Acrylic paint is a very flexible medium and lots of fun to learn and practice. Although you might start off using some paper to paint on, you quickly want to transition to canvas to get used to the real deal.
Did you never work with canvas before?
If that is the case this article on painting with acrylics on canvas for beginners is written just for you.
Acrylic Painting For Beginners On Canvas
Although the best acrylic paints can be applied to many different surfaces such as paper, wood, plastic or even metal in
some cases, most artists choose to use canvas. Canvas is normally made out of either linen or cotton. A linen canvas is smoother, stiffer and stronger than a cotton canvas, but also comes at a higher price point. Therefore, the cotton canvas is the most popular amongst beginners due to its lower price and flexibility.
What To Look For When Buying A Canvas For Acrylic Painting?
Both linen and cotton canvases come in a variety of shapes and sizes. Keep the following criteria in mind when purchasing your first canvas.
- Texture: the texture of the canvas can range somewhere from very fine to very rough. If you work on a canvas with a very rough texture your acrylic paint brushes might not move across the surface as smooth as you want. But more importantly, you might be able to still see the texture even after applying the paint. In some cases, this can result in very interesting effects. However, normally you want a texture that is not too rough, such that the attention will be on the paint and not the canvas itself. Additionally,
- Primed or unprimed: if you haven’t seen this term before, you are about to see it a lot when choosing a canvas for your acrylic painting. If a canvas is primed this means it is coated with a layer of gesso. This gives the canvas a smooth surface and prevents the ink from sinking into the fibers of the canvas unevenly. If you have a canvas with very rough texture, you might want to prime it first. Fortunately, most canvases for sale nowadays are already primed so you don’t have to do it yourself. If you are a looking for the best canvas for acrylic painting for beginners, make sure to look for a primed canvas.
- Stretched or unstretched: when most beginners think of canvas, they think of a piece of fabric surrounding a wooden frame. However, technically speaking the word “canvas” only refers to the fabric itself. You can buy a canvas that is stretched for you on a frame or you can buy a big roll of unstretched canvas. Most amateurs prefer to buy stretched canvas since it can save you time and a huge headache. The only downside is that stretched canvas only comes in certain standard sizes and shapes. So if your creative urges compel you to paint acrylics on canvas that is huge and circular, you need to buy a roll of canvas and stretch it yourself.
Also read our Ultimate Guide To Acrylic Painting!
Recommended Canvas For Acrylic Painting
For most beginner artists that work with acrylics, we would recommend buying a set from Artlicious. You can choose from a variety of sets that contain 6 to 48 canvases and you can choose from sizes ranging from 4 x 4 inch to 11 x 14 inch. They are made entirely from cotton and best of all, they are already primed and stretched for you. They are ideal for working with acrylics but can also be used with oil paint or tempera. Additionally, they are completely acid-free so you don’t need to worry about discoloration of your art over the years.
If you are up for the challenge, you can also consider buying an entire roll of canvas from Nasco. You will get 7 ounce of canvas, which equals an area of 6 yards by 62 inches. Keep in mind that the canvas is also unprimed. So if you go with this option, make sure to buy gesso and a frame as well.
Finally, might want to take a quick look at a canvas pad such as the one offered by Fredrix here as well. Canvas pads are similar to a regular drawing pad; easy to transport or store, lightweight and ideal for painting with acrylic paint au plein air. One pad contains 10 sheets that are acid-free and primed.
Frequently Asked Questions
- What is the best acrylic paint for canvas?
- Which brushes work best with acrylic paint?
- What is gesso and how to use it to prime a canvas?
- Which art easel should I use to hold my canvas?