top of page

Choosing Supports for a Variety of Media.

Hi Guys,

Thanks for dropping in. This week after chatting with my students about what they wanted help with over the half term break, they decided it would be helpful to have a guide for choosing supports and papers to go with a variety of different media. So apologies this post may look a little dull but it will be packed with good tips I ll get it out to you and make it pretty later.

So choosing a support is a personal decision for each artist so there are no hard and exact rules only guidelines. Below I have divided the post into different basic media choices these being





Mixed Media


When looking for a support for painting with watercolour pigment one is usually thinking about different papers.

this usually comes in

Hot pressed

This paper in made by pushing it through hot rollers and it has a smooth finish. The watercolour tends to stay on the surface of the paper and because of this stays workable for longer. Great for creating lots of glazed layers. Has the smoothness of heavy cartridge paper.

Not surface This is not smooth but not rough either, its inbetween.

Cold pressed

This is a rough textured surface which creates a welled surface.the watercolour paint soaks readiy into the surface and because of this dries quickly and the surface is open to work with for a shorter time.

Each of these papers is sold in different weights [thicknesses]

90lb thin watercolour paper is suitable for small test paintings but will require pre stretching to avoid cockling in the picture plane when made wet.

140lb paper is a medium weight paper and again will be suitable for small works but will need pre stretching .

300lb paper is my favorite weight and requires no stretching as it is unlikely to move and buckle when wet.

These papers can be bought in sheets or pads. Sometimes these are sold in gummed pads that require no board behind them as in the gummed Arches pad. Paper is like most things in life you get what you pay for.


Supports for Pastel tend to be papers either sold in sheets or pads.

Pastel paper requires a tooth to the surface.

Thickness of paper tends to be 90lb or above.

It is often sold in different ground colours.

Some artists prefer to use a sandpaper textured paper such as Canson that hols many layers of pastel with little pastel dust shedding.

You are able to make your own Pastel paper by priming a good 90lb paper or mount board with a colour of your choice and clear pastel primer.


Supports for Acrylic are varied, from a good thick smooth Snowdon Cartridge paper, mount board,Canvas or Canvas backed board.

Acrylic is easy to apply to most primed surfaces use a good Gesso primer.


Oil is very versatile and can be applied to Primed heavy paper, Oil paper, Prepared primed mountboard, hard board, ply board, multimedia board, Canvas , canvas board, Linen and Linen covered board.


Supports for a multimedia approach, I suggest would be the same as for oil. Be sure to remember oil layers can be added over Acrylic, but Acrylic will peel off applied over an oil layer.

I hope this helps clarify things for you all. I hope you find time to paint in your halfterm.

much love everyone, I will post soon...

54 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All
bottom of page