Choosing a canvas for your artwork can be challenging. There are so many different types of canvas, such as watercolor canvas and canvas board, that it is hard to choose which one will work best with the type of painting you want to do.
This blog post will discuss the different canvas types that you have to choose from and how they can work best for your needs as an artist. We will also discuss each canvas type’s pros and cons, so keep reading, so you will know what fits your painting style!
How To Choose the Best Canvas
There are many canvas options for artists to choose from, and it can be difficult to figure out which canvas is best. To choose the canvas that best suits your needs, it is important to determine what type of painting you will be doing.
It may seem like a no-brainer at this point, but the canvas you choose should depend on whether you want to paint large or small pieces.
Sometimes it is worth splurging on a more expensive canvas, especially if you are painting a larger piece. This is because, over time, a cheap larger canvas is more likely to buckle or ripple from loosening.
But by choosing the right type of canvas for all your artist needs, you will be off to the races in no time with inspiration and ideas galore.
The following is a list of different types of canvases to choose from:
- Synthetic blends
Choosing the type of canvas you want can be difficult. However, there are a few key points to keep in mind:
- Cotton is the most common material for stretched canvases.
- Linen is the most expensive option for stretched canvases.
- Synthetic stretched canvases are the least common choice as they are a relatively new option for artists.
The following table highlights the pros and cons of each type of canvas:
|Type of Canvas
|Easier to stretch
Variety of weaves and weights
|Enhanced mold and mildew resistance
Strong and less flexible
Variety of weights and textures available
|Less stretchy than traditional cotton canvas
Mainly cotton and polyester blends
Smoother portraits than cotton
Not as strong as linen
|Most expensive canvas choice
|It may be very inexpensive due to synthetic combinations of both cotton and other fibers being low quality
Stretched canvas is perfect for almost any type of painting since they allow better control over sizes and shapes while still being easy to transport around. Canvases are great because they don’t need framing but can be framed for a more sophisticated look.
Now let us dive into the top twelve canvases for artists. Our selections will focus on:
And we will also address any concerns that you should consider with our top choices.
Blick Academic Cotton Canvas
The Blick canvas is a cotton canvas that will last for many years. The texture of the canvas is perfect for any artist who wants their work to look natural with imperfections on the surface.
The Blick Canvas has excellent quality and is stapled on the back of the frame for easy re-stretching in the future. This type of canvas is great for students because it is less expensive than other canvas options but still offers a quality canvas to work on.
Some of the following are additional features to note about the Blick Academic Cotton Canvas:
- Nine-ounce final weight
- Stretcher bars made of pine wood
- Triple coated with primer
This canvas comes in seven different sizes, so you are sure to find a size that suits your needs and at a price that does not break the bank.
The following is the list of available sizes for Blick Academic Cotton Canvases:
- Eight by ten inches
- Eleven by fourteen inches
- Nine by twelve inches
- Six by six inches
- Sixteen by twenty inches
- Twelve by twelve inches
- Twenty by twenty-four inches
Again, this is one of the more inexpensive options, and it is sold in two packs. You can even buy them in bulk for an even greater discount.
This can be helpful if you are teaching art classes or plan to produce a wide range of paintings with the same size canvas.
Sargent Art Stretched Canvas
The Sargent Art canvas is a very affordable option for your canvas needs. The Sargent Art canvases are durable and lightweight, which makes them ideal for any artist. The stretcher bars are wood, and these canvases come in various sizes.
This canvas also comes pre-primed to be ready right out of the package without any additional priming before use.
Pro Tip: Remember, the best canvases to buy are primed because they will save you time overall.
However, if you want an unprimed stretched canvas, we note some of those options later on.
The following is a list of key features that set the Sargent Art canvases apart from competitors:
- 75 years in the business of canvases
- Can be used to paint with both oil and acrylic paints
- Canvas is stapled to back of wooden stretcher frame
- Double acrylic titanium primed canvas
- Uses 100 percent cotton canvas
Sargent Art Canvas is committed to its product, community, environment, and sustainability. The stretcher bars are wood which comes in different sizes.
These canvases are durable and lightweight, so they can be used by artists who want something easy to work on no matter where they go.
Reeves Cotton Stretched Canvas Frame
The Reeves stretched canvas is a perfect choice for artists because it is:
- A high-quality canvas,
It comes in various sizes, so there are options for artists who want to paint something big or small.
The canvas can be used with oil and acrylic paints without the canvas buckling because this canvas is made from strong cotton fabric that will not stretch out when painted on.
The following are the features of Reeves canvases:
- Acid-free construction and treatment
- Double primed canvas
- Made from 100 percent cotton
- Wooden stretcher bars
These canvases fall into the mid-range of price points. It can be an affordable option for many artists, but Reeves canvases are not the least expensive canvases on the market today.
Winsor & Newton Professional Cotton Canvas
The Winsor & Newton canvases are made of 100 percent cotton canvas. The canvas is primed with a highly pigmented titanium dioxide gesso primer.
