If you’ve painted on both canvas and paper, you maybe prefer one of them more. But should you limit yourself to painting on only one type of surface?

I don’t think so!!

Canvas vs. Paper

When I started painting, I started on paper. I bought a sketchbook with acrylic paper and I was sooo excited because I have never painted with acrylics before. My first few paintings were from tutorials and I was really feeling like an artist because they were turning out to be good. Sunflower

With time, I switched to canvas panels. I didn’t have a lot of money for stretched canvases and as a newbie, canvas panels were a good and inexpensive option. Even though I was just starting, one of my best paintings [on my opinion] is painted on a canvas panel [the one on the right].

In the meantime, I was painting on stretched canvases only occasionally. I wanted to be sure that I won’t mess it up. However, the panels were bending very easily so they weren’t my thing. And as I wanted to grow my skills and make things more ‘professional’, panels weren’t what I needed, so I started painting only on stretched canvas.

And by ‘only’, I really mean ‘only’. I didn’t want to paint on paper again [no idea why]. For that reason I was painting from time to time. And this was really slowing down my progress.

But then it hit me, why shouldn’t I get a sketchbook again and paint every day?!

Since then, I have had few sketchbooks in different sizes, with my current one being the 6th or 7th one + I’ve started buying sheets of paper in sizes A6, A5, A4 and bigger [+ always have few stretched canvases on hand].

I made painting not only a hobby but a priority. Now, I paint almost every day even if it’s for 20 minutes at 5:30 a.m. while having breakfast.

Why it’s important to not limit yourself to only one painting surface?

Well, both canvas and paper have their pros and cons. I won’t tell you which one is better because everything depends on your purpose. Everything looks very beautiful on a stretched canvas, from mini paintings to huge artworks. And if you don’t like something, you can always paint over it.

Canvas vs. Paper

[the mountain on the bigger paper {with the strange galaxy above it} was the first thing I painted with palette knives]

I love painting on canvases but I worry a bit too much than needed because I want to make it perfect. And when it comes to painting on paper, I don’t think a lot. Just paint. Not that you can’t do this on canvas, too, but if you are on a budget like me, you won’t want to waste another canvas for experiments [I have few which I’m not very happy with and don’t want more]. And trying different techniques and styles on paper gives me an idea what would work on a canvas and what wouldn’t.

Paper has its own pros. What I most love about it [and this is why I started painting more often on it] is how the painting looks when the edges are masked by tape. When you finish painting and remove the tape, it gets the totally finished look in a beautiful ‘natural’ white frame. The very simple use of masking tape changes everything. I use it not only when painting on single sheets of paper but also in my sketchbook. Everything looks neat and classy [have a look on my Instagram to see what I’m talking about].

If you’ve read some of my previous posts, you probably noticed that I’ve mentioned a couple of times about experimenting more and more in the abstractified zone. It may look like a playgame but I find it to be more difficult than people think. You have to be careful how to combine the colors, what [and how] brushes to use, how to give the painting depth by making layers and maybe adding some details. This is why I make experiments on paper. However, in To Define Or Not To Define Your Style [as a newbie artist], I’ve talked about why you shouldn’t limit yourself to one style only. If you follow me on Instagram, you probably see that I don’t. I paint whatever I feel inspired by at the particular moment. I don’t know if this sounds as an unprofessional advice. But it’s what works for me as a self-taught artist. I’ve learned a lot by bouncing from one style to another and it’s helping my progress. And I’m happy with it!

Why I’m telling you all this? Because painting on paper is helping me do so. And I recommend you to not exclude the paper like I did before. Use it to try all of the things you aren’t sure about. Let yourself mess everything up. You don’t need to make perfect art every damn time. You’ll reach your perfect art [if this exist because I believe artists always try to improve their skills] by trial and error.

Though I use the paintings on paper to inspire me to paint something on a canvas, sometimes it happens exactly the opposite. I use the ideas from the canvases to paint something on paper. It could be another experiment or why not a similar greeting card [as below].

Canvas vs. Paper[the painting on the canvas inspired me to make a similar greeting card but in different colors]

What else to paint on…

Be unique – paint on something unusual. As you can see on the photo below, I’ve painted on a wooden palette, a little piece of granite and on a tote bag. As I like to say, you don’t have limits [today I even thought about trying to paint on baking paper. Do you thing it will work?].Canvas vs. Paper

After all, you know what you prefer. But don’t exclude something without giving it a chance, especially if you’re a newbie. Having a sketchbook always comes handy when you are on go or have a sudden inspiration. And the paintings on canvas are so beautiful.

The point is to find what best suits you [and your budget] and work on improving your skills every day.


Which one do you prefer? Which makes you more comfortable to paint on?

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