What Type Of Canvas For Gouache

Many artists adore gouache, a painting medium known for its vivid and radiant hues. Its flexibility and effortless spread make it a favorite amongst creators. However, the selection of canvas plays a crucial role in producing stunning gouache pieces. The kind of canvas utilized can greatly impact the end result of your painting.

What is Gouache?

An opaque watercolor paint, gouache has a high pigment concentration that gives it its rich, luminous color. It’s appreciated for its ability to blend well, making it ideal for creating gradients and transitions. It also dries quickly, making it a favorite among artists who enjoy working at a faster pace.

What Type of Canvas is Best for Gouache?

While gouache can be used on a variety of surfaces, such as bristol board, illustration board, or watercolor paper, many artists prefer to use it on a canvas due to its texture and durability. However, not all canvases are created equal. The best type of canvas for gouache is a primed, medium to heavy weight fabric canvas, such as cotton or linen.

Cotton Canvas

This is the most common type of canvas used by artists. Cotton canvases are inexpensive and lightweight. They have a smooth surface, which is ideal for the fine details that can be achieved with gouache.

Linen Canvas

Despite being more expensive than cotton, linen canvas is another popular choice for gouache painters due to its durability and slightly rough texture. The texture of linen canvas can add an extra dimension to your artwork and help to create interesting effects with the gouache paint.

Preparing Canvas for Gouache

The type of canvas is not the only factor to consider when using gouache; you also need to prepare your canvas correctly. Since gouache is a water-based medium, it’s crucial to prime your canvas to prevent the paint from soaking into the fabric.

To prepare your canvas for gouache, apply a layer of gesso, a primer that creates a smooth and non-absorbent surface. You should apply at least two layers of gesso, allowing each layer to dry fully before applying the next. This will provide the ideal surface for your gouache painting and ensure the longevity of your artwork.


While the choice of canvas ultimately comes down to personal preference, a primed cotton or linen canvas often provides the best results for gouache paintings. By understanding the properties of gouache and the importance of canvas preparation, you can create beautiful and vibrant works of art that truly showcase the potential of this unique medium.