These canvases allow for a long-lasting painting surface that will not buckle when painted with oil paint or acrylics. This is an important note because professional and amateur artists alike want to avoid buckling of their canvases.
Buckling or rippling in a canvas will make the art appear cheap and poorly done. This is why it is so important to invest in a good quality canvas and why we have broken these details down for you!
And as a bonus, the Winsor & Newton canvases are stretched and folded with uncut corners that are stapled to the solid wood stretcher bars.
Additionally, these canvases allow you to stretch the fabric using a wooden key system so you can achieve the exact fit you are looking for and avoid the dreaded buckling we spoke about earlier.
The Winsor & Newton canvases come in a variety of sizes and have all the following features:
- Medium texture and balanced absorbency for maximum adhesion of paints
- Spruce wood for all stretcher bars
- Tension controlled and enhanced using hand stretching of canvas
Winsor & Newton set themselves apart for their canvases stretched by hand but may be a bit on the pricier side for an artist that is only beginning.
The Artist Grid Cotton Canvas
The Artist Grid canvases are created for the artist who specializes in landscapes and portraits with accurate perspectives.
These canvases feature a grid printed onto the canvas for an artist to help plan, sketch, and paint an accurate and true-to-size image.
The Artist Grid canvases come in many sizes and are ideal for artists with different scales: from very small sketches to larger paintings to huge murals!
They also have some features you might appreciate as an artist:
- Archival and acid-free construction
- Features a blue, printed grid for getting the perfect proportions
- Primed three times for superior weight and texture
- The natural 100 percent cotton weave provides good texture and surface quality
- The sides of the canvases are free of staples, which allow the artist to expand their painting to the edges of the stretcher bars
- They are lightweight so that transporting is easier than ever before
The Artist Grid canvases are perfect for oil painting or acrylic paintings and are a relatively affordable option.
These are the only canvases we feature with a pre-drawn grid for creating accurate perspectives in landscape paintings. This sets the Artist Grid canvases apart from the others we feature in our list.
Darice Studio 71 Canvas
The Darice Studio 71 canvases are medium-weight canvases that work great for all mediums, including acrylic and oil paints. This company has been in business since 1954, and they have been making high-quality canvases the whole time.
The Darice Studio 71 canvases are available in a few different sizes, including the following:
- 14 x 18 inches
- 16 x 16 inches
- 24 x 18 inches
- 24 x 24 inches
- 40 x 30 inches
These canvases are worth the splurge because of their professional appearance and versatile applications. These canvases are also designed for reduced absorbency, making them easier to work with and great for beginning artists.
- Medium weight and texture
- Acid-free construction
- Triple primed with acrylic
- Smooth painting surface
- Pairs best with acrylic or oil paints
The Darice Studio 71 canvases are inexpensive and great for artists just starting their artistic careers. And because these canvases do well with oil or acrylic paints, the options are endless! The following are some key features to the Darice Studio 71 canvases:
Arteza Stretched White Canvas
Arteza stretched white canvases are a very popular option, and they hold much of the market for canvases because of their value.
The following are some of the top features for Arteza stretched canvases:
- 5/8ths frame thickness that is great for hanging
- 8 oz. of acid-free acrylic gesso for priming and pre-coating their canvases
- Canvases are available in sizes ranging from 3 by 3 inches to 36 by 48 inches
- A non-toxic canvas that is ACMI certified
- Pinewood stretcher bars
These Arteza canvases tend to be relatively well-priced and affordable for most artists, whether you are a beginner or professional. And the range of sizes makes this a great option for most artists.
However, these frames can seem a bit on the thinner side when compared to other stretched canvases, so it is a point of consideration to keep in mind when making a final decision.
The cotton canvas that makes Arteza canvases stand out is great for all of the following mediums:
- Acrylic paints
- Gouache paints
- Oil paints
- Tempura paints
- Watercolor paints
No matter what type of paint or medium you use, Arteza stretched canvases are perfect for you.
Masterpiece Artist Canvas – Monet Pro Edition
The Masterpiece Artist Canvas – Monet Pro edition comes in both linen and cotton canvas options. These canvases are high quality and also reflect that in their price. The Masterpiece Artist Canvases tend to be more expensive than other canvases available.
The linen canvases also cost more than the cotton canvases that Masterpiece Artist has available.
The following is a list of features for the Masterpiece Artist Monet Pro canvases:
- Canvases available in linen or cotton
- Canvases available in raw or primed condition
- Canvases available in sizes varying from 4 by 4 inches to 96 by 96 inches
- Staple free edges for easy, full coverage painting
- Stretcher bars made from pine or fir wood from slow growth sustainable tree farms in the United States
- Various primers to choose from depending on your preferred medium
These Masterpiece Artist Monet Pro canvases have many positive reviews and are used by artists in many different fields using a variety of media.
