Paper or Canvas – that is the question! 

I often get asked is Canvas or Paper better to paint/draw on. The answer is simple…….. it depends on what you want to draw or paint! There are so many options and there are so many things you need to consider. I’m going to show you what I use and how I use it to help you make a good decision for yourself.

Sketching/Drawing

For practice drawing and sketching you want to have a smooth paper. So a hot pressed paper that isn’t too thick. Anything up to 120gsm is pretty good. The thickness of the paper will still give you a quality feel to your sketch and the hot press will give you a smooth finish. The smoother the paper, the cleaner your lines will be which will give you a more realistic look.

My current art journal is less than 100gsm and is not suitable for anything other than sketching. Below is a picture of an Orca that I drew in my journal. If you try to use other medias (paint or watercolour) on this type of paper it will wrinkle and curl. It damages the paper and if you do that, there’s no saving it.

Mixed Media Paper 250 gsm +

The below sketch is a graphite on 250gsm mixed media paper. This paper is meant to handle Acrylic paint well, but water colour is a bit of a stretch. I love it to print my art work on to this paper because it has a bit of texture just like a canvas and it gives the print a really good quality look and feel.


The above picture is a print of my original Acrylic painting printed on to 250gsm paper.

Cold Pressed Cotton Paper

A cold press paper is rough, it has what is called ‘tooth’. It is ideal if you like that bumpy, textured feel and look to your painting. I personally don’t like to draw on this type of paper. I love to paint on it! I use a 300gsm cold press cotton paper with my acrylics. You get a matte finish with the textured finish of a canvas. The cotton paper is actually made for water colour paint because it can handle the wet application without creasing and folding. I use watercolours and acrylic on it and it performs beautifully.

Stretched Canvas

There are several types of canvas you can get. The main types are stretched canvas, canvas board and canvas paper or sheets. I prefer to use a stretched canvas. I like the bounce back it gives you. All types of canvas have a tooth (bumpy texture) that I love! With the stretched canvas’s you don’t have to frame and can hang as is.

Above is an acrylic Painting is on a stretched canvas of Saundersfoot Beach. This is my favourite material to paint on.

Canvas Board

For my original painting of my Light house I did it on a canvas board. As you can see from the below picture that it performs much like a stretched canvas. It has a tooth, although not as deep. It is an easy and cheaper way to start painting. They come in all sorts of sizes and packs. You can frame them easily too.

I hope you liked my tips for how to choose the right material to paint or draw on. Come back next week for more!

Cheers,
Chrissy xxx