In this article, I present a handpicked selection of the 9 best gouache paint for beginners and professional artists of all levels.
Artists worldwide have used gouache paints for centuries. I have been using them as part of my painting design process and to better understand colors and values in the landscape.
You may be a beginner looking to try gouache paints for the first time or an experienced professional painter looking to try out a new paint brand, so this article is for you.
I am an artist who loves to paint landscapes in oil and gouache paint. I have found gouache paint to be exceptionally good for my painting design process and for creating little studies. The advantage of gouache is that you can experiment with color study and compositional ideas without investing too much time in the process.
Best Gouache Paints
Here is a list of the 9 best gouache paint for beginners and professional artists.
1. Winsor & Newton Designers Gouache
Winsor & Newton Designers Gouache is a revered brand known for its high-quality gouache paints.
- Highly pigmented
- Professional-grade paints
- Excellent coverage and vibrant hues
- can be easily mixed to achieve a wide range of tones
- Favored for their smooth consistency and suitability for various techniques
- Ideal for fine art, design projects, or illustrations
- Trusted brand with a good reputation
- Good price point
- Ideal for beginners
$6.35 – $51.75
2. Holbein Artists’ Gouache
Holbein Artists’ Gouache Paint is a renowned brand known for its exceptional quality and versatility in gouache painting. This paint brand stands out for its finely ground pigments, resulting in a smooth, creamy consistency that’s easy to mix.
- Brilliant, rich matte finish
- High pigmentation
- The brand is well-regarded for its color accuracy and lightfastness
- Vibrant color that doesn’t muddy when it is mixed
- Professional grade paint
- Available in paint sets
$8.28 – $794.44
3. M. Graham Artists’ Gouache
M. Graham Artists Gouache Paint is a trusted brand known for its exceptional quality and vibrant, opaque colors.
- Extensive color range
- Colors are dense, rich, and highly pigmented
- High-quality, lightfast pigments
- Velvety, smooth texture
- Outstanding coverage
- Paints are known for maintaining their brilliance even after drying
- Top choice for artists seeking professional-grade gouache paints
$7.83 – $48.75
4. Schmincke Horadam Artist Gouache
Schmincke Horadam Artist Gouache Paint is a prestigious brand revered by artists for its exceptional quality and performance in gouache painting.
- Exceptional quality and performance
- High concentration of finely ground pigments
- vivid, intense colors that remain true and vibrant
- Fine artist gouache
- Classic range of pigments
- Excellent covering power
- Smooth consistency allowing for seamless application
- Rewets easily and effortless color mixing
- 48 colors available, including paint sets
$10.47 – $102.34
5. Daniel Smith Extra Fine Gouache
Daniel Smith Extra Fine Gouache is a highly regarded paint brand that produces top-quality gouache paints.
- High pigment concentration
- Rich, creamy texture
- Crafted using high-quality gum arabic as a binder
- Exceptional lightfastness
$11.18 – $40.03
6. Royal Talens Gouache
Royal Talens Gouache is a trusted and renowned brand in gouache painting. The paints are known for their intense, brilliant colors and smooth, creamy consistency. Artists appreciate the high pigment concentration, providing exceptional coverage and allowing for the creation of vivid, opaque artworks.
- Committed to high quality and tradition
- Intense, brilliant colors
- High pigment concentration
- Exceptional coverage
- Smooth, creamy consistency
- Made with a unique dextrin-based binder
- Easy to use and can be re-wetted effortlessly
- Good value for money
$7.51 – $39.13
7. Da Vinci Professional Gouache
Da Vinci Professional Gouache is a distinguished and respected brand known for producing top-tier gouache paints.
The gouache paints in this range are praised for their rich pigmentation, providing artists with vibrant and intense colors that remain true and brilliant even after drying.
- Non-toxic formula
- Permanent, lightfast pigments used
- Made with the world’s finest raw materials
- Smooth consistency allows for effortless blending and mixing
- Ideal for fashion designers, illustrators, and fine artists
- Good price point
$10.10 – $20.80
8. Utrecht Artists’ Gouache
Utrecht Artists’ Gouache is a well-respected paint brand that stands out for its quality and versatility in gouache painting.
Artists appreciate the high pigment concentration in these paints, resulting in vibrant, intense colors that maintain their brilliance even when thinned.
- Vibrant, intense colors
- High pigment concentration
- Excellent coverage and smooth application
- Ideal for illustrators, designers, artists, architects, and students
- Available in paint sets
$5.72 – $37.79
9. Holbein Acrylic Gouache
Discover the world of Holbein Acrylic Gouache, an artist’s best friend, offering vibrant hues and a versatile medium that perfectly balances acrylic and gouache paints. The unique qualities, range from the rich opacity of acrylics to the water-solubility of traditional gouache, making it perfect for both beginners and experienced artists.
