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Common Interactive Questions

Here are some answers to common questions about Interactive, if you have any other questions please add a comment below.

Are they flexible, permanent and waterproof just as any other acrylic paints?

Yes, Interactive is a professional artists' acrylic. They are lightfast and archival and can be combined with other acrylics. However, the more that you actually mix Interactive with other brands on your palette or canvas, the more they will act like conventional acrylics. Since the paint is designed to open up with water and has a longer curing time, I would not use them for an outdoor mural.

Can I use them as an underpainting or background under an oil painting?

Yes, you can.

I would really like to try the new paints, but can you tell me if I MUST use the slow-dryer medium to extend the work time, or is just using a water mist enough to slow it down?

When you work with Interactive, you'll find that it goes from being wet and slick, to tacky/sticky, to touch dry. It's at this tacky stage you'll feel your brush start to drag. That's the paint signaling you to add more moisture from the water sprayer or a wet brush, if you want to continue working wet-in-wet. I've found that in my studio in PA I can use water to keep my paint workable and reopen layers for about 3 -4 hours. How long water will reopen paint layers will depend on your environmental conditions, your surface, how thickly you paint and what mediums you've added. Adding Slow Medium to Interactive will make the paint accept moisture longer, thus providing artists with the ability to rehydrate using just water longer. After the first few hours, you'll need the Unlocking Formula if you want to reopen the layers.

And do I really need to use a medium to make it dry fast? Doesn't acrylic paint dry fast by itself, without the additional speed-drying medium?

All acrylics dry fast but Interactive dries differently. Since it doesn't form that immediate skin when it dries and takes 5-7 days to cure, you can reopen paint layers with water or even wet paint for the first few hours. So if you definitely do NOT want your paint to intermix, than adding the Fast Medium will make Interactive act more like a conventional acrylic and you will not be able to reopen the layer with water when its dry. It's good to add when you want to work quickly. I think that Interactive stays workable a bit longer than regular acrylics and has a longer open time. Sometimes I'll use a hair dryer to set my paint faster if I want to overpaint.

I'm taking my lessons from a DVD and need to know if the color names would be the same as those used by other traditional acrylics?

I'm not familiar with this DVD so I don't know how the DVD refers to colors or paints. Paint names may be the same (like Cobalt Blue, Cadmium Red Medium) or they may be different (Permanent Rose, Naples Yellow). What gives paint its color is the pigment. For example, a Cad Red Medium will be using PR 108. You should compare pigments in the paints, which should be listed on the tubes as well as in a color chart.

Do they dry with a matte finish or a sheen?

Straight form the tube Interactive dries with more of a satin finish, not bright and shiny like old-style acrylics. When you add more water or medium, that will affect the sheen. Sheens are best controlled when you varnish your paintings at the end. Varnishing a finished painting will help you address the sheen for aesthetic purposes as well as protect the painting. We make water based varnishes that don't contain solvents which may not affect your allergies.

Are they a fine artist grade product, with all the pigment properties to make them archival? I don't want to use any student-grade products at this point in my life. I don't have time to re-learn anything.

These are archival, light fast and professional. You'll find that they have nice buttery consistency with fantastic pigment load.

Additional FAQ's can be found on the Atelier Interactive FAQ page .

There are (18) Comments, Comments are now closed for this discussion?
  1. comment_1_4342

    tpursch commented on January 17, 2008, at 2:14 pm.

    Hi Jennifer,

    I generally use rubbing alcohol as a resist technique with traditional acrylic paints. However, I have notice that this does not work well with the interactive paints. Do you have any suggestion for resist techniques for these new paints?

    T. Pursch

  2. comment_2_4342

    Jim Cobb commented on January 18, 2008, at 11:26 am.

    Rubbing alcohol will tend to dissolve Atelier Interactive and is a component of Unlocking Formula. I don't quite follow how it could work as a resist anyway. You could try the rubber solution used by watercolourists. Some waxy crayons offer resist effects but the paint has to be thin. Oilstick should also work with watery paint.

    Director & Paintmaker

  3. comment_3_4342

    Jim Cobb commented on January 18, 2008, at 11:37 am.

    This question recently came in through the suggest a topic or ask a question form.

    I currently paint with acrylics (Interactive range) and am quite happy with the way I can handle the paint, however I do like the rich and somewhat luminous look of oils. I don't really want to change to oils, so I wonder if anyone has any hints or tips for improving the richness of acrylics other than varnishing.
    Has anyone experimented with mediums in this context?

    See below for my response.

