Can You Use Acrylic Paint On Sketchbook Paper? Advantages+Disadvantages

There can be tables of discussion on the topic. Some of my colleagues believe you can draw sketchbooks with acrylics, while others suggest avoiding using paint over such kinds of paper. So what’s the conclusion? Can you use acrylic paint on the sketchbook or not?

Here in this blog article, we’ll have a look at different aspects and talk about the upper and lower hands of drawing sketchbooks with acrylics. So read the post thoroughly and decide the best for your upcoming painting project.

Can You Use Acrylic Paint on Sketchbook Paper?

Yes, you can use acrylic paint on sketchbook paper. The paint sticks well to paper and retains vibrant color. However, you will need to be careful about the dilution of paint. If the paint is too much thin or diluted, meaning it contains more water, it will cause the paper to get flexed or wrinkled. So better not add too much water to the paint, or you’ll end up ruining your art.

What Type Of Paper Used For Acrylic Painting?

We know acrylic paint is a water-based color, so the paper you’re planning to draw on must withstand the paint’s moisture. Most of the papers are sensitive to liquids and get wrinkles or flexes. So we recommend you choose a quality and compatible paper type. Some of the most commonly used acrylic paint papers include:

  • Sketchbook paper
  • Hot press paper
  • Cold press paper
  • Heavyweight paper
  • Grain paper

A thicker paper is preferred by most artists when it comes to using acrylics. The reason is apparent; thicker paper can withstand the paint’s moisture while thin one has a chance of getting warps.

If you’re not able to draw directly on sketchbook paper, an alternative is sticking your drawing with sketchbook paper using tape. First, you must paint on sturdy surfaces like cardstock and then attach it to the sketchbook paper with glue or tape.

Heavyweight paper:

Heavyweight paper is ideal while using acrylics for your paintings. The paper is synthesised using thick cellulose layers and can bear heavy coats of paint. Moreover, it holds up to the weight of acrylic paint.

Can you use acrylic paint in a sketchbook made with heavyweight paper? Yes, but before you draw your paintings, make sure to attach the paper to the sketchbook with a strong adhesive so that the paper doesn’t fall.

Watercolour paper And mixed-media paper:

Another option is a watercolour paper which is a good choice while dealing with acrylics. The paper is mainly designed to absorb water and dry out the paint. Moreover, it is much cheaper than a sketchbook. 

But it has some drawbacks. It has a non-uniform surface and regular bumps. So if you want a smooth and steady surface, the paper is not for you.

Hot Pressed paper:

Can you paint on sketchbook paper that is hot-pressed? Yes, it is perfect for drawing a variety of patterns, landscapes, and abstract art. It’s a bit expensive, and you have to spend extra compared to a sketchbook.

Moreover, the paper is not much flexible and can be split into parts. So be careful while handling and using this hot press paper for acrylic painting.

Cold-pressed paper and grain paper:

Cold press and grain papers are recommended when you want some background texture. They have a granular structure and are perfect to be used with acrylic paint.

Can you paint on sketch paper that is cold-pressed? Well, the downside is you’ll be deprived of drawing fine details or smooth lines. So go for this paper if you have nothing to do with extreme details.

Pros and Cons of Sketchbook Acrylic Painting

Acrylic paints are no doubt one of the most widely used paints. They are usable over a variety of surfaces and provide promising results. Moreover, they can be applied in many ways and are better than other mediums in many aspects.

Some of the benefits and flaws of utilising acrylic paint on sketchbook paper are discussed below:


  • Acrylics are easily cleanable and non-toxic to animals and humans.
  • Compared to other paints, acrylics are much cheaper and affordable.
  • Different colours and varieties of acrylics are available in the market easily.
  • One of their upper hands as they dry faster. It allows you to draw over painted surfaces and paint layers over layers.
  • Acrylics are permanent; once they are dried, they hardly fade.
  • They can be used to produce multiple effects and tones.


