Stretched cotton canvas is the most common painting support for professional artists. The weave of the cloth combined with the spring of the stretched material are canvases' most popular features.
Canvas boards were first introduced for sketching outdoors. However, some artists prefer boards as they take up less room and are less easily damaged than stretched canvases. Finished paintings on boards can be easier and less expensive to frame than canvases.
Canvas paper is popular with acrylic painters for its texture and drag. It is also an economical support which can be less inhibiting than a stretched canvas. As acrylics are not prone to sinking like oils, a wider variety of results can be more easily achieved on paper.
If you've every bought pre-stretched canvases you may have been suprised to find a small bag of wooden pieces attached to the back of the canvas stretcher. Many people wonder what they are actually for! These wedges can be inserted into the slots in the back of your canvas stretcher, and are used to tighten up the canvas fabric to stop it from loosening. The tension of your canvas will depend on how firmly and deeply you insert the wedges into the slots.