Primer for Acrylic Paint: Top Quality Gesso for Prime Canvas 2023

Gesso confidently creates a protective barrier between canvas and paint, preventing discoloration and damage. So you need a right gesso that will properly adhere to your chosen surface and provide a smooth finish.

This article has everything you need to know about choosing best primer for acrylic paint, including:

Remember – Using gesso as a primer is crucial in preventing paint issues like cracking and yellowing over time. So it is a good idea to invest for the best one at a time.

Ready? Let’s get started…

Compare 4 Best Gesso for Acrylic Paint

Product Features Smooth finish
Liquitex Professional white Gesso MediumGood adhesion, good coverage, flexible, water-resistantGreat
Golden artistic canvas primer white GessoDurable, good adhesion, water resistantGreat
Winsor & Newton Galeria White GessoWater resistant, durable, good adhesion Great
Grumbacher Artist white  GessoFlexible, water resistant, good adhesion Great

The gesso is also great for wood panel priming, in a different article I explain this. You can check.

Top 4 Prime Canvas Gesso: 10 Seconds Summary

All of these brands are reputable and popular choices for gesso used in canvas preparation, so you can choose any one of them without confusion.

The best overall acrylic primer gesso is Liquitex Professional white Gesso. It is most used gesso among artists. This gesso is the most optimal option for flexible surface. Also dry faster than others.

Golden artistic canvas primer white Gesso is a premium product. It is best to make the canvas surface a smooth finish. Also easy to apply and have good coverage.

Winsor & Newton Galeria White Gesso is specialized with acrylic paint surface.

Grumbacher Artist white  Gesso provides a strong, durable surface same as W&N gesso. 

Top 4 Prime Canvas Gesso

Liquitex Professional white Gesso Medium – Best Overall

Liquitex is the most widely used primer in the industry, no artist could possibly be unaware of this renowned brand.

Liquitex Professional Gesso comes in 4 types: white, black, gray and transparent, with distinct properties that impact the painting’s outcome, from opacity to texture to color.

The professional-grade gesso boasts high quality and durability, resisting cracking, peeling, and yellowing to keep your artwork vibrant and long-lasting.

This medium is compatible with a wide range of media, including acrylics, oils, and watercolors.

Dry very fast; each layer take 20-60 minutes to dry.

Pro tip: Liquitex Professional Gesso Surface Prep Medium is the ideal choice for artists looking to improve the longevity and quality of their paintings by combining it with other Liquitex products such as acrylic paints, mediums, and varnishes. their compatibility guarantees superior quality and durability for any painting.

The gesso is not limited to canvas priming, it serves a crucial role in painting. For example :

  1. Texture creation
  2. Surface repair
  3. Mixed media projects
  4. Make surface water resistance
  5. Sealant (clear gesso)

You can check for more information in manufacturer data sheets, here.

Pros of Liquitex Professional Gesso:

  • Enhances adhesion
  • Versatility
  • Smooth finish
  • Dries quickly
  • Easy to use
  • Protects the surface
  • low odor and is non-toxic
  • Improves durability
  • Reduces absorption

Cons of Liquitex Professional Gesso

  • Not suitable for all surfaces (plastic, metal)
  • Can be difficult to remove (If apply multiple layer and dry)
  • Can crack over time (if apply thick layer in one time)

Golden artistic canvas primer Gesso

Golden artistic canvas primer Gesso guarantees a flawlessly smooth surface, an absolute must for intricate and refined fine art paintings.

Golden is a reputable brand. Choose between two forms of Golden Artistic Canvas Primer Gesso – white and black. Both are commonly used as a smooth base layer for painting.

It is highly compatible with various paints and mediums, including acrylics, oils, watercolors, and gouache, making it the ultimate choice for versatile artists.

Golden Gesso is also very compatible with similar brand acrylic paint. Use GOLDEN Heavy Body Acrylics, Fluid Acrylics, Matte Fluid Acrylics, or High Load Acrylics to tint GOLDEN Gesso. For the closest match in pigment load, sheen, and viscosity, go with High Load Acrylics. To minimize changes to the Gesso, choose Matte Fluid Acrylics. Remember to apply both Gesso and High Load Acrylics thinly to prevent cracking. You can check manufacture recommendation.