  • Unfortunately, acrylics are not designed to adhere to every kind of surface. Even if you stick it to a non-compatible surface, with time, it will peel out.
  • Acrylics are dense and somehow thicker than watercolours, so acrylic paint can be seen on sketchbook pages underlying.

Can You Apply Acrylic Paint On Ordinary Paper?

Usually, you can use acrylic paint on regular paper, but as you know, the paint is quite dense and thicker than watercolours, so thin paper can’t bear the heavy weight of acrylic paint, causing it to get flex or wrinkle. Moreover, normal paper is not much absorbent, so you have to wait longer for acrylics to dry.

So can you paint in a sketchbook having ordinary paper? Well, yes, you can by coating the paper with a primer such as gesso prime. It ensures a fence between the paper and the coating of the paint. It prevents your paint from oozing through the paper.

Can You Apply Acrylic Paint On a Watercolor Paper?

Yes, you can use acrylic paint on watercolour paper. But make sure you’re aware of the properties of watercolour paper. If not, let us clear you. The paper is highly water absorbent which means your paint will be dried quickly. 

Additionally, the paper always has a possibility of getting curls or splits. So be careful and apply the paint gently.

Can You Apply Acrylic Paint On a Canvas?

Yes, acrylic can be applied over the canvas. It’s an ideal surface to paint with. Paintings can be manipulated and blended easily with canvas. Moreover, they are resistant to damage by moisture as compared to paper, so that you can add water to your acrylics whenever you are required to thin down the paint.

Better to buy a quality canvas. So that the paint doesn’t seep through the surface and ruins your art.

Are Sketchbooks For Acrylic Paint Suitable?

The question is out of the ‘Yes’ zone as not a single answer is satisfactory to the question. It relies on your way of painting and handling the sketchbook.

If you’re planning to apply thick layers and your painting needs thick acrylics, heavyweight paper is ideal then. Moreover, watercolour paper can replace heavyweight paper as well.

For smooth art and even finish, you would like to try a hot press paper sketchbook. While for a textured surface, you can use a cold press or grain paper.

Ultimately, all this depends on your choice, requirements, and preference. You are the artist, and you should choose the best for you.

Best Paper For Acrylic Painting:

Now that we have learned about different paper types and their interaction with acrylics. The next step is buying quality, or you can say, the best sketchbook for acrylic painting.

We know there is a number of papers based on surface type, thickness, and adherence. Let’s explore some of the best ones among them.

Canson Artist Series Montval Acrylic Pad:

Canson Artist Series Montval Acrylic Pad is one of the best options for those looking for flex-free and flat paper for their acrylic paintings. It contains heavy-weight paper, which is highly absorbent. Moreover, the thickness of the paper makes it wrinkle-free and sturdy, which allows you to handle the pad roughly without the fear of damage to the paper, like splits and curls.

The paper is acid-free and helps you archive your favourite, and hardly painted art last longer. The raw white colour is free of additives and gives you a feel of canvas.

We recommend that beginners try this pad as it’s inexpensive and worth buying.

Arches Watercolor Pad:

Arches watercolour pad is great to be used with watercolours, and is one of the best acrylic painting sketchbooks. It has a bumpy surface preventing your paint from seeping through the paper.

The pad weighs 140 pounds making it solid enough to defy damage. Twelve sheets of paper are incorporated at the top. Moreover, the paper has no acidic elements and lasts longer.

It’s expensive compared to and should be used by intermediate artists.

The Fabriano Artistico 140 lb. Cold Press 20 Sheet Block:

The Fabriano Artistico 140 lb. Cold Press 20 Sheet Block is another acrylic sketch book consisting of high-quality white papers. It can be utilised for many paint jobs, projects, and acrylic arts.

The white pages are free of additives and give a brighter look as compared. The block possesses 20 pages overall, which are acid and lignin free.

The Mixed Media Pad Sketchbook:

The Mixed Media Pad Sketchbook is ideal for precise details and delicate lining as it has a smooth and even surface. It is perfect to be used with dry and wet colours. 

