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Okay, this is probably a silly question, and normally I'd just experiment but I don't want to waste materials so...
If I wanted to paint in acrylics on illustration board (Bristol Board) at 400gsm, should I prime it first or could I get away with painting directly onto the board?
And if I do prime it, would gesso for canvas work or would I be better off with something else?
You can prime it with gesso if you want a custom-textured surface. Otherwise, it should be all right for acrylics without priming.
(If you suspect it might buckle, do a quick test on a scrap piece of the board. If there is any buckling, you should prime it. But at 400 gsm buckling is unlikely.)
Unlike oils, acrylics can be used directly on paper or fabric without priming. The difference is one of handling, not of any sort of permanence. Unprimed surfaces are more absorbent, so some sorts of applications will be easier, some harder. Acrylic gesso is the standard priming for both fabric and paper.
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Cool, thanks guys.
Yeah, I painted on a lower gsm BB with acrylics once before and it buckled badly so I'm probably a bit wary now. I also didn't like how the paint took to the surface so the absorbancy thing might have been the culprit there.
Sounds like some experimenting is probably in order after all. No point starting in on a major project and finding out halfway through that I don't like the surface or having it warp on me.
Thanks again for the input, it's much appreciated.