EXCLUSIVE creative tips and lessons

SUPPORTS & PAPER Jan Poynter © 2011

MEDIUM (Media) = the carrier for color or pigment.  (ie: crayon, pastel, gum Arabic, linseed oil, polymer fluid…)
Dry Media:                  Graphite / Wax Color pencil / Charcoal / Conte / Pastel
Wet Media:                 Ink / Watercolor / Gouache / Acrylic Paint / Oil Paint
Encaustic:                    Wax + pigment
Mixed Media:             a combination of any mediums
Acrylic Paint:              polymer based – heavy body, fluid & liquid with pigment
Polymer Medium:       polymer without pigment – various viscosity
Oil Paint:                     Spirit based – with pigment.


Archival papers – high cotton/rag content/acid free
For drawing, printmaking, watercolor, pastel, colored papers (prime for wet media)

Mat board – high cotton/rag content / acid free / drawing, pastel (prime for wet media)

Illustration Board – acid free / drawing, pen & ink, watercolor (Bristol board is unmounted)

Canvas on Board – Acrylic & oil paint, mixed media (low cost – could use another coat of primer)

Canvas – Cotton vs  Linen – Acrylic & oil paint, mixed media (prime)

Board – Acrylic & oil paint, mixed media (prime)

Cradle Panel – Acrylic & oil paint, mixed media (prime)

LAYOUT tools

  • Drawing, tracing or transfer of your image
  • Watercolor crayon
  • Tracing paper
  • Graphite or color wax transfer paper (Saral)
  • Watercolor crayons
  • Projector
  • Print enlargement


  • Contains more chalky pigment than white acrylic paint – stronger opaque coverage
  • Seals the canvas, wood or paper from paint and moisture
  • Creates a durable surface that bonds with acrylic or oil paints
  • Creates a toothy, grainy finish (as opposed to acrylic paint which is plastic and smooth when dry)
  • Absorbant and sensitive to wet media (acrylic paint repels water when dry)
  • Can be used as a “carrier” for textural additives (ie: pumice, sand, fibre etc)
  • Can be sanded and recoated with thin layers for a fine, smooth finish – more control for fine detail
  • Can be tinted with acrylic paint or black gesso used for dark ground base
  • Should be used to cover old painting to reuse canvas. Clean the painting surface well before re-coating.

NOTE:   Oil paint always OVER  acrylic gesso or paint. NEVER  acrylic paint or acrylic gesso over oil.
Risk of flaking or cracking of paint application as there will be no bond, less adhesion between layers

More give for brush action
Woven texture or primed smooth
lighter than board/panelflexible (wrapped or curved shapes)
rolls up for storage
ready to hang
restricted to stretcher size/shape
fragile – can be torn or pierced
stapled or wrapped
Cotton Duck – economical
Linen – more durable & resists mold and dirt – expensive.
More paint response – less giveFine details on smooth finish
no woven texture
rigid carrier for thick or brittle media
can be cut, cropped, shaped
takes us less space
needs to be framed or mountedDurable but heavy
more economical than canvas
All of the board/panel qualities
except cannot be trimmed/cut
can be hung without framing
less warp

Canvas or Board surface texture preparation:

  • Extra fine smooth surface: board with thin coats or canvas with multiple layers of gesso sanded between coats.
  • Smooth surface: canvas with gesso “fill” to woven texture, sanded. Board with gesso.
  • Regular woven surface: one coat pre-primed canvas
  • Pebbled (not woven) texture: gesso + molding paste rolled / one coat.
  • Heavy texture: gesso + molding paste – several coats with hairy roller.
  • Grainy broken surface: addition of pumice, sand or solid materials. Some pre-mixed gel mediums.


COLOR MIXING – Double Primary  

Check out a sample of my simple color mixing palette based on a Double Primary color wheel. Including simple directions for clean color mixing


COLOR MIXING – Hue & Value

Color and paint mixing samples with simple directions for your painting practice.


COLOR MIXING – Tinting with White and mixing Darks

Color and paint mixing samples with simple directions for your painting practice.