How To Pick The Right Canvas For Your Art Needs?

How To Pick The Right Canvas For Your Art Needs?

Choosing a suitable canvas is the first step in making a masterpiece. Paintings demand time and effort. And ensuring their longevity is important. Picking canvas is like picking the materials for your house. Would you choose low-quality material to build a castle? Of course not!

A painting on a poor canvas doesn't last long and loses its charm in days. Therefore, you must know the characteristics of a good canvas so that your precious work lasts longer. Below is a guide about the things one must ensure in a worthy canvas.

What to Look For When Choosing a Right Canvas?

Choosing the Canvas Type

Although every canvas looks alike, be it a 16×20 canvas or a 12x24; a blank white base for you to start painting. However, the difference lies in the very threads.

Cotton Canvases

Commonly you’ll find two kinds of canvas materials: cotton duck and linen canvases. Cotton duck canvases are the most common. Yes, it sounds like a duck, but it traces back to a Dutch word called ‘doek,' which means cloth.

The cotton duck canvas has tighter threads that give it the signature heaviness. Most manufacturers coat them with gesso which leads to a smoother finish. Another thing to note is that heavier cotton canvases last longer than lighter ones. However, one downside is that they slack over time and must be re-stretched.

Linen Canvases

Next comes the linen canvases; these are softer materials as compared to the duck ones. Unlike the cotton canvas, their stitches are smaller and closer, giving them an incredible smoothness. The closeness of the stitches can hold heavier applications of paints. Hence, they make ideal working planes when you have larger paintings to make.

The coarseness of the canvases also varies. Knife paintings need coarser surfaces, while smoother canvases work for detailed artworks.

Choosing the Right Weave

Similar to drawing papers, canvases also have some measuring metrics. You can measure the capacity of the canvas in two ways: Ounces per square yard (oz) or grams per square meter. If a canvas has more weight, it may be made of thick fabric or has a tighter weave. Lighter canvases have looser weaves. As a result, they respond more to stretching compared to heavier ones. In addition, the weight of the canvases works in reverse order. It means a number 5 canvas is heavier than a number 10 one.

Words like 'fine,' ‘super fine,' and ‘ultra-fine’ determine the texture of the canvas. Canvas texture plays a vital role in your painting. For detailed artwork, you’ll need a smooth canvas. While for abstract works, a coarser one is good.

Choosing the Canvas Style

There are many canvas styles. You can choose one according to your need. Most common ones are rolls, pre-stretched canvases, and canvas pads. Most users prefer pre-stretched canvases as they can get painting right away. While professionals like to go with upstretched ones as they want to adjust the working space according to their needs.


Canvas is the main component in making a masterpiece. Without the needed quality, no matter how expensive paints coat the canvas, the result is not that exceptional. Choosing a canvas depends upon the type of work you need to paint. Therefore, the above guide highlights all the options available in the market.