The Gesoo is incredibly suitable for:

  1. Add texture
  2. Prime non-porous surfaces
  3. As a sealant
  4. Correct paint mistakes
  5. Ceate a toned ground
  6. Create a mixed media surface
  7. As a sealant
  8. Create a toned ground
  9. Create a mixed media surface

Pros for Golden artistic canvas primer Gesso

  • Enhances paint adhesion
  • Increases durability
  • Creates a uniform surface
  • Can be used on multiple surfaces
  • Non-toxic and environmentally friendly
  • Provides a base for a variety of mediums
  • Can be mixed with paint
  • Improves appearance
  • Protects the canvas
  • Can be used for restoration

Cons for Golden artistic canvas primer Gesso

  • May not be duitable for all surfaces(plastic)
  • Can be difficult to remove (after dry)

Winsor & Newton Galeria White Gesso

Without a doubt, Winsor & Newton reigns as a trusted industry leader for 200 years, consistently delivering top-tier art supplies.

Using gesso is essential for improving paint adhesion, and Winsor & Newton Galeria White Gesso is the best choice for superior and long-lasting results.

This gesso confidently dries to a bright white, ensuring a clean slate for artists, while remaining neutral to avoid any color interference.

The gesso is applied as well

  1. Preparing surfaces for painting: 
  2. Creating texture
  3. Priming canvases
  4. Correcting mistakes
  5. Adding opacity
  6. Creating a base for mixed media
  7. Sealing surfaces
  8. Enhancing the texture

Pros of Winsor & Newton Galeria White Gesso

  • High-Quality
  • Versatile
  • Dries Quickly
  • Bright White
  • Provides Excellent Adhesion
  • Easy to Use
  • Resists Yellowing
  • Can be Tinted
  • Provides Texture
  • Compatible with Various Media
  • Improves Paint Consistency
  • Protects the Surface

Cons of Winsor & Newton Galeria White Gesso

  • Dry too quickly and can leave brush marks or streaks.
  • Not adhere well to some surfaces such as metal or plastic.
  • Crack or peel off if applied too thickly or on flexible surfaces.

Grumbacher Artist Gesso

Grumbacher Artist Gesso confidently prepares surfaces for painting with its smooth and absorbent white opaque primer, perfect for acrylic, oil, and watercolor painting.

Grumbacher Artist Gesso is a versatile tool for artists, allowing them to create texture, dimension, and depth in their paintings through the use of multiple coats and various techniques.

Grumbacher Artist Gesso is suitable for various applications. Example:

  1. Priming
  2. Sealing 
  3. Creating Texture
  4. Correcting Mistakes
  5. Making Colors Pop
  6. Protecting Artwork
  7. Painting with Different Mediums
  8. Preparing for Mixed Media
  9. Enhancing Contrast
  10. Creating a Base for Sketching

Pros of Grumbacher Artist Gesso

  • Enhances paint adhesion
  • increases durability
  • creates a uniform surface
  • non-toxic and environmentally friendly
  • provides a base for a variety of mediums
  • can be mixed with paint
  • improves appearance
  • protects the canvas
  • can be used for restoration

Cons of Grumbacher Artist Gesso

  • It may crack or peel if applied too thickly or unevenly
  • It may not adhere well to some surfaces such as metal or plastic

Choosing Gesso for Acrylic Paint: Buyer Guide

Quality: The quality of gesso determines the outcome of painting. Use high-quality gesso with a smooth texture for optimal adhesion.

Versatility: Gesso is incredibly versatile, allowing it to create texture, add depth, and provide a solid base layer for acrylics.

Compatibility: Ensure compatibility by selecting gesso suitable for acrylic paints. Be aware that some gessos are tailored for oil paints and may not be effective for acrylics. However, the above-mentioned gesso are very suitable for acrylic paint. So don’t worry. 

Drying Time: Take control of your painting process by carefully considering the drying time of your gesso. Don’t let quick-drying or slow-drying gessos disrupt your workflow or hinder your color blending. Drying between 1-2 hours is the sweet spot. Choose wisely for a smoother painting experience.

Price: Be confident in your purchase of gesso by considering both its quality and performance in relation to your budget. Today the average gesso price is between $16-32.

Texture: Choose the right gesso to achieve the desired texture in your painting, whether smooth or coarse.

Brand: Choose a reputable and reliable brand of gesso by considering their unique features, qualities, reputation, and reviews from other artists. Liquitex, Golden, W&N and Grumbacher are already reputable brand.

Color: Choose a colored or neutral gesso base with confidence based on your painting’s needs. Gesso’s primary color is white and then also available black and gray. 

Size: Gesso comes in various sizes and it affects price, so choose wisely and calculate cost-effectiveness before purchasing.

About the Author

Shojib Hoq

My name is Shojib, and painting has been my passion since childhood, and it still holds a special place in my heart. I absolutely adore the process of painting, pouring, and creating crafts.