Choosing a canvas can often be the most challenging part of any painting for an artist, but with a canvas from the Masterpiece Artist Monet Pro line, you will not be disappointed in your choice.
The only real downside to these canvases is the price, but if you want to create a masterpiece, Masterpiece canvases are the way to go!
Fredrix Red Label Stretched Canvas
The Fredrix Rad Label canvases are perfect for artists who want a canvas that is easy to work with and affordable. They are a great option for beginners and professional artists.
These canvases are available in seven different sizes, so you can choose the one that best fits your needs as an artist. The following is a list of available sizes for the Fredrix Red Label canvases:
- 12 by 12 inches
- 8 by 10 inches
- 14 by 18 inches
- 16 by 20 inches
- 18 by 36 inches
- 24 by 36 inches
- 30 by 40 inches
The canvas comes stretched over wooden bars and stapled on its backside for easy re-stretching as needed. And as you can see, there are various sizes, from perfect squares to rectangles, which can give you versatility in your desired look.
This canvas line has been praised by artists for all the following features:
- 100 percent duck cotton canvas
- Acid-free construction
- Double primed with acrylic gesso
- Manufactured in the United States
- Medium texture perfect for all applications
These Fredrix canvases are affordable for any artist, from beginners to professionals. They offer sturdy and lightweight canvases of many sizes that will fit any of your application needs.
Masterpiece Artist Canvas – Elite Edition
The Masterpiece Artist Canvas – Elite Edition is perfect for artists looking for a high-end option. These canvases tend to be on the more expensive end. But the expense is worth it because of the way your finished product will turn out.
The following features make the Masterpiece Artist Elite canvases stand out among the rest:
- Available in linen or cotton
- Available in sizes ranging from 11 by 14 inches to 72 by 96 inches
- Equipped with a keyable bracing system
- Stretcher bars made from kiln-dried wood
- Ten different styles are available
- Uses a unique master wrap style to stretch the canvas
And Masterpiece has been in the business for over 50 years. This means they have incomparable craftsmanship and quality. The only downside to these canvases is their expense. These canvases cost more than other brands but are worth it in the long run. Otherwise, this is one of the best options out there for any artist.
Museo Linen Canvas
These linen canvases are another high-end option to choose from when you are deciding on canvases. The Museo brand canvases are among the highest quality of canvases. These canvases stand apart from the rest because they could be hung in a museum.
The following features make the Museo linen canvas a top choice in our book:
- All tools necessary for adjusting the stretcher bars are included
- Can easily be broken down for transport or shipping
- Does not bend or warp
- Triple primed using an acid-free gesso
- Uses 100 percent Belgian linen
- Uses strong, but lightweight aluminum stretcher bars
If you want a museum-quality canvas, this is the option for you. The Museo linen canvases are top of the line and will not disappoint. However, because they are more expensive, we do recommend these for more experienced artists.
The EDGE Stretched Canvas By Creative Mark
Creative Mark produces a large line of art products, including canvases of varying sizes. These canvases are a great mid-range option on our list and come in various sizes. The EDGE stretched canvases stand apart from the others for their deep edges.
These canvases produce a satin-smooth surface that leaves a painting or drawing stunning. The following is a list of the key features for the Creative Mark’s The Edge canvases:
- 100 percent cotton
- Available in 18 different sizes ranging from 4 by 4 inches to 36 by 36 inches
- Great for watercolors, mixable oils, alkyds, acrylics, mixed media works
- Medium weight
- One and a half-inch deep edges for beautiful wrap around paintings
- Triple primed with acrylic
- Tucked construction style
The canvas is a professional-quality canvas that produces an elegant surface while also sturdy enough to work with any medium. What you’ll love about these canvases specifically is the ability to matte paintings down for gallery-quality presentations.
Which Canvas Do We Rank As The Best?
Now that we have covered the top 12 best canvases for artists, let us do some final rankings. We wanted you to walk away with our final thoughts on what we consider the best of the best in terms of canvases for artists, beginners, and professionals alike.
We will break down the best of the best canvases for artists in the following table:
|The Best of the Best Categories
|The Best Options Based on Category
|The Best Linen Option
|Masterpiece Artist Canvas – Monet Pro Edition
|The Best Cotton Option
|Winsor & Newton Professional Cotton Canvas
|The Most Affordable Option
|Arteza Stretched White Canvases
|The Highest Quality Option
|Masterpiece Artist Canvas – Elite Edition
|The Best Option for Beginners
|Blick Academic Cotton Canvas
|The Best Option for Professionals
|The EDGE Stretched Canvas By Creative Mark
Now that you know what the best of the best canvases for artists are, you can make an educated decision on which canvas you want to choose for your next project.
In Summary: These 12 Canvases Are Perfect for You
The 12 canvases we featured are perfect for any artist. These canvases cover a range of needs for beginners and professionals.
The canvases we featured range in quality and price, so there is something for everyone. But keep in mind that the most important canvas feature to look for is durability – canvases are a one-time investment.