what is gouache

10 top reasons to love gouache painting

If you’re new to gouache painting, you’re in for a treat! Gouache is easy to learn and versatile, making it a fun medium for beginners. Here are 10 top reasons to love gouache painting, which is so underrated.

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Gouache is great for beginners

Gouache paint is an excellent medium for beginners. Painters can use it on any subject, surface, style, and technique. It’s affordable, easy to use, and forgiving, making it the perfect medium for beginners. You won’t need many supplies either. Gouache is not just for beginners, though! Even experienced artists love gouache because of its versatility and ease of use.

Gouache is ideal for those beginning their creative journey because it’s forgiving—you won’t ruin your work by making mistakes! You get some paint on paper, add water, and experiment with different techniques.

Gouache is also an excellent medium for children. It’s easy to work with and dries quickly, which allows you to play fast and loose with it.

Gouache is a versatile paint

With gouache, you can create a lot of different arts. It’s easy to use in various ways: wet-on-dry or dry-on-wet (or both), so there are plenty of options for creating different effects.

As if that weren’t enough, gouache offers an incredible amount of versatility when it comes to style too! You can use this watery medium to create everything:

– from loose abstracts with bold colors,

– delicately detailed landscapes using realistic hues, 

– beautiful portraits filled with subtle shades

the possibilities are endless!

Gouache can be transparent or opaque (or anything in between)

You can use it to create various effects, from watercolor to impasto. That means you can choose the right color, consistency, and application method to suit your painting. 

The most common application methods include:

1) Using the paint straight out of the tube with a brush or palette knife is great for creating bold, expressive works of art. You’ll use the ‘creamy’ consistency for final layers and details. 

2) Diluting your gouache with water so that it becomes more transparent and easier to apply in thin layers. This is the ‘watery’ consistency, ideal for backgrounds, first layers, and glazing.

Gouache can be rewetted

You can “rewet” your already-dried gouache painting by adding water again into the palette mix, allowing you to use every drop of paint without losing it. You’ll get the ‘watery’ consistency from adding water to your dry gouache.

You can also rewet your gouache on your painting to blur the edges between two colors. Take a brush with clear water and gently rub the ‘border’ between the colors to merge them.

It’s easy to fix mistakes with gouache

Gouache is a forgiving medium. If you make a mistake, it’s easy to fix with water alone or another gouache color.

  • Erasing a mistake: you can remove a drop of paint by rubbing gently with a clean brush and water. When you’ve removed most of the pigments, you can paint on top of it with another layer of gouache. Use the ‘creamy’ consistency to cover it. 
  • Changing a color: once dry, you may want to change color. Use another layer of the correct paint on top with a creamy consistency. Don’t rub, apply with a single brushstroke, and you won’t lift the color below. 

You can watch this video to learn how to fix mistakes on your gouache painting.

Matte finish looks nice on gouache

Matte finish looks beautiful when painted on paper—especially if you’re using watercolor paper! The matte finish of gouache creates a smooth and flat surface, making the paintings easy to photograph and scan, as they don’t have any shine. It’s perfect to take photos and share your art on social media. Illustrators loved gouache for this particular quality.

Gouache is non toxic

Gouache paint is safe for your health and the environment, but you don’t want to eat it anyway!

Gouache is easy to clean

After your painting session, you can let your palette dry and it will be easy to clean days, or even weeks after. Just place it under tap water, rub it a bit with a sponge, and you’re ready to go. You just need to have a waterproof palette. For brushes, I simply wet them, rub them gently on a regular soap, and rinse well. Let the brushes dry horizontally, so you don’t have water inside the ferrule.

Gouache is great for plein air

Gouache is portable and easy to travel with. It’s also allowed on planes, inside the cabin with you, so you can paint during the flight!

Gouache is perfect for painting travel memories when you’re going on a trip. You can store the paint in an airtight palette and paint in a sketchbook. You can take a break from your studio and quickly take gouache with you for Plein air painting. 

It’s also great for use outdoors, as it’s much easier to clean up than traditional paints and doesn’t need special equipment like canvas or stretchers. I’m using gouache for urban sketching as well.

Gouache goes a long way because of the density of the pigments

Gouache is made with a high concentration of pigments in the paint, and you can use a little bit of paint to get the same effect as other mediums. Because of this, gouache is excellent for people who want to create large amounts of art with minimum expense.

Even if the price per tube may seem high, you can paint a significant quantity of art with a small tube. 


10 top reasons to love gouache painting 

I hope this article has convinced you to try out gouache! It’s an excellent medium for beginners and experienced artists alike, and it’s a lot of fun. I think the biggest takeaway is that gouache is versatile and forgiving:

– it can be used as watercolor or opaque paint; 

– it has a matte finish, so you can layer on many layers without worrying about shine;

– it goes a long way because of the pigments; 

– it’s easy to fix mistakes; 

– and it travels well because no solvents are involved in its drying process.

You can learn more about how to use gouache paint with my classes and free tutorials.

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