    Impasto Gel and Binder will both give a more "luminous" look, which some people might call a "more plastic" look.

    Both Also promote fast drying, so you lose the long time frame of blendability.

    Mediums which add gloss also result in paintings with variable gloss unless used in everything.

    My advice is to use Chroma's Solvent acrylic varnishes, with a gloss or satin finish, which will make your paintings look like oils.

    Jim Cobb

  4. comment_4_4342

    Poppit commented on January 19, 2008, at 1:43 pm.

    Firstly I’d like to say I really enjoy using Interactive paints – thank you for a great product.

    I have a few queries re the use of your Fast Medium. I haven’t been able to find the answer to this question anywhere. I have viewed the videos, read the label and browsed your site but none of these seem to actually say how to apply the medium.

    I want to apply the Fast Medium, unpigmented, to fix a layer so I can paint over the top of it without disturbing the lower layer.

    How and when do I apply the Fast Medium? Can it be applied with a brush and if so at what stage is it save to do so (eg touch dry) and how long does it roughly take to get to this stage? What is the best way to apply it (eg spray, brush)?

    Kind regards

  5. comment_5_4342

    Jennifer commented on January 22, 2008, at 3:47 pm.

    Hi Poppit!

    You can apply the Fast Medium as a way to toughen up and fix a layer as soon as the bottom layer is touch dry. How long it takes for that bottom layer to dry will depend on how thickly you paint, what surface you're using and what your environmental conditions are (humid or dry). I sometimes use a hair dryer on the under-layer to get it to the touch dry stage quickly. I apply Fast Medium with a soft brush, not our Fine Mist Sprayer.

  6. comment_6_4342

    Jim Cobb commented on January 24, 2008, at 3:03 pm.


    I’ll try to describe the uses of Fast Medium Fixer.

    Most people use it mixed with the paint instead of water if they want to do layering techniques which dry quickly.

    Used this way it converts Atelier Interactive back into a tough fast drying conventional acrylic.

    However, if you use water or one of the Slow Mediums, you may find you prefer to do layering that slower way. The layers will be a bit “tender” and the process may be slower depending on humidity. I live in the wet tropics of North Queensland which slows drying a lot but I prefer not to use Fast Medium and if a new layer picks up colour from underneath, I put it aside for a while as one would do with an oil.

    The “Fixer” aspect of Fast Medium/Fixer is that it can be used over a “tender” layer of paint to firm it up quickly, again with the motive of speeding up a layering process. It can be brushed on easily and will soak into the paint layer, and I think brushing is easier than spraying unless you have good equipment. The effect of “fixing” is the same as adding the medium to the paint: it converts the paint back to a conventional acrylic and you lose the colour/tone matching ability that Interactive has.

    When I have used the word “tender” I’m trying to describe partly cured paint which is not bulletproof the way acrylic normally is, but can nevertheless be painted on carefully.

    This “tender” stage, which could worry some people who are accustomed to the sturdiness of acrylics, firms up with time as the paint cures and becomes as tough and flexible as one expects acrylics to be.

    Jim Cobb

  7. comment_7_4342

    Jim Cobb commented on February 13, 2008, at 10:32 am.

    The Following question came in via the "Suggest a topic or ask a question" form.

    When using Interactive and say you first lay down a wash. Do you always have to put down Binder on top if you want that layer to stay still, or can you glaze right over it after a certain amount of time?
    Also I picked up a bottle of clear painting medium the other day and got to thinking as to , why, if I want to glaze over something ,couldn't I do just as well thinning with water as you would watercolors rather than using medium?

  8. comment_8_4342

    Jennifer commented on February 13, 2008, at 10:34 am.

    I'm not 100% sure if what I'm saying about water vs mediums is correct but here you go!

    Using the Binder as an isolation coat will definitely seal the wash so it won't mix or lift when you glaze. You can also mix Fast Medium with that wash to help it set so you can glaze quickly. I'm not sure what surface you are using, but on some surfaces (like watercolor paper) I've been able to safely glaze after an hour or so without using Binder on top, but that doesn't always hold true in every situation!

    The primary reason one use painting mediums instead of water is because acrylic paints are not watercolor paints. Watercolor paint has gum arabic, while acrylics have a polymer emulsion for the binding agent in the paint. A painting medium also has a binding agent in it so that washes and glazes will be more stable.

    The Clear Painting Medium is used to dilute to a medium consistency and blend colours. This medium allows paint to spread over a surface or more blendable gradations of colour and glazing techniques and is useful for wet-over-dry techniques

    That being said, some artists still prefer to use water as their primary paint medium to reduce the viscosity of Interactive.


