I get a lot of questions about pastes and paints and things – today I want to take a moment to chat about gesso. Think of it as primer or thin white paint. You’d put it down before you got working, or use it when you want a very smooth blendable white paint someplace. Generally speaking, I don’t like it for anything that has me wanting significant texture or full thick coverage. Generally speaking, white paint will work just as well.
I use gesso for:
- primer/base layer on art journaling pages
- primer/base layer on canvas projects
- base for watercolor projects where I want to be able to blend a ton
- cover metal and plastic embellishments I want to re-color
- in small amount for a streak/bit of white paint effect without a lot of wet medium
- to mix with mist/color medium for a loose color wash paint
When doing side-by-side tests I could really see a difference in quality and effect for what I do with different brands. There are two stand-out favorites that are my recommended choices:
Art Basics Heavy Gesso (Prima Marketing)
This product is heavy, meaning it is quite thick and works great with stencils – the only gesso that I like with stencils. It is great mixed with color mediums, but because it is thick it is not a great choice for a thin primer layer in my art journal.
Dina Wakley Media Gesso (Ranger Ink)
This is my go-to for my art journal, and of the thin/traditional gessos it was by far and away the best. Love that it is small, and in a little tube for easy use.
Here are links to videos of my two favorite gessos:
Got questions? Ask away! I’m happy to chat with you about this or any other medium. I will continue my mixed media explorations on YouTube as well.