Best Acrylic Gesso: A Detailed Guide for Artists

Acrylic gesso is a primer that prepares surfaces for painting. Whether you’re new to painting or looking to refine your technique, understanding the different types of acrylic gesso can certainly impact your art. This guide gets into the details of five top-rated acrylic gessos, providing you need when deciding which to choose.

Best acrylic gesso for painting

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1. Liquitex Acrylic Gesso

Liquitex gesso for acrylic

Liquitex is a well-known brand in the art world, and their acrylic white gesso is a popular choice among artists for its quality and versatility. This gesso provides a smooth, non-yellowing surface that is perfect for both oil and acrylic paintings.


  • Smooth Application: Liquitex gesso spreads easily, creating a uniform surface.
  • Non-Yellowing: Ensures that your artwork retains its true colors over time.
  • Flexible: Dries to a flexible finish that prevents cracking.

Benefits: Liquitex gesso is great for creating textured surfaces that enhance your painting’s depth and detail. It can be applied with a brush, roller, or even a palette knife, giving you creative freedom in your preparation process.

Application Tips:

  • Preparation: Stir the gesso thoroughly before use to ensure an even consistency.
  • Application: Apply in thin, even layers. You can thin it with a little water if it feels too thick.
  • Drying: Allow each layer to dry completely before adding another. This usually takes about an hour.

Liquitex clear gesso works well for preserving drawings, as one can apply one or two coats over a completed drawing to maintain its integrity. This gesso also produces a texture that is excellent for dry mediums, creating a softer look. Its unique tooth makes it an excellent ground for pastels and helps restore the tooth to acrylic paintings that have become slick. Additionally, it's suitable for priming surfaces for oil paints, although it can be tough on brushes if not thinned.

2. Winsor & Newton Artists' Acrylic Gesso

winsor & newton acrylic gesso

Winsor & Newton’s gesso is another top-tier product, known for its excellent absorbency and durability. It comes in both white and clear versions, allowing artists to choose the best option for their needs.


  • High Absorbency: Perfect for oil and acrylic paints.
  • Durable Surface: Provides a strong foundation that enhances the longevity of your artwork.
  • Clear Version: Ideal for preserving underlying sketches or drawings.

Benefits: The high absorbency of Winsor & Newton gesso makes it particularly suitable for oil painting, as it helps the paint adhere better to the surface. The clear version is a fantastic option for artists who want to maintain visibility of preliminary sketches.

Application Tips:

  • Preparation: Shake or stir well before use to ensure the pigments are evenly distributed.
  • Application: Apply in thin coats. For a smoother finish, sand lightly between coats.
  • Drying: Each layer should dry for at least an hour before applying the next.

Winsor & Newton clear gesso is particularly beneficial for improving acrylic painting techniques. It allows for drawing and erasing on the canvas before applying the gesso, which can then be painted over without losing the visibility of the pencil marks. This feature helps artists perfect their compositions before committing to paint. The gesso also provides a great surface for pastels and charcoal, offering a good balance of absorbency and tooth.

3. Golden Acrylic Gesso

Golden acrylic gesso

Golden Acrylic Gesso is renowned for its exceptional quality and smooth application. It’s a favorite among professional artists who demand the best from their materials.


  • Creamy Texture: Provides excellent coverage with a smooth finish.
  • High Pigment Load: Ensures a strong, opaque surface.
  • Flexible Film: Prevents cracking and peeling.

Benefits: Golden gesso’s creamy texture and high pigment load make it a great choice for creating a perfect painting surface with fewer coats. The flexibility of the dried gesso ensures your artwork remains intact over time.

Application Tips:

  • Preparation: Stir thoroughly to mix the pigments and ensure a consistent texture.
  • Application: Use a brush or roller for an even application. Thin with water if necessary.
  • Drying: Allow to dry completely before applying additional coats or starting your painting.

Golden gesso is highly praised for its smooth application and ease of use. It provides an excellent surface for both oil and acrylic paintings. Artists will find that it sands down to a smooth finish, making it ideal for detailed work. The creamy consistency makes it satisfying to apply, and it doesn't run or drip, which is particularly useful for those who like to work on vertical surfaces.

4. Utrecht Professional Acrylic Gesso

Utrecht acrylic gesso

Utrecht Professional Acrylic Gesso is thick and absorbent, making it a great choice for artists who need a durable, long-lasting surface.


  • Thick Consistency: Provides a robust, absorbent surface.
  • High Flexibility: Prevents cracking over time.
  • Multi-Surface Application: Suitable for canvas, wood, and paper.

Benefits: The thick consistency of Utrecht gesso means it can fill in canvas textures and provide a solid base for painting. Its flexibility ensures that your artwork remains crack-free, even when subjected to environmental changes.

Application Tips:

  • Preparation: Mix well before use to ensure a uniform consistency.
  • Application: Apply with a brush or roller. You can thin it with water if it feels too thick.
  • Drying: Allow each coat to dry fully before applying the next.

Artists will appreciate Utrecht gesso for its thick consistency and ability to be thinned as needed. It’s particularly valued for creating a stable and flexible painting surface that holds up well over time. This gesso is also noted for its ability to prepare various surfaces, including wood and canvas, without the need for multiple coats, making it a time-saving option.

5. Blick Artists' Acrylic Gesso

Blick acrylic gesso

Blick Artists' Acrylic Gesso offers good opacity, tooth, adhesion, and water resistance at an economical price. It’s ideal for priming various surfaces, including canvas, wood, and paper.


  • Cost-Effective: Offers great quality at an affordable price.
  • Good Opacity: Provides a solid, opaque surface.
  • Toothy Texture: Helps paint adhere better to the surface.

Benefits: Blick gesso is a budget-friendly option that doesn’t compromise on quality. Its good opacity and toothy texture make it an excellent choice for both beginners and experienced artists.

Application Tips:

  • Preparation: Stir well before use to mix the pigments thoroughly.
  • Application: Apply in thin, even coats. You can thin it with a bit of water if needed.
  • Drying: Let each layer dry for at least an hour before applying the next.

Blick gesso can be appreciated for its reliability and effectiveness, especially given its cost. It’s noted for drying quickly, which can be advantageous for artists who need to work fast. However, some users mention that it may require a bit of sanding between coats to achieve a smoother finish. Its versatility makes it suitable for a wide range of surfaces, from canvas to wood panels.

Comparing The Best Acrylic Gessos

Let's sum it up in one paragraph. When comparing the top acrylic gessos, Liquitex is praised for its versatile smooth texture and ability to preserve underdrawings, making it ideal for mixed media. Winsor & Newton is noted for its strong absorbency and the clear version's ability to maintain visible sketches. Golden stands out for its creamy consistency and superior coverage, requiring fewer coats. Utrecht is valued for its thick, durable, and flexible surface. Blick offers good opacity and tooth at an economical price, though it may need sanding between coats for a smooth finish.

Best acrylic gesso

Choosing the right acrylic gesso is crucial for preparing your painting surface and ensuring your artwork stands out. Understanding the unique features and benefits of each gesso can help you make an informed decision that enhances your creative process. Whether you're a beginner or a professional, the right gesso will provide the foundation you need to bring your artistic vision to life.

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