The pad is designed to let the pages remain flat so that you’re convenient while painting. The set comes with three sketchbook books. Each book has 30 acid-free pages.

Watercolour paper pad cold press paper:

Watercolor paper pad cold press paper is preferred due to its varying sizes. It comes in a pocket edition and can be carried with you—best for artists fond of teaching paintings.

Both moist and dry colours can be applied over the white acid-free sheets of the pad. The sheets are resistant to changing colour with time and are highly absorbent.

Arteza Acrylic Pad:

Arteza Acrylic Paint Sketchbook Pad is suitable to be used with acrylics. The paper composition promises incredible results and durability.

The surface is absorbent but not smooth as compared. You’ll get your paints dried out in no time, which is beneficial if you’re planning to draw painting over multiple coats.

The pad comes in different sizes according to the customer’s demands.

This acrylic sketchbook has 16 to 20 sheets resistant to warps and wrinkles.

The Strathmore 400 Series Watercolor Pad:

The Strathmore 400 Series Watercolor Pad is perfect for watercolour mainly but can be drawn with inks, acrylics, or other mediums. The pages are bright white and cold-pressed, designed especially for fine details.

This one of the best sketchbooks for painting comes in a category of sizes. Usually, 12 sheets of paper are there on a pad. 

What Surfaces Can Be Painted Using Acrylic Paint?

Acrylic paints are designed to adhere to any surface, but the bonding with different surfaces varies. As we know, the polymer used in acrylic is suspended in water molecules, so the surface must be absorbent in order to get desired results. Some of the common surfaces are discussed below.

  • Canvas is one of the primary choices for any artist working with acrylics. The reason for their versatile features. Canvas can be drawn with paints other than acrylics, and the results are never disappointing. They are wrinkle-free and flat. They are good absorbent as well. Moreover, they are hardly susceptible to breakage under moisture. 
  • Paper is a good choice when it comes to drawing, teaching, and learning. Professionals mostly prefer it as they are a bit sensitive as compared. 

Paper can be of wide varieties, including cold and hot press, heavyweight, mixed media, watercolour paper, etc. The best practice is to read the buyer’s instructions before drawing over a specific paper.

  • Wood is not much preferred by most acrylic painters as it’s quite a complicated drawing on a woody surface. But if you’re planning to paint wood, better to make the surface smoother with a sander and use a primer. Moreover, sealing the painted surface prevents it from scratches.
  • Glass is perfect if you want your acrylic paint to get a lustrous finish. The surface is smooth and refined details can be drawn. But the lower hand of using a glass surface is the weak adherence of acrylics to glass. It can be overwhelmed by baking the paint or using a primer and sealer.
  • Metal is one of the best choices if you want your final acrylic painting to get a shiny touch. The adherence to metal is not that bad. But still, primer is recommended to be used before the application. Moreover, a metal surface is ideal when it comes to drying the paint. It helps with drying quickly due to its heat-absorbing capacity.
  • Plastic can be painted with acrylics in a variety and satisfactory ways. Plastic is suitable for those who want to try a unique surface. Moreover, it’s readily available and convenient to find out. However, sealing acrylic paint on plastic materials is necessary.

No worries about what surface you choose; it all depends on expertise and preferences. Some are good with drawing on smooth tops, while others prefer a textured one.

Tips and Tricks Of Painting On Sketchbook Paper with Acrylics

While painting on a sketchbook with acrylics, the fundamental role is played by the paper. Choosing the correct kind of paper results in a desirable finish. We are going to assist you in this matter with a few tips:

  • Heavyweight paper is designed to hold up to the thick acrylic paint and resist wrinkles and flexes. Moreover, it helps in the extraction of moisture from the paint.
  • Watercolour paper is helpful for a smooth and even finish. They are preferred when the objective is detailing.
  • Hot press paper is excellent for a bright and glossy look.
  • Acrylic painting in paper that is cold pressed is advised if you want a kind of texture.
  • No matter what paper to use, it’s always recommended to use a primer to enhance durability.