- Fast-drying, opaque acrylic-based watercolor paint
- Excellent lightfastness
- Water soluble while wet, and water-resistant once dry
- Ideal for professional work.
- Available in paint sets
$7.54 – $231.99
What is Gouache Paint?
Gouache paint, pronounced ‘gwash’, is a type of watercolor paint rendered opaque by adding a chalky white pigment. Originating from the Italian term ‘guazzo’, which means ‘water paint, splash’, gouache has a long history in art, dating back to the ancient Egyptians.
It’s known for its bold, vibrant colors and its uniquely smooth, velvety matte finish, which sets it apart from other types of paint.
Gouache is versetile and what I like about it, is that it encourges loose gestural brushwork. It can be applied in solid blocks of color or diluted for a translucent effect, much like watercolor.
However, unlike watercolors, gouache paint isn’t transparent. This opacity allows for excellent coverage and lends itself to detailed and design-oriented artwork. Moreover, the colors of gouache paint are less likely to change in tone from wet to dry, making it easier for artists to predict the final effect.
It’s an ideal choice for artists who appreciate the fluidity of watercolors but desire the opacity of acrylics. Despite its compelling attributes, it’s important to note that gouache is water-soluble and can be reactivated or lifted, which can be both a boon and a challenge depending on the artist’s intent and the specific requirements of the artwork.
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How to use Gouache Paints
Gouache paints are versatile and can be used in many styles of painting and art projects. When painting with gouache, using high-quality paints and brushes will produce better results and make your painting experience enjoyable. It is also essential to consider your surface before you start painting. To ensure even paint coverage, use smooth paper with no texture, watercolor paper or kraft paper, as this will allow the paint to spread evenly.
Gouache paints are often used for illustrations, landscape paintings, comic books, and other graphic art projects. I personally use gouache for painting landscapes as well as design ideas for larger paintings.
How Gouache is Different From Watercolors
Gouache is a type of paint similar to watercolors but with one significant difference: it is opaque, unlike watercolor paint. This means gouache colors aren’t transparent like watercolors, so they can be applied over other colors without creating a muddy effect.
Gouache also has a thicker consistency than watercolors, making it an excellent choice for creating bold blocks of color. It can also be used to create subtle gradients or blend colors in a way that is not possible with watercolors.
The Unique Characteristics of Gouache Paints
Gouache paints have a few unique characteristics that make them stand out from other types of paint. For example, they are a highly pigmented paint, which makes them ideal for creating vibrant and long-lasting colors. They also dry quickly, so you won’t have to wait too long between coats when layering different colors. Lastly, the best gouache and paints are water-soluble, so you can easily blend them to create unique colors and shades.
Can You Mix Gouache With Watercolor Paints?
Yes, we can indeed mix gouache with watercolors. This combination allows artists to leverage the unique characteristics of both mediums. Watercolors, known for their transparency, can provide a luminous, ethereal quality to the artwork. At the same time, gouache, with its opacity, can add depth and solidity where needed.
However, it’s important to remember that the resulting mixture will still be water-soluble like both its components. Therefore, layers may reactivate when new ones are applied on top, adding to the complexity and richness of the finished piece but also requiring careful handling to maintain the intended effects.
This combination of gouache and watercolor offers an expansive range of creative possibilities, from delicate washes to bold, opaque details.
Why You Should Consider Painting with Gouache
Gouache is a great medium for artists, allowing for vibrant color and excellent coverage. It can be used to create beautiful artworks in one layer or layered to create interesting depth and texture.
It is simple enough for beginners but also offers plenty of scope for those who want to experiment with more advanced techniques. Additionally, gouache dries quickly so that you can finish your work in one sitting.
It is also less expensive than other professional art supplies, making it an excellent choice of art supplies for those on a budget.
I love painting with gouache because of the vibrancy of the colors and the ability to layer paint over existing layers. Gouache painting has become part of my painting design process, allowing for quick studies to be created without investing too much time in them. They make great little paintings you can frame and hang on your wall.
The Advantages of Painting With Gouache
Gouache has many benefits for the artist. One advantage is that it does not require an elaborate setup like other paints. It can also be used on a variety of surfaces, such as wood, canvas, and paper.
Additionally, gouache dries quickly and remains vibrant over time. Finally, it offers excellent coverage and allows for multiple layers to be created.
Gouache is also a safe medium for artists, as it does not require solvents or toxic materials. It can be easily cleaned with soap and water after each use, making it an excellent choice for those concerned about the environment.
