Fine Art Paper vs Canvas (A Simple Comparison: The Difference Between Canvas & Fine Art Paper, & How To Choose Between Them)

Fine Art Paper vs Canvas; What Is the Difference Between Them


Canvas paintings and prints have much more texture than fine art paper.

Cotton, polyester, and linen (flax) are 3 popular fiber types used to make canvas art. But, some specialty fibers, such as hemp and jute, are also used for canvas surfaces.

I find a lot of companies are now using a poly-cotton canvas, which makes it very durable. This kind of canvas is capable of absorbing and holding onto color like a cotton canvas, but still gives the sharp and vibrant finish associated with a polyester canvas.

Fine Art Paper

Art prints and fine art prints are typically made with a type of fine art paper. This type of paper is very durable and is usually made with archival, acid-free cotton (or a cotton blend).

Fine art paper is usually matte and thick and can be smooth or lightly textured.

Compared to other papers used (like photo paper), galleries usually prefer fine art paper because it tends to last longer with less fading, cracking, and yellowing.

Fine art paper can have a lifespan of 100+ years.

Is Canvas Better Than Paper?

Generally speaking, canvas works are typically worth more than those on paper and paintings are often at higher values than sketches or a print.

So, monetarily, canvas paintings win most of the time.

However, most people are stuck when trying to decide whether they want to buy a canvas print or a paper print. So, let’s look at the difference between the two.

Canvas Prints

I really enjoy buying canvas prints when I’m buying a reproduction of handmade artwork. The texture and pattern of the canvas really does make a print of a painting look even more artistic.

Canvas prints also weigh much less than framed prints, so they’re more suitable for rooms such as nurseries and kids’ rooms.

You can also put most canvas prints in a bathroom. For more information about this, check out my post: Are Canvas Prints Suitable for Bathrooms?

Another great thing about canvas prints is that there’s no glare/reflection bouncing off the artwork.

Fine Art Paper Prints

One thing about paper prints is that you’ll probably want it framed since it’ll make it look more like fine art and less like a poster. (You can save a ton of money by buying an inexpensive, but high-quality, frame with matting on Amazon).

I tend to choose paper prints when I want to buy photographs. Paper prints definitely show more detail than canvas, and you really want to see the finer details in photography.

I also tend to buy framed paper prints when the artwork is in black and white, but that’s just a personal preference.

Does Canvas Art Look Cheap?

Whether or not your canvas art will look cheap is all in the materials used and, of course, the skills of the artist or photographer who produced the artwork or image on the canvas.

For detailed information on this topic, make sure to read my article: Do Canvas Prints Look Cheap?

Are Canvas Prints and Fine Art Prints Worth It?

Canvas prints and fine art paper prints are often seen as mass-produced copies of original artwork that aren’t valuable. But I totally disagree!

Prints, especially limited editions like you see on Minted and Saatchi Art can be highly valuable.

Here are some factors that will increase the price (and value) of prints:

  • Limited editions: If the print is a limited edition (like they sell on Minted or Saatchi Art), this means there are only so many prints of the original artwork that will be made. This increases the value of the print.
  • Well-Known Artist: If you’re buying a print of artwork created by a well-known artist, you’ll be paying more than a print made from the work of an emerging artist.
  • Premium Materials: Uses high-quality printers and materials (archival papers and inks) that will make your print look amazing and last for decades.
  • Popularity: If the artwork is featured in the news, books, museums, catalogs, websites, or other media, the price will go up.
  • The Story: If there’s a really cool story behind the artwork (like a famous person used to own it or was featured in a TV show or play), then a print will probably go up in price.

But keep in mind that canvas prints and fine art paper prints are more than the monetary value associate with them. Even if you’re not buying prints as an investment, art can bring life into your home or office!

With art, you can express yourself or change the mood of any room. And prints are much more budget-friendly than original works of art, so ANYONE can enjoy art at a fraction of the price!