  9. comment_9_4342

    Jim Cobb commented on February 13, 2008, at 12:37 pm.

    The following question came in via the "Suggest a topic or ask a question" form.

    Can house paints be used to prepare surfaces to paint on?

    Here is my response.

    Chroma’s Gessos are made with a “tooth” which takes paint pleasingly, and the grade of acrylic we use is flexible, which can be important on canvas or other bendable surfaces.

    However there is no reason why you should not use a house paint if you want to, provided that you like the surface to work on, and that it is sufficiently flexible, which you can test for yourself by putting it out on a sheet of paper and bending it a couple of days later.

    For more information on Atelier Gessos and surface preparation go here:

    Jim Cobb

  10. comment_10_4342

    Jim Cobb commented on February 13, 2008, at 2:09 pm.

    We regularly get asked about what colours to use in a basic mixing palette.

    Here is list of the colours I recommend:

    Arylamide Yellow Light (cool)
    Arylamide Yellow Deep (warm)
    Napthol Red Light (warm)
    Crimson (cool) or Quinacridone Magenta (according to your tastes)
    Pthalo Blue (cool),
    Ultramarine Blue (warm)
    and Carbon Black (for chroma reduction) plus white.

    This equals eight colours. I would then go:
    Perinone Orange,
    Pthalo Green,
    Diox Purple to maximise high key secondaries.

    An extensive explanation of the Interactive colour range can be found on the Interactive website:


  11. comment_11_4342

    Jim Cobb commented on February 13, 2008, at 4:36 pm.

    Here is a new Information sheet I have written that outlines how to use Interactive for
    1. New slow, wet-in-wet techniques and
    2. Old fast wet-over-dry techniques.

  12. comment_12_4342

    Jim Cobb commented on February 20, 2008, at 9:43 am.

    The following question came in via the "Suggest a topic or ask a question" form.

    I am new to this Chroma Interactive paint and would like to place an order. Could you tell me where do I find out which paints are opaque and which transparent? I am really anxious to try this paint and the mediums. I will be painting several large murals and now am so excited about this paint does:)
    thank you.

    Here is my response.

    The longer working time made possible by using Interactive can obviously be very useful for mural painters, but I would caution any person intending to do an outdoor mural that it could be washed away in
    unfavourable weather!

    If you want to know what colours are transparent or opaque it is set out on the colour chart.

    Note the little circles on the colour chart signify how opaque the paint is, full circle is opaque half circle is semi-transparent and an empty circle is transparent.


  13. comment_13_4342

    Jim Cobb commented on February 26, 2008, at 3:53 pm.

    This question came in via the “suggest at topic/ask a question” box,

    My first answer and further correspondence follows.

    I have recently begun using the Chroma paints. I've tried a techniques suggested on your web site but am having some difficulty with it. I use the slow medium combined with some clear painting medium to work on a layer wet in wet - works great. However, once I get a layer so that I want to preserve it I let it cure for a 2 - 3 days, then apply a layer of binder medium to lock it in. I've only tried it twice. The first time the binder medium clumped up. I added water quickly and it seemed to smooth out. On the second one I added water to the binder before applying. It didn't clump, but did begin to lift the layer below it.


    It can be difficult to give a diagnosis when I can't see the patient, but I'll try. First of all, I am Emailing the latest download which attempts to review overall the ways of using Atelier Interactive.

    Climate has an effect and I don't know where you live. I live in the wet tropics area of north Queensland and we are in our wet season with humidity levels of 80% plus, which is the extreme of slowing down painting processes while this season lasts - till about the end of April.

    As you will notice in the notes, people who use vigorous overpainting techniques, eg sgraffito, add Binder to their paint to make it set and toughen up quickly. Artists who want to lay down many thin layers quickly use Fast Medium, which is much thinner, to make each layer set quickly.

    Both these methods convert Atelier Interactive Binder at a painty viscosity and Fast Medium at a fluid viscosity, back into a conventional fast drying "bullet proof" paint. If you use air conditioning or live in a dry climate you probably only need not to use a water spray and your paint will dry quickly anyway.

    To return to my own wet season conditions - I do not try to speed up my process, in fact I continue to use the Slow Mediums, but need the water spray very seldom, and I don't have any problems overpainting, say from one day to next (but I don't do vigorous sgraffito). I value highly what happens when I dampen my painting on day 2 and it returns to its wet values and I can overpaint without having problems of tone drift. If everything takes longer to dry than I would like it to, I work on another painting, as one would do when using oils.

