels is simply just a drawing even though it is referred to as a pastel painting.

It’s a basic and efficient medium that is made of pure powdered pigments bound together with a binder and rolled into a stick to create vibrant and lifelike portraits.

The portraits are beautiful and have a rich velvety finish all thanks to the pigment.

Pastels are easily blendable and can be blended right on paper.

Due to their exquisite blendability, combined with their luscious texture, finished artworks often emanate the same depth and richness as paintings.

Our artists capture the most ephemeral of moments in pastel portraits.

They produce a portrait that feels more transient and personal than an oil painting.

That is why this is one of the best mediums for portraits of your child’s candid moments caught in photos. 

Pros:  Pastels never crack, yellow, or darken over time. When properly framed and securely hung, the particles will stay fixed in place for centuries.

Cons: Once a pastel portrait is completed, its particles will never stay in place until it is sprayed with a fixative and framed.

Best Places To Hang A Pastel Painting:

  1. Room Connector Walls
  2. Spare Kitchen Walls
  3. Complementing Paintings with Pencil Drawings

5. Photo To Charcoal Portrait Drawing

An image by PortraitFlip showing their photo to charcoal drawing product to display charcoal as one of the best mediums for portraits.

Charcoal creates portraits in grayscale only. 

It was used by the masters to sketch quick sketches of their muses.

Today charcoal paintings are created in a very high black and white contrast that makes the artwork look elegant.

It looks royal and captures detailed features of the subject.

This is the best medium for solo portraits of humans and animals alike.

It gives the portrait an exquisitely classic taste while being affordable. 

As much as I would love to praise charcoal, it is nothing but a perfect quick-gift option for anyone and any occasion.

Just like watercolor, charcoal portraits need masters to come into proper fruition.

Pros:  Portraits in charcoal medium look exquisite, they can hang anywhere all alone and yet radiate exuberance.

Cons: Charcoal needs a fixative before anything else. It will smudge endlessly without it. It should then be framed to be further protected.

Best Places To Hang A Charcoal Painting:

  1. Charcoal deserves its own spotlight and should be placed in a very minimalistic environment or room.

6. Photo To Pencil Portrait Drawing

An image by PortraitFlip showing their photo to pencil drawing product to display pencil as one of the best mediums for portraits.

Pencil portraits at PortraitFlip are done with graphite or black color pencil tools depending on the characteristics of the subjects.

Pencil medium gives an artist the leeway to capture even the tiniest details of its subjects.

It even gives life to your sketch with the help of shading and depth.

We use the highest quality textured paper that provides value and textures to pencil portraits.

A sketch made in pencil medium is less contrastive than charcoal.

However to cover the dark patches in the portraits we use high-quality pigmented pencil.

Pencil portraits give a smooth, even feeling, and produce life-like sketches.

The pencil portraits are an excellent choice for gifts.

This is one of the best mediums for solo portraits of humans and animals.

Pros: Looks elegant and beautiful hanging on its own even on an empty wall.

Cons: Pencil portraits are never completely black. Should be preserved and framed immediately.

Best Places To Hang A Pencil Painting:

  1. Pencil portraits look mesmerizing even when hung alone on any wall. 
  2. They look exquisite on a bedside table
  3. Foyer

7. Photo To Colored Pencil Portrait Drawing

An image by PortraitFlip showing their photo to colored pencil drawing product to display color pencil as one of the best mediums for portraits.

Color pencil portraits are built in layers just like oil, acrylics, and water mediums.

They never fail to look appealing and give your portrait a hyper-realistic look.

This medium is taxing and takes days for the artist to complete a single portrait painting.

Their color palette is extremely vibrant and huey hence the portraits in color pencil medium come out very real looking.

Portraits in color pencil medium need to be kept well framed but their colors may vary due to atmospheric conditions.

They are the best mediums for compilation portraits of humans or animals or even landscapes.

Cons: Pencil portraits lose color in longevity and hence need to be well preserved before being framed.

Best Places To Hang A Color Pencil Painting:

  1. A large portrait will fill a bare wall 
  2. Bare bathroom shelf
  3. A wall in your baby’s room 

Knowing all the best mediums for portraits—which are the ones that we offer, I hope that now your doubts have been cleared.

Commissioning a painting is a big and bold step for anyone.

And I just made it one step easy for you by eradicating the doubt of “which would be the best medium for my portrait?”

PortraitFlip is one of the best online painting services in the entire world with a 4.7-star Trustpilot rating.

The mediums that we offer are the best price in the industry with no compromise in quality.

Commissioning an artwork with us not only allows you to be involved in the artistic process but also gives you a sense of achievement as well.

This involvement instills authenticity, personal meaning, and intimacy in your artwork.

Blending your thoughts and our artists’ creative imaginative handiwork, the outcome will be one of a kind painting.

After all, the most beautiful thing about art—is the art itself.

That’s all she said…

Salut lovelies,

Helping you out to select the best medium for your portraits has been an absolute honor.

This was a short and sweet guide for you to understand which medium would suit your photo to painting the best. 

Hit the share button if the article was helpful. 

Don’t forget to subscribe to our YouTube and follow us on Instagram.

Au Revoir!

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the best medium for portraits?

Oil medium stands true to time and produces the best realistic looking portraits of all times. Although the medium of your portrait should match its future placement in the home too. There are many aspects to be considered when getting a portrait done, to know more read the above article.

Is oil the best medium to get a solo portrait?

A solo portrait is meant to have focus only on the solo element of the painting. Eg: If you get a solo portrait of a dog, the painting should look so realistic in nature that it would look 3D. The best medium to get a solo portrait is Oil and Acrylic.

Is pastel the best medium for portrait?

Pastel medium is best suited for portrait painting that has various characters.

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