5 Reasons to explore Gouache paint

by Art Materials on Sep 20, 2022

Reasons to paint with gouache

The first question any artist is asked is, ‘What is your paint medium of choice?”  Oils, acrylics and watercolours will generally top the list, followed by Gouache. Often pronounced incorrectly - the correct way is ’gw-ash’ - the vibrancy and opacity of gouache paint make it a popular art supply among visual journalists, travel painters, illustrators, animation artists and urban sketchers.

As a water-based medium, gouache paint falls comfortably between acrylics and watercolours, making it an easy transitional medium. The high ratio of natural pigment to binder also makes it less wet than watercolours. To move the paint around on the paper, you use less water which means the opacity of the paint is not reduced. 

Gouache is often referred to as a watery acrylic as you can water it down to make it behave like watercolour or apply it very thickly so that it will act more like acrylic paint.

Now that you know what it is and how to pronounce it, here are 5 reasons to motivate you to add gouache paint to your art supplies kit. 

#1 The finish

Artists love gouache paint because it dries to an ultra matte finish. This means it also photographs really well - showcasing the vivid colours - as there is no glare or light reflecting off the paint’s surface. Not only is this medium light fast and quick-drying, but the dry paint looks almost velvety to the touch. 

#2 The colours

Because gouache paints are opaque, the colours are incredible and vibrant. The darker pigments have a mysterious depth that absorb light and draw the viewer in. The brightness of the highly pigmented gouache colours adds a richness to any artwork. If you are a beginner to this medium, start with the primary colours as well as black and white tubes to mix and blend to create various hues and shades. (When painting larger areas, the darker gouache paints tend to dry lighter and the light values tend to dry darker).

Winsor & Newton Gouache paint colours

#3 The tools

Like acrylics and watercolours, you really don’t need much to get started:

#4 The textures

You really get to experiment with a wide variety of textures with gouache paint. 

Layering: You can create effective layering effects with gouache. By adding less water, you will increase the opacity of the layers. This is most effective for smaller details and for covering pencil outlines. 

Dry Brushing: For a soft feathery texture or bristly finish, try the dry brush technique by adding hardly any water to your gouache colour and then brushing it lightly onto the page with a dry brush. This technique is so easy for beginners. 

Staining: This involves covering a large area of the surface with a foundation colour. By mixing gouache paints with water to create a thin watercolour-like consistency, you can create a base wash over the page. (Great for skies and landscapes).

​​Blooming: You can create beautiful watercolour effects by starting with a very watered-down gouache pale wash base colour and then dropping other pigments into it and the colours will gently merge and blend into one another.


#5 The versatility

If you love watercolours, gouache as a medium is a seamless addition as the two mediums are intermixable and can be used together for layering and achieving differing degrees of opacity. Artists often use Designers Gouache white to create highlights on watercolour paintings.

Because it is not as wet as watercolours, gouache will not seep through pages and will not overly wrinkle your pages either.

Winsor & Newton Designer White gouache

The Art Materials Company

When you are sourcing art supplies online, you don’t need to know how to pronounce ‘gouache (just how to spell it). If you want to make art and are dying to try out gouache as a medium, then The Art Materials Company is the just the place to start. 

With next day dispatch (on business days), shop our wide range of art supplies and get free delivery on orders over €75.