View Full Version : Acrylics on Paper

05-11-2004, 12:06 PM
I usually paint on canvas, but I have been thinking of doing some works on paper. I did a couple before and used heavy water color paper, and taped it like you would a watercolor. I am wondering what other papers are generally used. Any tips on doing acrylics on paper?

Lady Carol
05-11-2004, 12:55 PM
I use the heavier variety of watercolour paper. The thinner ones tend to buckle.

05-11-2004, 07:09 PM
I prefer 'canvas paper' as used in oil painting, because it hardly absorbs paint and it has some texture...

05-11-2004, 08:33 PM
I usually paint on canvas, but I have been thinking of doing some works on paper.

You don't say WHY you want to work on paper? I will toss in that instead of watercolor paper, you might think of watercolor board. It's heavier than illustration board - but in fact illustration board would work well with acrylics too. In fact, the advantage of acrylics is that just about any surface you can think of will work well with acrylics!

05-11-2004, 08:58 PM
Thanks for responding people. I wondered what others did as I don't know what the popular way is. In answer to the question why, I wanted to experiment with some new ideas. I thought perhaps using paper would give me a chance to do that, without wasting canvas if they don't turn out, and if they do look good, I could probably sell them. I have limited funds at the moment, so I am trying to stretch my supplies as far as they will go. I have a lot of really good watercolor paper, so perhaps I'll use that up.

05-11-2004, 09:55 PM
Hi blumoon,

I have used acrylics on watercolor paper, and to be honest, I love it.
I think paper is light, inexpensive, easy to cut to size, readily available, easy to matt and frame, very durable, and I just like the feel of painting on it.

Now I am making the switch to gessoed panels, but that's another story.

I use only paper made by Arches, either 140 or 300 lb in both the hot and cold press. In my experience, Arches is the only paper that has been able to withstand my frisketing methods and I have never had a single problem with it.

I always stretch my paper the very same as I were doing watercolor.
soak 140lb for about 10 min and 300lb for about 20 min.
then tape and staple it to a board.

after my drawing is complete, I always spray it with a fixative to keep the drawing from smudging.

then paint away!

this is just experience though. then again, I love golden acrylics too. LOL
(not the tubes, but the fluids). I use those and liquitex med viscosities.
they have worked well for me.

like jaxas said, "the advantage of acrylics is that just about any surface you can think of will work well with acrylics!"

anyway, thats just my experience

happy painting!

05-11-2004, 11:17 PM
I have used Acrylics on just about every surface that I could get it to stay lol

Imho, I say paint on what feels right for you. I paint for the joy of it, regardless of what others think of my work :)
tin, wood, glass, paper, canvas, rocks etc.

05-12-2004, 02:04 AM
The picture at the top of this page is on watercolor paper, the 140 pound Wal-Mart variety. It's acid free. 9 inch by 12 inch.
On that particular picture, I didn't even stretch it or tape it at all. I used both the liquid acrylics and the tube acrylics thinned. I got very minimal buckling that went away when it dried. I have it listed and my bidders seem happy enough with the fact that it's on paper.

On the other hand, I tried a very large picture on slightly heavier weight watercolor paper, did stretch it, tape it down, and it buckled more severely.
The smaller sheets seem to work better.

I'm working on canvas now and yearning to be working on paper. I can visualize things matted and framed and that thought makes me happy. Greeting cards and postcards are nice to work on too if you don't use a huge amount of water. If they buckle a little, just press them under a heavy book for a few days (well dry).

HRH Goldie
05-12-2004, 05:11 AM
I've tried acrylics and Bockingford watercolour paper - must say I loved it because the results were totally different.
On that occasion I used them very water down to mimic watercolour techniques and just loved the way they flowed. (With the added advantage that should a mistake be made it can be painted over by putting down a grey or another opaque colour first). I tried the Chinese style of painting on some koi carp. It really worked I managed to keep the vibrant colours of the fish whilst creating a light filled water type background. :cool:
I'm sure I will try this again soon.
Let us know what you choose to do and perhaps so us the result.

05-12-2004, 05:41 AM
Now I want to see the carp, Christine. Do you still have it by chance?

05-12-2004, 09:33 AM
I have used Acrylics on just about every surface that I could get it to stay lol.

You've now prompted me to begin a new thread and share some ideas I've used for "painting in acrylics on glass!" Stay tuned. It may take me a day to get my old photos of the projects onto a web page for sharing, but I'll do that and you can look for the new thread which I will label as quoted here.

05-12-2004, 02:11 PM
I actually prefer to work with acrylics on paper rather on canvas or gessoed board, etc. I prefer to use them more in a watercolor style but I always build up to more opaque applications as the painting nears completion.

I love cold-pressed 100 percent cotten watercolor paper, either in 140-pound or 300-pound weights. Recently I bought some wc paper called "soft pressed" that is in between cold pressed and hot pressed in texture. I hope to try it out soon.

Besides wc paper, I would suggest you try illustration board. I often work on that, as well, and I prefer cold pressed finish. You can find 100 percent cotten illustration board for the sake of archival quality, but you can also use a standard, high-quality line of illustration board that has a high percentage of cotten (80 percent or so would be good). There are advantages and disadvantages of every surface you may try to paint on. But it's fun to experiment.

A member of my local art club paints on gessoed watercolor paper! You can do the same thing with illustration board, using either white gesso or tinted gesso. The amount of gesso you apply (thinned with water or not) will effect the absorbancy of the paper once the gesso dries. A very thinned out layer of gesso will only seal the paper surface a little giving your paint more "surface time", so to speak, rather than sinking quickly into the paper's surface. You can also add some extra texture to your gesso by mixing in a bit of a fine, medium, coarse, etc. acrlyic pumice medium. I usually stick to the fine pumice medium and mix a touch of acrylic paint into my gesso, as well. I thin this gesso mixture into a spreadable consistency, then use it to prepare my painting surface. The fine pumice gives the gesso a bit more tooth, like sanded pastel paper. It grabs the acrylic paint beautifully AND you can add pastels to your painting for a lovely mixed media approach. I wish I had some images of some of the older paintings I did this way to post as an example, but I sold them some years ago before I owned a scanner or digital camera. Alas! I can only urge you to try these methods and find the one you like best.



HRH Goldie
05-12-2004, 06:28 PM
Hi Terriv,
I may still have a one somewhere - I'll have to have a look. It could be in the garage which is a bit of a problem as we are having the house renovated and everything is in there. You need to have mountaineering skills :eek:
If I can find one it will be a bit dog eared I'm afraid because I didn't know at the time if they were any good and tended to stuff all of my work in bin liners. I didn't want to throw them but didn't think they were good enough to do anything with - C'est la vie! The power of hindsight is a wonderful thing and now when I find the raggedy pieces I did in the past I see them totally different and I'm 'at peace with them'. I found myself ironing a water colour the other day which I found in a cupboard. Yes I'm losing it.
I'll look tomorrow.

05-12-2004, 08:27 PM
hi blumoon,winsor newton sell a galeria acrylic pad with a textured suface ,i bought a 16x12 pad recently but haven't used it as yet ,hopefully will this weekend,reasonably priced also .it's 140lbs[300 grms]
regards welshman

05-13-2004, 03:14 AM
Wow, you guys are full of tips . . . glad I asked. I have lots of WC paper and I may try the gessoing idea. It sounds intriguing, especially with the acrylic pumice medium. Also, I am sure I have some illustration board stashed-can anybody tell me why I bought that ten years ago? :p I will do some experimenting. Thanks all so much for sharing your ideas. :D