Two basic substances you might use to prepare a surface are: sizing and primer (or ground). The world of surface preparation is vast, and you'll find that product names and ingredients vary between manufacturers.
"Few things excite artists more than the sensory experience of art—the smell of an old studio, the buttery feel of oils under a palette knife, the velvety strokes of a charcoal stick, or the juicy splatters of fresh watercolor paint. The materials alone hold a special place in the hearts of artists, representing possibility, adventure, and a chance to live fully in the moment." ~Elizabeth T. Gilbert
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