    To return to your situation. I can remember suggesting the use of Fast Medium/Fixer to seal and layer quickly. If I have made the same suggestion for Binder, could you please point it out to me and I'll alter the text. I think what is happening is that the uncured paint is too absorbent to tolerate a layer of Binder, which has a high solid content and would kind of lump up as you brushed it on, whereas the Fixer is fluid enough to work.

    Another Question is: Would it have been better to add the medium into the paint if you wanted very fast drying?

    Final Question: Maybe you felt from the information that you needed to seal each layer before going on? As explained above, I just keep going.

  14. comment_14_4342

    Jim Cobb commented on February 26, 2008, at 4:10 pm.

    After my answer this response came in via email.

    More background on my situation. I live in a very humid part of the world - Houston Texas, right off the gulf of Mexico. It's humid here year around. I wanted to use the slower drying mediums for the ability to mix wet in wet and I worked on the painting for several days. I liked the result very much and wanted to lock it in before applying a glaze to darken certain areas. I'll try the fixer or fast medium next time I want to do something like that.

    I have another question - what kind of testing have you done to ensure that your interactive mediums will not yellow over time?

    A comment regarding the mediums. Something you might consider emphasising as much as the slower drying time is the minimal color shift in wet paint caused by your interactive mediums. When using normal acrylic mediums, if you want a transparent dark blue glaze, once you mix the blue with the medium you are working with opaque light blue paint. Working with your interactive mediums is SO much easier than making that translation then waiting 24 hours to see what color you actually got.

    My Answer

    Now that I know you live in Houston, your climate as you describe it is humid all year, similar to ours over a 4 months period. It is also so hot in Houston, (or was when I visited once years ago, but I can’t recall the time of year) that I’d imagine you’d use air conditioning. We don’t here because although it’s summer during the wet, we live in the mountains and it doesn’t get too hot – maybe right now it is cool where you are and you are working in high humidity as I have been doing today or do you use an air conditioner?.

    Frankly at 80% humidity no water based paint will dry quickly, so that the “fast options” we speak of don’t really work unless it is sunny and you can dry your painting out. I am strongly in favour of the slow methods, and the common sense of putting a painting aside when it’s too wet to do what I want to do next – wet-in-wet is not always what one wants, and I’m sure you will find it easy to proceed without needing to seal your painting. I don’t, but I’m careful about the water spray.

    At 80% humidity very little spraying is needed, and I’d like to comment on using the two slow mediums:-

    The liquid medium dribbles when it is too wet and the thick one can be used to control it. I pick up paint on the brush and dip it into whichever medium I want, and I also use a wet brush - just water, no paint - to soften edges where I want to. I can get sharp edges, dry brush rough edges, and smooth softly gradated edges all happening at once, and no water spray.

    The Opposite
    My wife and I like to do painting trips in the desert and central Australia has virtually 0% humidity so painting outdoors consumes an amazing 1 pint of water spray in 2-2½ hours of working “en plein air”. You only need to stop for 10 minutes to be able to overpaint. On our next desert trip we will put Retarder (about 15%) in the water spray to slow the evaporation rate of the water.

    Tonal Change
    You are more observant about tone change and using the Slow Mediums than most people. The liquid one is the best for this, see the images of a restoration project I did of a potboiler Paris street scene that someone at work bought at a charity shop for $5.00.

    It contains several lessons in paint use:-
    1. It’s an oil painting where the artist overpainted an underlying painting which we only see through the gaps (cracks). It’s a good example of not following the classic rules when using classic (traditional) oil paints. The painting underneath moved around and pulled the street scene apart.

    2. Repairs with oil paint are not a good idea, because although it is easy to match the colours the new patches tend to darken with time – acrylics do not, but you will notice that as the paint loses water and packs down, the drift becomes less and less..

    3. Enter Interactive and Slow Medium (liquid type). Shock horror, but acrylics have adhered to oils since 1978 when the adhesion problem was solved.

    4. The process: I filled the gaps, only roughly, because this isn’t a valuable Utrillo scene, and did the colour patching with Atelier Interactive plus Slow Medium. As you have noticed, the tone shift is minimal anyway, and in this situation you will notice as the paint loses water and packs down the tone drift becomes less and less. When the paint is almost dry it is easy to add a little white if needed. The colour matching is easy to do and really satisfying.

    Note on Yellowing
    The raw materials in our mediums have been used for many years in the art industry and they have an impeccable record for not yellowing with time.


