How To Paint With Gouache

Are you looking for a fun and creative new way to experiment with painting? Gouache is an eye-catching, pigmented medium that can bring beautiful imagery to life. 

A traditional watercolor technique, gouache allows users to produce bright colors in opaque or transparent layers.

Drawing from tempera paint and watercolor, gouache offers exciting possibilities when experimenting with art materials. In this blog post, we’ll go over what exactly gouache is and how to use it successfully in your artwork. 

From color mixing tips to ideal surfaces and brushes, maxing out your creativity has never been easier.


Gouache is a type of paint that consists of pigment mixed with water and a binding agent. It can be used on paper, wood, canvas, or other surfaces and has been popular among artists for centuries. 

The opaque paint provides vibrant color coverage even when applied over dark surfaces. Gouache can also be blended to create new colors or layers of color, which makes it a versatile and creative choice for many types of artwork.

Getting started with gouache

Getting started with gouache is simple: all you need to get started is paints, brushes, a surface, water, and a mixing tray or palette.

Gouache paint 

Gouache is a versatile and vibrant painting medium artists have used for centuries. Its unique opacity allows it to provide bold coverage even on dark surfaces, which makes it an ideal choice for many types of artwork.

It can be applied directly onto the surface or mixed with water to create translucent layers.

Gouache is highly pigmented, so mixing colors can create incredibly striking effects. In addition, gouache works perfectly on paper, wood, canvas, and other surfaces.

You can easily create stunning artwork with gouache paints with the right tools and practice. So why try it out today? You have nothing to lose and so much to gain.

Experimenting with new painting techniques is sure to bring out your inner artist. Start with gouache and see where it takes you. You might discover a hidden creative talent. Explore the possibilities today.


Gouache painting requires a variety of brushes for different techniques. To start, you’ll need a detail brush (size 0 or smaller), a flat brush (1/4 inch width is ideal), and an angular brush (3/8 to 1/2 inch width). 

Detail brushes are fine-tipped and perfect for small details like lines or dots. Flat brushes are good for covering larger areas and making smooth, even strokes. Angular brushes have a slanted tip which is excellent for painting sharp corners or creating interesting blends of colors.


When painting with gouache, it is important to consider the surface you are working on. The right surface can help bring your artwork to life and create beautiful results. Gouache works best on non-absorbent surfaces like paper, board, or wood panels. 

Paper should be thick enough to not buckle when wet, while boards should be rigid enough to keep the paint from running off. Preparing your surface with a primer before painting is recommended for best results. This will create an even and consistent base for your work, allowing the paint to adhere better and ensuring no colors bleed or mixed unexpectedly.

Lastly, store your gouache artwork away from direct sunlight or moisture, which can cause the colors to fade and change. You will always have beautiful results with the right surface and proper care.


Water is an essential component of gouache painting. Gouache paint can only be used properly with it, and the colors will appear dull or messy. Gouache paint should be mixed with water to create a workable consistency allowing easy blending and even coverage on your canvas. 

It is important to remember that too much water can cause the paint to thin and run together, resulting in an undesired effect. Therefore, finding the right balance of water and paint for each painting is important. Lastly, clean any excess water from your brushes before using them on a new painting.

Mixing palette

The mixing palette is a valuable tool for mixing color with gouache paint. A mixing palette makes mixing and blending colors easier and allows you to create custom hues. The most common palette type is a flat plastic or metal tray with several small wells to hold paint. 

Other varieties can include various shaped and sized cups for holding paint and mixtures or absorbent paper like a palette pad. When using a mixing palette, it is important to use the larger wells to mix tones of color rather than one color. 

Doing this prevents any tone from becoming too dark or light once the painting progresses. When blending colors, start with small amounts of paint and add more as needed. This will help avoid mixing a too saturated or intense color.

Painting with gouache

Now that you have all your art supplies, the next step is learning about the right gouache painting techniques. While there are endless creative possibilities with gouache paint, it can be useful to get a better understanding of some of the most common gouache painting techniques:


Gouache staining is a technique used to create darker areas of color and deeper shadows in your painting. This method involves applying a dark wash over the area you want to stain before adding lighter colors. 

When using this technique, starting with an even layer of paint is important so the color won’t be uneven. You can also use different shades of paint to create different staining levels. 

After you’ve applied the wash, let it dry before adding other layers of color over it. This will help give your painting a more even and consistent look.


Gouache paint is an excellent choice for creating layered artwork. Layers can add soft textures and subtle color variations to your work. The fine pigments in gouache paint make creating beautiful, vibrant transitions between layers easier. 

When working with layers, the most important factor is patience – allowing each layer to dry before applying the next will give you a much better result. Start with a wash of your lightest color and let it dry, then add darker colors. 

You can also create interesting effects by blending colors on the palette before adding them to the painting.

Dry brushing 

Dry brushing is a painting technique that can be used to create interesting effects with gouache paint. This method uses a stiff-bristled brush and minimal paint, leaving the colors slightly streaky and dry. It is perfect for creating textures and adding depth to your artwork.

When applying the paint, use a soft brush and light pressure to achieve the best results. This will help keep your brush strokes light and create a more even effect. You can also add layers of colors for interesting effects, always allowing each layer to dry before adding the next.

With practice, you can master this technique and create stunning pieces with gouache paints.


How do you use gouache paint?

Gouache paint can be used for various techniques to create dynamic and expressive pieces. It is also a great medium for illustration, calligraphy, and typography.

Can beginners use gouache paint?

Yes! Gouache is a beginner-friendly paint, and anyone can create beautiful works of art with practice. Beginners should start with basic techniques like staining or layering to get a feel for this medium before progressing to more advanced methods.

What should you not do with gouache?

Gouache should not be mixed with oil paints as they are not compatible. Additionally, gouache should not be used on absorbent surfaces such as paper towels or cloth. Putting only a little water in the mixture is also important, as this can cause it to become muddy and difficult to work with.

Should I add water to the gouache?

Adding water to the gouache can help thin it out and make it easier to work with. However, it is important not to add too much water as this can cause the paint to become muddy and lose its vibrancy.

Is it OK if the gouache dries?

Gouache paint is designed to be re-wetted, so it is not a problem if your gouache dries out. All you need to do is add a few drops of water and mix until the desired consistency has been achieved. It is important to note that certain pigments may react differently when wet and dry, so keep this in mind when using gouache paint.


As you can see, gouache is a unique and versatile painting material that offers endless possibilities to artists. The medium can be used to create traditional art or contemporary art styles. With its bright colors and thick texture, gouache is ideal for creating dynamic artwork. 

And with all the information we’ve shared in this blog post about it, you will find it easier to get started with gouache. Now that you understand what it takes to create beautiful pieces of art using gouache feel free to explore all the techniques we have discussed.

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