Can you use gouache on canvas?


Gouache is a versatile medium that gives you the freedom to experiment with different techniques and effects. You can use gouache on canvas, and the main thing to remember is that you need a porous and absorbent surface so that the paint will stick. Canvas is ideal for gouache because it meets these requirements. 

Use a primed canvas for gouache painting.

If the canvas is already primed, you can apply gouache paint to it directly, and it will adhere well. You can use one or two layers of gesso if the canvas is not primed. A good quality priming is critical; if it’s not done right, your painting won’t stick and could be damaged later. 

You can also prime the canvas with acrylic paint or add acrylic paint to the gesso to tone it. 

You can use a variety of different brushes for gouache painting. The brush you choose will depend on the effect you’re trying to achieve and your personal preferences. You can learn more about gouache brushes here

Gouache is a water-based medium and can crackle if used too thick or on a soft surface. Your canvas needs to be well tightened, so it doesn’t move when you apply paint. If your canvas is not well pulled, it may move around as you use gouache paint, which can cause cracking and warping of the surface. If this happens, there are several things you can do to fix it. You can try stretching your canvas again or repair any damage caused by the cracking paint with a brush dampened with water.

Use canvas paper.

For beginners, canvas paper may be easier to work with because it’s softer than stretched canvases. This way, you get the canvas texture on paper without the fuss of tightening your stretched canvas. The canvas paper is available in many sizes, from small to large. It’s also possible to buy canvas-like paper not made from actual canvas fibers but from synthetic materials. 

 


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Yet, canvas paper can also be problematic: it’s very soft and can be bent. So if you twist your paper, it may get the gouache to crackle. I advise framing it under glass, so it’s not damaged. The canvas paper is also more expensive than other types of paper, and you may want to look into alternatives if you’re working on a budget.

Gouache on linen canvas primed with clear gesso

Use a soft textured canvas.

When applying gouache to canvas, choosing a soft textured canvas for detailed work is essential. The rough texture of some canvases might make it difficult for you to fill in all your details. You can also try using a soft textured canvas and a fine brush, which will help you paint all your details without any problems. If you want to use gouache on canvas, it’s best to choose one that’s smooth or slightly textured rather than one that’s rough.

Use small canvas

Gouache is a relatively expensive paint. While you can find small tubes for about $6, these are not very large and won’t last very long. If you want to use gouache on canvas, we recommend using small canvases instead of large ones. While it might be tempting to use a larger canvas, you may spend more money than you need to. If you’re learning how to paint with gouache on canvas, it’s best to start small. You can always try painting on a larger canvas later if you feel like it.

Canvas is one the many surfaces you can paint on with gouache, discover more here:

Conclusion

Gouache is a wonderful medium to paint with. It’s easy to use, and you can apply it in many different ways. We highly recommend experimenting with gouache on canvas, especially if you are an artist just starting.

Cecile Yadro

I believe that art can help you express yourself, find your voice, and discover who you are. And I want to help you do that. I've seen how powerful my classes can be for more than 20,000 students. In my classes, I focus on giving you the tools you need to express yourself and make your creativity take flight!

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