How Clear Gesso & String Gel Enhance Your Digital Printed Artworks


I’ve come across many very talented digital artists who feel they should keep their works solely, well, digital. Considering that digital works can be reproduced in numerous quantities, some hardcore art enthusiasts believe digital art is not real art. This stems from the principle of scarcity and physical art is indeed more scarce than digital art, thus increasing the demand and price for it.

However, if you are a digital artist and seem to be confined within the web and the digital world, there are ways to get creative and emancipate yourself.

And the answer is very simple: clear gesso & string gel.

If you reproduce your digital works on canvas, release only a limited series of each particular piece and sign each piece after it is printed. Once you do this, buy either clear gesso or string gel (or both!) from your local art store or the web in order to add your own unique touch to the painting.


Sometimes I combine certain paintings with both clear gesso and string gel but other times I use them independently (this is preferred). Combining the two sometimes gets messy, therefore you must paint both very carefully. I personally like to apply the clear gesso first then the string gel when combining. The string gel gives the painting a nice finish over the rough acrylic texture of the clear gesso.

Clear gesso

I bought Liquitex Clear Gesso from Amazon. It works very beautifully. For larger paintings, buy a larger brush to paint your gesso. If you want to add very fine strokes to detailed pieces, I suggest buying a much smaller brush and maybe even one that’s pointy.

Clear gesso will give your digital artworks a personal touch - the clear strokes will give it some tooth with a dry acrylic texture. Your customers will have a hard time believing your work was printed after you slab on some gesso.

Once you apply clear gesso, carefully paint it on the canvas using the same strokes as the painting.



Give the gesso at least an hour or so to dry up. It will look white at first, so do not let this alarm you.

String Gel

I also bought a small tub of string gel from Liquitex. String gel will add a very glossy, thick, and gooey texture to your digital paintings.

String gel is probably my favorite of the two because it creates a very sleek and wet look and makes your painting overall look more prestigious, beautiful & with more depth. 


String gel is a little tricky compared to clear gesso. I used a large soft brush to paint over the painting as a coating. I then use various brushes to create random textures with the gel to give the painting more depth.



Sometimes I simply just allow the string gel to spontaneously drip directly onto the canvas from the bottle. I touch it up with my fingers usually and user other utensils such as a plastic fork to dab over the gel on some areas in order to vary the texture.


Notice that I stroked the string gel in the same direction as the painting. This makes it look more realistic.

Once you are finished adding clear gesso or string gel to your digital artwork, it will not only look more beautiful - but it will have your very own personal touch to it - and become that much more scarce and unique.

With these personal touches, your digital artwork has become a scarcity and therefore will raise significantly in value. Do not be surprised if you suddenly receive more offers for your artwork. After all, we all want what we can not have, right?

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