Gouache what it is: All you need to know about this painting technique



Gouache what it is: All you need to know about this painting technique

Gouache, also known as tempera, is a water-based painting technique with opaque and thick colors. It allows mixing colors even once dry. It is recommended to use synthetic hair brushes and watercolor paper weighing no less than 200 g/m2. Versatile and accessible, it is ideal for artists of all levels. Its fast drying and correction capacity make it an attractive option.

What is gouache

Gouache is a painting technique characterized by its water-based paint with opaque and thick colors. It is a versatile artistic medium that allows flexible color mixing, even after drying.


Characteristics of gouache

  • Opaque and thick colors
  • Water-based painting technique
  • Flexible color mixing

History of gouache

Gouache has evolved from gouache and watercolor, and is a technique that has gained popularity for its versatility and vibrant results. It has long been used in the art world for its quick drying ability and easy corrections.

Materials needed to paint with gouache

In order to create works with the gouache technique, it is essential to have the right materials to obtain optimal and long-lasting results. The following are the essential elements for painting with gouache:

Brushes suitable for gouache

  • Round or flat synthetic hair brushes.
  • It is advisable to have different sizes for greater detail accuracy.
  • Good quality brushes contribute to a uniform application of the gouache paint.

Recommended papers for gouache

  • It is advisable to use watercolor papers with a grammage of no less than 200 g/m2.
  • The high quality paper absorbs paint evenly and prevents premature deterioration of the artwork.
  • The texture of the paper influences the final finish of the gouache painting, so it is important to select the right type of paper for the desired artistic style.

Gouache painting techniques

Gouache is a versatile technique that allows for a wide variety of methods and approaches in its application. The following are the most common techniques for working with gouache:

Mixing colors in gouache

  • To create new colors, it is important to take into account the mixing capacity of gouache, which allows to obtain a wide tonal range.
  • It is recommended to start with primary colors and experiment with different proportions to achieve the desired shade.
  • Mixing can be done on a clean palette, using clean brushes to avoid contaminating the colors.

Drying and corrections in gouache

  • Gouache is characterized by its fast drying time, which allows a quick evaluation of the work.
  • To make corrections, it is possible to re-apply layers of paint on previously dry areas.
  • Using wet brushes or diluting the paint with water facilitates the mixing and correction of details in the work.

Popular brands of gouache

We will mention below two of the most popular brands of gouache today:

Gouache Talens

Gouache Talens is recognized for its quality and versatility. Its intense and bright colors allow for vibrant and long-lasting works. With a wide range of shades, this brand is highly appreciated by artists all over the world.

Gouache Winsor & Newton

Winsor & Newton is another outstanding brand in the world of gouache. With a long tradition in the manufacture of artistic materials, its gouache is characterized by its creamy consistency and excellence in color blending. It is a popular choice among artists of all abilities.

Himi Gouache: Characteristics and use

Himi Gouache is a recognized brand in the world of painting due to its special characteristics and versatility in use. Its opaque and vibrant colors allow you to create works of art with a unique and striking finish. The thick texture of the paint facilitates its application on different surfaces, making it an ideal choice for artists looking to experiment with different techniques and styles.

  • Himi Gouache colors are easily mixed together, allowing the artist to create a wide range of tones and shades for their works. This feature is especially useful for those looking to customize their creations and explore new creative possibilities.
  • In addition, Himi Gouache paint adheres evenly to paper, cardboard or wood, ensuring consistent, long-lasting results. Its high pigmentation provides a professional and lively finish, making it a popular choice among artists of all levels.

Gouache in different media

Gouache is a versatile technique that can be used on a variety of media, giving artists the ability to experiment and create on different surfaces. The following are ways to use gouache on paper, cardboard and wood:

Use of gouache on paper

  • Paper is one of the most common supports for using gouache because of its ability to absorb paint evenly.
  • It is important to choose quality watercolor papers, with an adequate weight to withstand the gouache paint without deforming.
  • For best results, it is recommended to apply a base coat of gesso on the paper before starting to paint with gouache.
  • Gouache adheres well to paper and allows for overlapping layers to create effects of depth and texture.

Use of gouache on cardboard and wood

  • Cardboard and wood are less conventional but equally valid supports for using the gouache technique.
  • When painting on cardboard, it is important to prepare the surface with a suitable primer so that the gouache paint adheres optimally.
  • In the case of wood, gouache can be applied directly on the surface as long as it is previously sanded and prepared.
  • Wood offers a unique texture to gouache painting, allowing to create interesting and original effects in the works.

Advantages and disadvantages of gouache painting


  • Provides opaque and vibrant colors.
  • It allows mixing colors even after drying.
  • It is a versatile and flexible technique.
  • Dries quickly, facilitating the evaluation of the work.


