What is Gouache?

Royal Talens Artists Gouache

Gouache (pronounced goo-ash or gwahsh – depending on how French you want to sound) is an ‘opaque watercolour’ or ‘body colour’.

This basically means that it uses the same pigments and gum arabic binder as watercolour but has white added to it so that it loses the translucency of watercolour. As a result, it dries to a flat, matt colour that reproduces exceedingly well making it ideal for Commercial Art, Illustration and posters. White Gouache is also often used to add intense highlights to watercolour paintings.

Designer’s or Artist's Gouache uses the very best pigments to achieve brilliant, vibrant colours that are lightfast, smooth and solid. Quick-drying, bold and requiring no mediums, it is very popular with students as well as commercial artists and will appear on most college’s list of required materials. It can be used straight from the tube or thinned with water to be applied in washes but will not let you build up many layers of wash as pure watercolour would. Unlike Acrylic, it is not waterproof when dry.

A piece in entitled 'The Race' painted in Gouache by Kim Curtis

'The Race' by Kim Curtis is an example of work painted with Gouache