10 Essential Tools for the Canvas Artist

10 Essential Tools Every Canvas Artist Should Have

As a canvas artist, your craft is only made better with the tools to advance it. Canvas artists need more than just a blank canvas and some paint to create their works of art – and choosing the right tools is often daunting. Whether you’re new to designing on canvas or an experienced artist, having the right tools can make all the difference.

The Right Paint

No matter if you’re a digital artist creating modern-style artwork or a traditional artist crafting a portrait, the paint is one of the most important tools of your trade. Oil paints are the most popular option for painting on canvas, as they accept many thin layers of paint and provide a rich range of textures. Additionally acrylic paints are gaining popularity and are often preferred due to their many colors, low toxicity, and ease of cleanup. Watercolors can also be used to create unique paintings on canvas, although more experienced artists tend to use them in combination with other paints for a dynamic results.

Cleaning and Maintenance Products

Having the right products available to care for your canvas and brushes is essential, especially for long-term projects. Use a quality brush cleaner to remove the build up of paint and a soft cloth to wipe it down before and after submerged in solvent. Having a good-quality cloth handy for your artworks is important too, as it can be used for cleaning up spills or wiping down the canvas before beginning.

Stretchers and Frames

Stretchers and frames provide the backbone to any painting and need to be chosen wisely depending on the type of artwork. Stretchers are an easy to use wooden or metal system that support the canvas from behind, whereas frames provide a bonus of elegance and can add a little extra character to any piece.

Design and Drafting Supplies

Drafting and design supplies are essential for layout and planning prior to the painting process. Creating sketches and designs can help you to focus your ideas and make them come alive on the canvas. A set of graphite pencils, rulers and erasers are great for drafting and sketching, and can make a great addition to your canvas artist’s toolkit.

Statement Tools

Making a statement with your artwork is easy with the right tools. Palette knives are great for abstract and impressionist styles, and can transform typical canvases into something entirely unique. Palette knives come in various shapes and sizes and range from soft to hard, meaning they are perfect for a range of canvas art styles.

Brushes and Color Delivery

High-quality brushes come in a variety of shapes, sizes and materials, and they’re a must have item for any canvas artist. Natural hair bristles provide the best performance when painting on canvas and allow you to work efficiently. In addition to natural hair bristles, artist-grade synthetic brushes can also do the trick. Additionally, it’s important to have the right color delivery tools, such as ai glass bottle, mini cup, and other tools, such as a cleaning medium for your brushes.

Canvas Primers and Gesso

Gesso is a primer that prepares the canvas for painting and helps stop the paint from absorbing into the canvas. It also gives the painting a white base on which to build your image. For acrylic paint, gesso is essential for long-lasting paintings, as the paint can be applied directly to the primed canvas and create more vibrant colors that last.

Finishing Tools

Once you’ve completed a work of art, it’s important to secure the finished product with the right tools. Matt and gloss varnishes will protect the canvas from dirt and dust, while a UV varnish can be used to further protect your work from fading. Wax brushes, canvas scrapers and sandpaper blocks are also vital finishing tools.

Storage and Display

The right storage and display tools are needed for any canvas art collection. Stretchers and frames are essential for mounting and displaying artwork, while a library or storage rack can organize and present them for customers or for showing off your work. Having a portfolio case to transport your artwork is also important should you need to take your work with you.


These 10 must-have tools for canvas artists are the perfect way to get your work seen and create all sorts of amazing art. From paint to canvas primers and frames, the right materials are essential for producing high-quality paintings, sketches and other artwork. Whether you’re a digital artist or a traditional artist, having the right tools can make all the difference.