Today’s Frequently Asked Artist Question is: What is the Best Paper for Acrylic Paint? The answer is, it depends. It depends on what you are using it for. Will you need the paper for practice and study or for finished work?
Through my research and personal experimentation, I have found that Strathmore and Canson papers are the most popular amongst artists.
The first three below, are probably better suited for practice and study. The Strathmore 400 Series and Canson Montval Acrylic Paper (see below) are better suited for finished work. Now this is my opinion based on the type of work that I do. You will have to experiment with different papers to find the perfect one for your style and needs as every artist is different.
Some disclosure before we proceed: The following products are available for purchase from Dick Blick Art Materials of which I am an affiliate. This means if you purchase via the links below, I will receive a small commission. I thank you for your support! Your purchase helps pay the website bills.
Canson XL Oil & Acrylic
Designed to appeal to students, Canson XL pads contain more sheets at a comparable or better price than other value pads in the marketplace. What’s more, because they’re developed in consultation with art professors who use Canson’s professional artist papers as a benchmark, XL papers incorporate many professional performance characteristics — at a value price.
The French-made paper in Canson XL Oil and Acrylic Pads has a canvas-like texture and a bleedproof barrier that eliminates the need for priming before applying oils or acrylics.
Each pad holds 24 sheets of natural white, heavyweight, acid-free paper, glued into a convenient foldover cover.
A lot of artists, myself included, swear by this paper for quick studies and practice. It takes the paint well and is quite durable. Some artist do complain of this paper buckling or wrinkling when using acrylics. I had this problem as well. This usually happens if you use too much water (that’s what I did!). Try putting a coat of paint on both sides with little to no water and let it dry flat. You could also tape the paper onto a sturdy surface with masking tape while painting.
136 lb, 290 gsm.
Canson XL Mix Media Paper
Available in two weights, this acid-free paper features heavy sizing, making it excellent for watercolor and acrylics, as well as dry media such as markers, pastels, colored pencils, pencils, and pen-and-ink. The fine tooth paper erases well and blends easily.
XL Mixed Media Rolls — Canson XL Mix Media Rolls are great for creating artworks large or small without being restricted by a particular paper size. Use them for finished artwork, or for practicing and perfecting techniques.
I have used the 98 lb paper for practice and studies. I did have some issues with the paper not remaining flat and buckling, but after doing a bit of research, I realized again that I was using too much water. As with the above paper, try painting a coat of paint or gesso on both sides and allow it to dry flat. You can then tape it down to a sturdy support when you begin painting.
Strathmore 300 Series Canvas Paper Pads
This is a heavyweight paper with a coated, textured surface that replicates the surface of canvas. It’s ideal for practicing techniques with oils, caseins, acrylics, alkyds, or egg tempera.
Glue bound pads have flip over covers that make it easy to work in the pad. Pads contain 10 sheets each. 115 lb (187 gsm).
Strathmore 300 Series Canvas Paper Pads Video Review
Strathmore 400 Series Acrylic Pads
This heavyweight, versatile Strathmore acid-free paper was made with the acrylic artist in mind, but it is also well suited for a variety of other painting, drawing, pastel or charcoal applications where a heavy paper with a toothy surface is desirable. The paper has a cream-colored linen finish. 246 lb (400 gsm).
New flipover covers make it easy to work in the pad. Sheets stay in the pad yet tear out cleanly. 10 sheets per pad.
Canson Montval Acrylic Paper
Manufactured in France, this heavyweight, textured paper is ideal for acrylic paint and wet techniques. When acrylics are used as a thick paste, characteristics similar to oil paint can be achieved on this paper. When diluted to a wash, the gelatin-sized paper features qualities of a cold pressed watercolor paper. 185 lbs (400 gsm).
Well I hope this answered your question: What is the Best Paper for Acrylic Paint? There really is no right answer. It comes down to personal preference and depends on what you are using it for. Stay tuned for more answers to your frequently asked artist questions!