  • It may be less resistant to aging than other techniques.
  • It requires some practice to master the technique and obtain optimal results.
  • Being soluble in water once dry, it may limit the durability of the work under certain conditions.

Tips for beginners in gouache

  • Experiment with the amount of water you use when thinning the paint, as this will affect the color intensity and opacity in your work.
  • Practice the technique of 'glazes' to achieve effects of transparency and luminosity in your work, applying thin layers of paint.
  • Use a paper of good quality and weight to avoid its deterioration with the application of layers of gouache.
  • Before starting a new project, plan your color palette and test mix to obtain the desired shades.
  • Take advantage of the possibility of correcting mistakes easily thanks to the water-soluble nature of gouache once dry.
  • Explore different ways of applying paint, such as using sponges or spatulas, to create interesting textures in your creations.


Comparison between gouache and watercolor

Gouache and watercolor are two water-based painting techniques that present significant differences in terms of their application and final result. The following are some of the main differences between them:

  • Opacity: While gouache is a paint with opaque and dense colors, watercolor is characterized by its transparency and luminosity.
  • Color mixing: With gouache it is possible to mix colors together even after the paint is dry, which is not common in watercolor, where the color binds more permanently once dry.
  • Corrections: Gouache allows corrections and adjustments to be made easily due to its solubility in water once dry, whereas in watercolor corrections are more limited.
  • Use of white: In gouache, colors can be lightened by using white instead of water, a technique that is not feasible with watercolor.

Gouache in the art world

Gouache has gained popularity in the art world thanks to its versatility and attractive results. Numerous contemporary artists use this technique to create vibrant and colorful works.

  • Artists who have achieved great international recognition using gouache in their creations stand out.
  • Exhibitions of gouache works usually attract a varied public, interested in discovering the possibilities offered by this technique.
  • Gouache is used in various artistic currents, from realism to abstraction, demonstrating its adaptability to different styles and creative approaches.

Range of colors in gouache

Gouache painting offers a wide range of intense and vibrant colors that can be used to create striking and lively works of art. This technique allows the colors to be mixed together, giving the possibility to obtain a great variety of shades and hues.

  • The basic colors in gouache include white, black, red, blue, yellow and green, which are fundamental for mixing and creating new shades.
  • In addition to the basic colors, there are intermediate tones and pastel colors that expand the color palette and offer options to express different emotions and atmospheres in the works.
  • Some gouache brands offer predefined color sets that make it easy to choose complementary shades and experiment with creative combinations.

Gouache sets for artists

Artist gouache sets are a convenient option for those who wish to experiment with this painting technique. These sets usually include a variety of vibrant and opaque colors, ideal for creating works with chromatic intensity. Gouache sets from different brands, such as Talens and Winsor & Newton, are available on the market, offering a selection of basic and complementary shades to meet the creative needs of artists.

In addition to the range of colors, gouache sets for artists often come in presentations that make them easy to use, such as individual tubes or compact cases with integrated palettes. These sets are an excellent choice for beginners and professionals alike, providing a practical and accessible way to enter the world of gouache and experiment with its creative possibilities.

  • Variety of vibrant and opaque colors
  • Recognized brands such as Talens and Winsor & Newton
  • Presentation in individual tubes or compact cases

Gouache as a professional painting technique

  • Gouache is a painting technique that has been used for centuries in the art world. Its versatility and ability to mix colors make it an attractive option for professional artists.
  • Professional artists value gouache for its fast drying time, which allows them to work efficiently and make corrections or adjustments to their work with ease.
  • Gouache has become a popular professional technique in the artistic field due to the intensity and vibrancy of the colors that can be achieved, as well as its affordable price compared to other techniques.

Gouache events and contests

In the art world, various events and competitions are organized exclusively dedicated to gouache painting. These competitions bring together artists of different levels and styles, offering the opportunity to show their talent and creativity in works made with this painting technique.

  • Gouache competitions often have varied themes, allowing participants to explore different approaches and artistic expressions. From landscapes and portraits to abstractions, each artist can express his or her personal vision through gouache painting.
  • These events are not only spaces for exhibition, but also for learning and networking, where artists can exchange experiences, learn about new trends and establish contacts within the artistic field. In addition, gouache competitions usually have specialized juries that evaluate the technique, originality and creativity of the works presented.
  • Participating in gouache events and competitions is not only an opportunity for visibility and recognition, but also a way to challenge oneself, explore new creative possibilities and continue to grow as an artist.

If you want to see how we apply gouache paintings to our renders, we invite you to visit our portfolio and find out where you can find paintings made with gouache paint.

See you next time!

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