How To Prepare Paper For Painting With Acrylic? Step By Step

After you’re done with selecting a specific paper for your acrylic painting, the next round is preparing the paper for drawing. A few tips from experts can help you with this preparation:

  • Draw a rough design using a pencil or draw margins to cover a usable surface. It helps you with selecting colors and mediums.
  • Stick your paper to the pad or sketchbook with glue or tape. It ensures flatness and eliminates wrinkles while painting.
  • Apply a thin layer of primer-like gesso over the paper to ensure the smoothness of the surface. It can be done using a roller or a fine hair brush.
  • Let the primer dry thoroughly before you go for further procedures. The paper is ready to accept paints now.

Can We Apply Acrylic Paint Over Watercolor Paper?

We are aware of the versatile nature of acrylic paints. They can be used over a variety of papers and surfaces. The same applies to watercolor paper. But the paper has some flaws when it comes to drawing them with acrylics. Watercolor paper is thin, and the paint may seep through the page and ruin your hard work. 

Additionally, the thin paper can’t withstand the thick paint and may get warps and splits. So better to use watercolors over watercolor paper instead of acrylics.

Painting Ideas On Paper

  • You can extract endless ideas from your brain and put them onto paper; there is no limit. The most crucial things to consider are skills and expertise. You can paint acrylic on paper with almost every possible drawing.
  • Design a landscape with a realistic approach, like valleys, mountains, forests, deserts, and so on.
  • You would like to try a self-portrait or plan to draw a portrait of someone you love. 
  • You can try abstract art as well. Acrylics can be blended in several fetching ways to give a distinctive look to your abstract art. Here is how to blend acrylic paint.
  • Draw textures with different colours and discover new ways of painting.
  • You can design green lands, deserts, forests, flowers, flowing rivers, and trees. It depends on your skills and painting styles.


Can you use acrylic paint on drawing paper?

Yes, you can use drawing paper for acrylic paints. But make sure to select heavyweight paper as it prevents the paint from seeping through the page. 

Which paint is best for paper?

The best paint for paper is acrylic paint. It adheres firmly to the surface and lasts longer. Moreover, it can be manipulated in a number of ways to draw different paintings.

What is the best way to prime paper for acrylic paint?

Priming a paper before painting is a vital step. The paper can be primed using a fine hair brush with gesso or some other quality prime. It makes the surface even and symmetrical. Make sure to leave the surface to dry before you paint over it.

How do you keep acrylic paint from bleeding through paper?

To prevent the acrylics from bleeding through the page of a paper, it’s advised to use heavyweight paper. It’s specifically designed to manage the paint flow and stay flat and clean. Additionally, apply a good quality primer to the surface to make it more durable.

Can I use watercolor paper for acrylic paint?

Yes, watercolour paper can be used for acrylics. But the paper is thin and susceptible to damage. The thick paint may create bends in the paper, spoiling your overall painting.

What can I use if I don’t have a gesso?

If gesso is not available, there is an alternative to cover the problem. Just apply a thin coat of white acrylic pigment over the surface and wait for enough for its dry before starting the sketch.

How do you seal acrylic paint on paper?

Acrylic paint can be sealed using a good quality sealer. First of all, let the painted surface dry completely. Apply a thin layer of sealer smoothly using a brush, and wait for it to get dry before handling further.

Can you use acrylic paint on mixed media paper?

Yes, acrylic paint is compatible with mixed-media paper. The paper is made for a variety of mediums, whether they are dry or wet. But make sure to prime the surface before you apply acrylic paint.


Can you use acrylic paint on sketchbook paper? Yes, it is possible. So we can finalise that you can use acrylic paint on sketchbook book paper. But with the right knowledge and consideration of all the essential factors, the results can be much more effective than expected. All such factors are widely discussed in the article.

Thank you for reading!

Jose Scott

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