What Canvas For Gouache

As an artist, it is crucial to have a deep understanding of the materials you are using just as much as your technique. Gouache, a specific type of paint with its standout qualities of vibrant and opaque colors, is a well-loved medium among artists for its versatility and user-friendly nature. However, the question remains: which canvas works best with gouache?

Understanding Gouache

Before we delve into the best canvases for gouache, it’s essential to understand what this medium is and what makes it unique. Gouache is a water-based paint, similar to watercolor, but it is much denser and more opaque due to the high levels of pigment and the addition of a white filler. This combination results in brilliantly vibrant colors that are not seen in other types of paints.

Canvases for Gouache

Now that we understand the properties of gouache, let’s explore the best canvases for this type of paint:

Watercolor Paper: This is perhaps the most popular choice for gouache. It’s a thick, textured paper that can absorb water without warping. It can handle multiple layers of paint without tearing, making it a great choice for gouache.

Canvas: Canvases are also commonly used with gouache. However, it’s important to note that you should prime your canvas with a couple layers of gesso before painting with gouache. This gives the paint something to grab onto and prevents it from soaking into the canvas.

Mixed Media Paper: If you like to mix gouache with other mediums like pastels or colored pencils, mixed media paper might be the right choice for you. It’s thick enough to handle the water in gouache, and it can also handle other mediums.

How to Prepare Your Canvas for Gouache

As mentioned earlier, it’s essential to prime your canvas before painting with gouache. Here’s how you can do it:

  • Start by purchasing gesso, a white paint mixture used to prepare canvases.
  • Apply a thin layer of gesso to your canvas using a brush or a roller.
  • Let the first layer dry before applying the second layer.
  • After the second layer has dried, your canvas is ready for gouache!


Overall, the best canvas for gouache depends on your personal preferences and the specific project you’re working on. Whether it’s watercolor paper, a primed canvas, or mixed media paper, each has its own benefits that can enhance your artwork. In the end, what matters most is that you enjoy the process of painting with gouache on your chosen canvas!