  15. comment_15_4342

    Jim Cobb commented on April 10, 2008, at 1:23 pm.

    The Interactive basic information sheet has been updated.

    Click the link below to get it.

  16. comment_16_4342

    Jim Cobb commented on April 23, 2008, at 2:15 pm.

    This question came in via the suggest a topic or ask a question form. Please see below for my answer.


    Can we fix a slow blended layer with a hair dryer to paint the next layer With what do we dilute the paint to make a thin transparent glaze without degrading the polymer.
    In the color chart transparent yellow and yellow light have LF of 2 and 1, is there a reason because py 74 is same in both cases.Can cadmiums be effected with humidity over long time or mixing with thalos



    The Hair dryer is O.K.
    You can use your Slow Medium to make a thin transparent glaze when mixing a glaze.
    You may not find it necessary to make it bullet proof with a hair dryer; you may find it sympathetic as I do to work over an uncured paint layer

    Yellows: Transparent Yel Lt is Yellow 74 type, but it is transparent and slightly different from PY74LF which is the opaque version of Arylamide Yel Lt.

    Cadmium Yellows are not affected by mixing with Pthalo Blue or Greens but they can be affected by outdoor dampness which makes them change chemically from Yellow Cad Sulphide into white Cad Sulphite which is why Cads are never recommended for outdoor murals.


    Follow Up question

    What is the best medium to thin paint for very thin transparent glazes after having blocked the subject using slow medium and letting it cure.
    Can it be just water or water mixed with clear gel? I still want to be able to adjust or remove the glaze.
    I am trying to paint photo realistic still life. I do this very easily in oil using lean medium. I live in Montreal Canada and paint in my apartment, it not possible to open widows for ventilation from October to April. It is soooo cold so i tried acrylics.
    I could paint landscapes some what in imperssionistic style but in realistic style i could not paint any thing not even an apple or a banana . It became sticky in in a few minutes even with ton slow blend.(5 to 1,medium to paint) Thanks for inrotroducing Interactive .

    Thanks again



    Hello Javed,

    To try to be clearer: you can put glaze on glaze over uncured paint using the slow medium, (the more liquid one for your style of work.) You may prefer this method, but the underlayer will be “tender.” If you use the hair dryer or wait until the next day the layer will cure and it will be tougher making it easier to remove part of the wet layer without disturbing the layer beneath it.

    You may be interested also in Archival Oil’s and their odourless mediums.
    I do not understand what you mean about “becoming sticky,” at the end of your email.

    Do you mean Oil Paint or Atelier Interactive acrylics? If it is Interactive you only need to use your water spray to rehydrate it and continue painting.

    Posez vos questions en Francais si vous voulez.

    Jim Cobb


    Thank you very much for the prompt reply.I want to glaze almost water thin (without degrading the acrylic polymer) just to make sutble changes or to make my subject translucent. If i can water thin just with water and slow medium without degrading the polymer, it will work for me. The question is, can i thin so much without degrading the acrylic film.

    I might try archival oils later after getting some ventilation. All oils and mediums have solvents ,even the odourless will evaporate pretty fast.

    I was talking about liquin acrylics that i had bought from a local art supplier.

    There is no Interactive stockist in Montreal or Toronto. I had to order from Vancouver and i am waiting for them. Archival oils ,there are none in Canada. I will have to get them from New York.

    DeSerrs art supplier has 25 stores in canada, they are very popular stores . Once i get my Interactives from vancouver, i will demonstrate Interactive to them and try to convince them to carry your line, if it is o.k with you.


  17. comment_17_4342

    Sher commented on July 13, 2008, at 6:50 am.

    Should I be concerned about the longevity of the paint due to exposure to water, moisture, or to sunlight? Naturally, I don't want my paintings damaged so easily by environmental conditions. The statement about not painting an outside mural prompted my concern.

  18. comment_18_4342

    Jennifer commented on July 24, 2008, at 4:33 am.

    Hi Sher -

    You shouldn't be concerned about the longevity of your Interactive painting. Our paints are made with lightfast pigments so the colors will not change colors over time.

    Of course, it is always a good idea to varnish your completed painting. Not only will varnishing address your esthetic concerns over the sheen, but varnishing gives your painting a protective coating and protects against mold.

    Because one can reopen Interactive with water while it's curing, we don't recommend it for an outdoor mural - at least until we've found a way to control the weather!

    In our Media Library, you can download an Interactive Info Sheet on Varnishing that contains more details.