Beginner’s Guide to Gouache

Gouache is a neat medium to explore because it provides various textures and a vibrant range of colors. Though it’s a medium with a long history, it’s still relatively obscure, so drawing in gouache can be a little intimidating at first. To help ease you into gouache and bring out your creativity, we’ve put together this short beginner’s guide to gouache, with helpful links to articles covering drawing techniques, color mixing, and more.

Definition of Gouache

Gouache, also known as opaque watercolor, has a rich, luminous quality unlike any other type of paint. It’s sometimes called “opaque watercolor” (“opaque” means not transparent) and is used by artists all over the world. Since it is water-based, it’s water-soluble when it dries so that you can blend it easily with other colors. Also, it’s opaque, due to which gouache paints don’t show brushstrokes allowing you to create smooth blends with different colors. Gouache paints are ideal for creating beautiful, one-of-a-kind pieces in rich, vibrant colors.

It is similar to watercolor but dries with a matte finish. It has some advantages over watercolor, including better opacity and thicker paint that stays put, but money-wise, I still prefer watercolor. Gouache is a better medium for artists looking for an inexpensive way to experiment with watercolor paintings, but it’s a bit of a learning curve—and one that I’m still learning.

As an art form, gouache isn’t as well known or as versatile as other options out there. But learning the basics of gouache can be fun, and once you’ve mastered that, you can branch out into other mediums. The water-based paint is narrowed down to become translucent, which gives the finished artwork an almost watercolor effect. Besides, since it is water-soluble, it’s great for painting on fabric, such as cotton, linen, or other natural fibers. You can also use gouache to create some fantastic watercolor-style paintings.

The Essence of Gouache

Gouache paint is a water-based pigment paint that is unique in several ways.

Its Opaque White Color Makes It an Ideal Base for Colored Pigments, Allowing the Creation of Many Unique Effects. 

With the consistency of a powder, it is a medium less widely used than watercolor, acrylic, or pastel. Opaque white gouache paint is an ideal base to add colored pigments, lending itself to many unique effects. Gouache is opaque, which means it effectively covers up the underlying color beneath it. Its opacity, which can vary based on how much pigment is added to the mix, makes it an ideal base for colored pigments. In this way, gouache is similar to watercolor, but it can be applied to a canvas rather than to paper.

Gouache Paint Dries Rapidly, Allowing Users to Paint on Wet Canvases and Blending Medium. 

Since it is water-based paint, it dries quickly, making it perfect for painting on wet canvas, blending, and layering paint. Gouache paint comes in a thick, creamy consistency and is easy to use. Besides, since the pigments are transparent, it makes the paint perfect for layering and blending. It is a unique paint medium used by artists to paint their masterpieces. The paint is a combination of pigment and water. Water is what provides the viscosity of the paint, but the pigment is what provides the hue of the paint. The paint dries quickly, allowing the artist to paint on wet canvases and blend the medium as needed.

Gouache Paint is Usually Made from Acrylics, Oils, And Linseed Oil. 

Gouache paint is a transparent, opaque paint made traditionally from pigment, white spirit, and linseed oil. Originally, linseed oil was used as a color; however, other pigments were added to make a wider range of colors over time. Then it was discovered how the paint reacted well with water, and it became possible to make gouache paint. It is still made with linseed oil. However, other oils are often used to make the paint opaquer. It can be used straight from the tube or mixed to a consistency similar to watercolor. Gouache paint is water-soluble, making it perfect for watercolor effects.

Gouache paint is versatile and can be used for face and body painting, greeting cards, decorative painting, and fine art painting.

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