There are few events more exciting for an artist than receiving new art supplies. And while a set of paints may inspire colorful designs, choosing a good quality canvas is just as important in creating your work of art. Experienced portrait painters, for instance, may prefer a pre-primed linen canvas that will enhance the luminosity and flow of the paint. Similarly, prolific artists may prefer to purchase canvas rolls and stretch them over frames on their own to cut down on costs.
If you're just delving into the world of painting, however, it's important to understand the different kinds of canvases available so you can choose the kind that will best serve your goals. Firstly, which type of paint do you use? There are a variety of pre-primed canvases made specifically for oil or acrylic use.
Additionally, it's helpful to determine what kind of paintings you want to make. If you want to practice different techniques or create several quick pictures, using a canvas pad might be the best option for your wallet. These pads include several canvas sheets that can withstand oil or acrylic, making them ideal for students who want to get acquainted with their brushes and paints before endeavoring a very large painting.
Scroll down to see our selection of the best canvases for artists at every skill level.
Searching for the perfect canvas to paint on? Then, check out our selection!
Best Canvases for Beginners
Richeson Cotton Art Panels
Canvas panels are ideal for practicing painting techniques without committing to a full painting. The Richeson Cotton Art Panels come in a variety of sizes and feature a soft tooth finish, making them ideal for oil, acrylic, and other water-based paints. They also come triple-primed with acrylic primer and double-coated with gesso, so you can begin painting straight away.
Blick Economy Cotton Canvas Panel Classroom Packs
Blick offers its own set of Economy Cotton Canvas Panels that are available in sets so you can clock in hours of practice. Each one is made with lightweight cotton canvas and primed with acrylic gesso. They can be used with a variety of mediums, including oils and acrylics, as well as tempera and mixed media. Each one is secured with glue.
Fredrix Canvas Pads
Fredrix Canvas Pads provide a sturdy surface for painting in the form of a convenient pad. Each 7 oz. canvas sheet is pre-primed and can be used with any painting medium.
Blick Academic Cotton Canvas
Blick Academic Cotton Canvases are ideal for students who want to paint on a stretched canvas. Available in packs of two, each canvas is triple-coated with acrylic gesso and ready to paint.
The Artist Grid Cotton Canvas
Artists have used the “grid method” to render accurate perspectives for centuries. The Artist Grid Cotton Canvas features a triple-primed, unbleached cotton canvas that is printed with blue grid lines, making it easier to transpose sketches and photographs.
Black Studio Black Cotton Canvas
Although most artists choose to work on white canvases, there are other options available, too. Blick's Studio Black Cotton Canvas offers a dark 100% cotton surface with a medium texture. The black color of this material is deal for paintings that feature a deep color palette. All of the canvases from this series have been triple-primed with black gesso so they're ready to be used.
Best Professional Grade Canvases
Winsor & Newton Classic Cotton Canvas
Winsor & Newton is known for its high-quality materials, and its Classic Cotton Canvas is no exception. This pre-primed surface can be used for both oils and acrylics, offering a medium texture that will make applying paint much easier. They are also hand-stretched over a wooden frame to provide excellent tension.
Masterpiece Elite Heavyweight Oil Primed Linen Canvas
If you're a serious oil painter who is searching for a conservator-approved stretched canvas, Masterpiece's Elite Linen Canvases might be just the thing for your artwork. Each one is custom-made from high-quality Belgian linen that is stretched on solid wood stretcher bars. Your brush will glide over the smooth pre-primed surface, and you can be certain of the product's durability over time.
Museo Linen Canvas
Museo Linen Canvases are a high-quality stretched canvas made specifically for professional artists. It features Claessens 100% linen that is triple-coated with a universal, acid-free gesso, providing a perfect painting surface for both oils and acrylis. They are also stretched over a lightweight aluminum frame with wood edging.
Caravaggio Raw Linen Canvas Rolls
If you're a prolific painter that knows how to stretch your canvases, purchasing canvas rolls is the more economic choice. Caravaggio Linen Canvas Rolls are milled in Verese, Italy using high-quality raw materials, and they come pre-primed for oil or acrylic paint. This is especially useful if you want to create large paintings.