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Home >> Paints >> Gouache


Gouache means a totally opaque type of watercolor paint which is mixed with a preparation of gum. It is different from watercolor as the pigments here are bounded by liquid glue. When the gouache paints dry up they give a matte finish and the brush strokes are invisible. The paints may be applied thickly or thinly.

Difference between Watercolor and Gouache

The word gouache is derived from the Italian word “guazzo” meaning water paint, splash. Gouache is different from watercolors because the particles are larger in comparison. The ratio of pigments is much greater in gouache than in watercolors. Moreover, an additional white pigment like chalk is also present and as a result it is much heavier and thicker than watercolors. Gouache has a much thicker paint layer; the thickness of the paint does not affect the apparent color. Colors must be lightened by adding white pigments like in oil paints. In gouache, the paints are not applied in tints. Furthermore, the applied paint does not get absorbed into the paper and so the mode of painting can be more direct unlike in watercolors.

Facts about Gouache

Gouache has been in use since the 12 th century in Islamic art. Gouache looks different in appearance after it dries up. It quickly covers a large area and totally hides it and is more immediate or faster than watercolors. It tends to crack if applied too thickly like acrylic paints. Bleeding and staining of colors is a common problem with gouache.

Gouache paints are available in mainly three kinds. The first places emphasis on opacity, the second places more emphasis on the color range rather than opacity and finally the third type concentrates both on color and opacity. Gouache is commonly used for graphic works like posters, comics, designer works and illustrations. However, very few artists have done some excellent pieces of work with gouache. The earliest modern examples are visible in the nature paintings of German artist Albrecht Durer.

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