What is Acrylic Gouache?
Acrylic Gouache is a fascinating medium that combines the characteristics of traditional gouache with the durability and versatility of acrylics.
Unlike traditional gouache that can be reactivated with water, Acrylic Gouache dries permanently, much like acrylic paint. This allows artists to layer the paint without worrying about the underlying layers reactivating. The texture of Acrylic Gouache is wonderfully smooth. It dries to a matte finish, a distinctive feature of traditional gouache. This paint medium is known for its bright and luminous colors, and its excellent lightfastness ensures that these colors do not fade over time.
Given its unique properties, artists often use Acrylic Gouache for its ability to deliver the opacity of gouache and the permanence and layered application of acrylics. Whether you’re working on fine art, illustration, or mixed media, Acrylic Gouache can add depth and brilliance to your creations.
Choosing the Right Paper For Gouache Painting
When choosing the right paper for gouache painting, there are a few considerations to remember. First and foremost, the paper needs to be sturdy enough to hold the weight of the paint without warping or buckling. A heavy-weight paper, preferably 300 gsm or more, would be ideal.
Watercolor paper is popular among many gouache artists due to its durability and texture. It is available in various finishes: rough, hot-pressed or cold-pressed. While rough and cold-pressed have a textured surface which can add interesting patterns to your artwork, hot-pressed paper has a smooth surface, which allows for finer detail.
I prefer using hot-pressed paper as the smooth surface is excellent for gouache painting.
Mixed media paper is another excellent option for gouache painting. It is designed to handle dry and wet media, making it a versatile choice to combine gouache with other mediums.
Finally, it’s worth noting that the color of your paper can significantly impact the look of your gouache paintings. While white paper is the most common choice, gouache also works beautifully on toned or black paper, creating a dramatic contrast that can make your colors pop. So feel free to experiment with different paper types to see which works best for your artistic style.
Choosing the Best Brushes for Gouache Painting
The selection of brushes plays a key role in determining the outcome of your gouache paintings. While you can technically use any brush with gouache, certain styles and materials may work better for this medium than others.
Among the popular choices are synthetic brushes, which are appreciated for their affordability and durability. They hold their shape well and are less prone to damage, which makes them a good option for beginners or those on a tight budget.
I prefer to use synthetic brushes for gouache painting. I can recommend the best quality gouache paint brush Set 55 made by Rosemary and Co., and these are the brushes I have been using.
On the other hand, natural hair brushes have a unique capacity to hold and distribute paint evenly. Artists highly prize brushes made from sable or squirrel hair for their softness and flexibility. However, they can be pretty expensive and require more care to maintain.
Regarding shapes, round brushes are a versatile choice, capable of creating both thin and thick lines. Flat brushes are excellent for laying down large areas of color or for creating sharp edges. A fan brush can be used for blending or creating interesting textural effects.
How Long is Gouache Paint Good For?
Gouache paint, when properly stored, can last for quite some time. In tube form, it can stay usable for many years, often up to a decade or even longer.
The paint inside should maintain quality if the tube is sealed tightly and kept in a cool, dark place. However, once the tube is opened, the lifespan decreases.
Suppose you squeeze out more paint than you immediately need onto a palette. In that case, the excess paint can dry out quickly, becoming unusable. However, by adding a bit of water to dried gouache, you can often rehydrate and continue using it. Yet, it’s important to note that doing so may alter the paint’s consistency or color.
It’s always best to squeeze out as much paint as you’ll use in a single painting session to maximize your gouache’s lifespan.
Is Gouache Good for Beginners?
Gouache can be an excellent medium for beginners to dive into the world of painting. Its unique characteristics, a blend between watercolor and acrylic paints, make it versatile and forgiving.
The water-soluble nature of gouache allows for easy correction and modification, something particularly beneficial to those still learning the ropes of painting. This medium’s capacity to provide consistent color coverage, similar to that of acrylics, also assists new artists in achieving a desired visual effect without struggling with transparency issues.
Additionally, gouache does not require a vast array of tools; a basic set of brushes, some paint, and water are all one needs to get started. Therefore, while every medium has its own learning curve, gouache’s flexibility and straightforward nature certainly make it a good choice for beginners.
In conclusion, gouache is a fantastic medium for an artist. Its water-soluble composition makes it easy to manipulate and modify, while its ability to provide consistent coverage akin to acrylics helps new painters achieve desired visual effects. Furthermore, the minimal tools one needs to get started with this medium make it even more inviting for those looking to explore their creativity. Gouache can be an incredible asset to any artist’s repertoire with a few simple steps and some practice.