Drawing the Lines: Canvas vs. Paper Explored

Canvas vs. Paper: Which is Better for Drawing?

Drawing is the universal language of entertaining and expressing ideas and emotions. Whether you’re a professional artist or a total beginner, that doesn’t matter. Finding the right drawing supplies can make all the difference when it comes to quality artwork, so knowing the differences between canvas and paper is essential.

The Basics of Paper and Canvas

Paper is the classic choice for drawing and has been around for centuries. It’s not just for writing or sketching on either. There are literally thousands of different types of paper out there that range from heavyweight boards to paper that is roughly as thin as tissue. Canvas, on the other hand, is an artist-grade fabric that is treated with an oil- or acrylic-based primer. This makes it suitable for oils and acrylics, as well as other mediums. The genus term for this type of material is oil canvas, and it’s one of the most popular choices for professional painters.

Pros of Paper for Drawing

Paper is one of the most popular choices for drawing for a number of reasons. Here are just a few of the benefits to using paper:


Paper is the most affordable option for most people, since it is one of the easiest materials to make and acquire. A simple pad of paper will only cost a few dollars, allowing people to create more artwork with less investment of money.


Paper is also much lighter than canvas, so it is much easier to carry around. This makes it easier to draw outdoors or while travelling than canvas.


Paper is incredibly versatile and can be used as a support for almost any drawing material, including pencils, graphite, markers, charcoal, and more. There are also a wide range of papers specifically designed for different mediums, from sketchbooks to charcoal paper.

Ease of Use

Paper is also an incredibly easy medium to use, since it doesn’t require any special preparation or care. It’s also easy to erase mistakes, allowing for a more free-flowing creative process.

Pros of Canvas for Drawing

Canvas offers artists a unique range of possibilities that paper just can’t match. Here are a few of the benefits:


Canvas is much more durable than paper, so your artwork is more likely to last a long time. The primer on the canvas also helps protect the artwork from dust and dirt, as well as humidity and other environmental factors.


Canvas has a much more textured surface than paper, which can help give artworks a more realistic feel. This can be combined with the use of pastels, chalks, and other mediums to give amazing visual depth.


Canvas also offers the ability to stretch the material across a wooden frame. This ensures that the artwork is flat and taught, which can help prevent any accidental damage and warping over time.


Canvas is also great for creating more contemporary and modern art due to its durability and texture. This can be a great opportunity to experiment and break out from the more traditional styles of paper drawing.

Making Your Choice

At the end of the day, paper and canvas both have their own advantages and disadvantages. With the right combination of supplies and skill, it is possible to create stunning artwork with both mediums. If you’re looking for something that is affordable and easy to use, paper is the way to go. But if you’re looking for something more durable and contemporary, canvas is the way to go. The choice is yours to make.