Gouache Vs. Watercolor: What is the Difference ?

by Karen Jones

Are you confused about watercolour and Gouache? Do you need to clear your dilemma about these two? How do gouaches differ from watercolour? What will be the appearance if they both are mixed together? These questions make you so nervous.

So this article will provide you with a bulk of information about the difference between Watercolor and Gouache.

These are the two same methods for painting (Watercolor and Gouache). Both can utilize water, pigments that can dissolve in water.

Most probably, artists prefer Watercolor for painting. Because Gouache cannot beat Watercolor at its level. Some designers and artists used it in a few cases.

Watercolour and Gouache have some similar characteristics as they both can use water. It is difficult for non-professional people to make distinctions between their paintings. Only a person who has some information about the art or any expert artist will differ between these two paintings.

Top Gouache  by Editors

Watercolour vs Gouache

Now we will see some differences between watercolour paintings and gouache paintings.

Gouache Vs. Watercolor:
Gouache Vs. Watercolor:
Comparisons Watercolour Gouache
Background and then a brief perspective.
  1. In watercolour painting, colours are mixed with water and some other water solutions. And in this method of painting, colours are put up in the water with the help of glues. As a binder, the scorched liquor of gum acacia is used, called gum arabic. If you want some more textures and varieties, you can add other adhesives and components.
  2. There is a vast history of water painting in the stone age. Cave paintings from a specific period that have lasted for centuries are living scriptures to the works of art created on cave walls by cavemen using skeletal remains, twigs, and even their fingers. Water painting for artwork can even be traced back to ancient Egyptian civilizations, as well as in artwork from the Far East, ancient Persia, and India beneath Muslim dominion. The present fame of this artwork may be traced back to works by prominent artists in post-Renaissance Europe, particularly Albrecht Durer. Watercolor art was then introduced throughout Europe by Durer and his disciples. Watercolor has gone mainstream in recent decades due to remarkable works of art created by artists and learners of this painting from the United Kingdom, Europe, and the USA.
  1. Several persons, even artists, are perplexed by the name "Gouache." They are also confused by the writing because they are unfamiliar with this kind of art. What is the correct way to say such a term? The answer is, we must first realize that "gouache" is a French word derived from "Guzzo," which means "mud" in Italian. It got its name from the transparency and viscosity of Gouache, which is similar to the clarity and consistency of mud.
  2. As previously said, it is so identical to Watercolor that something is frequently mentioned as a Watercolor variant with increased thickness and opacity.
  3. Gouache's current history, like that of Watercolor, goes back to the Renaissance, while its origins can be traced back to 9th century Persia. Gouache paint was widely used and popular in French and Italian artists, who carried it to the United Kingdom and promoted it worldwide. Most sorts of design and architectural work were performed with this paint before introducing the digital strategy. It is a popular choice between illustrators, architects, and designers due to its simple structure and directness compared to traditional Watercolor painting.

Watercolor and Gouache Comparison

A gouache is a form of watercolor paint even at the most fundamental stage. Chalk plus Watercolor or "Watercolor with whitish powders" is a simplistic definition of this color.

This means that Gouache is made up of nearly identical materials to Watercolor, besides white hues.

Gum arabic is used as a binding agent in Gouache, much as it is in Watercolor. It has greater pigments, both within terms of number and size, than Watercolor. Gouache has a significantly greater viscosity than Watercolor, keeping it denser and heavy.

Gouache Is a Denser Paint

HIMI Gouache Paint Set, 24 Colors x 30ml Unique Jelly Cup Design with 3 Paint Brushes and a Palette in a Carrying Case Perfect for Artists, Students, Gouache Opaque Watercolor Painting (Green)
HIMI Gouache Paint Set, 24 Colors x 30ml Unique Jelly Cup Design with 3 Paint Brushes and a Palette in a Carrying Case Perfect for Artists, Students, Gouache Opaque Watercolor Painting (Green)

This paint contains a higher amount of emulsion droplets than precise Watercolor, making it a little more saturated and providing a thick texture.

As Watercolor on a white surface tends to modify the surface's visible hue, that's not the issue of Gouache. As a result, it can even be coated over a white piece of paper without altering the shade.

Softer colors:

To achieve a lighter color with transparent Watercolor, the pigments must be diluted by dipping them into water. That isn't essential with Gouache. If your artwork requires a more delicate aspect, simply add white pigment.

The Use of White Colors:

When painting with transparent watercolors, most artists left the white spaces on the paper unfilled and then precisely painted across them. And that is why white isn't utilized in watercolor paintings.

Absorption of paper:

Artists describe translucent Watercolor as a smear somewhat on paper because it absorbs into the paper surface. However, this restricts the contour features in these Watercolors to color dispersion, a water-based diffusion.

Brushwork, blooming, and the tiny structure of completed papers was made abundantly clear and noticeable by patchy paint.

But on the other side, Gouache does not seep further into paper. It merely applies a coat to the paper, permitting regional sculptural variations to be made by varying swirls on the paint's surface.

In Gouache, the painting process is much more precise:

When designing a complicated graphic utilizing Watercolor, such as a flower, the fair-skinned area must be left blank, and the graphic must be created cautiously around this.

For quite a black backdrop, start with the lighter shades in the foreground before proceeding to the darker colors. Usually, the painting should begin with lighter colors and progress to darker shades.

When painting a dark backdrop with Gouache, you may also begin with the basics and afterwards paint over it. With Gouache, you may shift from lighter to darker tones and vice versa.

Underneath the Paint, a Pen Drawing:

Ordinary Watercolor's opacity allows us to draw with a writing instrument and then paint over it. Painting with Gouache takes away this advantage because the opaque nature of the medium means you'll be pulling over any pencil or pen sketches, thus erasing them.

Effects of Texture:

Watercolor creates a more colorful and brilliant appearance. This is a privilege that Gouache paint does not provide.

Watercolor's opacity's equipped with various tactile impacts and reshapes your paint into a range of forms and hues. This adds incredible results like blossoming and other forms of splashes, gradients, lifts, and so on.

Gouache permits for a limited amount of tactile patterns but never to translucent watercolours' level.

Watercolor has more fluidity than acrylic paint:

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MeiLiang Watercolor Paint Set, 36 Vivid Colors in Pocket Box with Metal Ring and Watercolor Brush, Perfect for Students, Kids, Beginners and More

Watercolor's results are a little more unexpected than Gouache's. Watercolor's transparency and the reality that it takes a bit longer to dry implies that layers of paint can effortlessly be sculpted along, changing the drawing's entire look.

So, if you mess up, such as a sloppy brush that leaves an unintentional stain on your design, you'll have to live with it because there's very little opportunity to cover that stain.

This necessitates innovating throughout every stage of the procedure, making hasty decisions, and uncertain the conclusion.

Because Gouache paint dries swiftly and develops a dense coat on top of the paint, it's the coating; it's straightforward to deal with a mess by just covering it with another paintbrush.


Glazing is a great way to give a two-dimensional painting more volume and dimension. While diluting the rinse quantity can boost the visual quality of your Watercolor painting, this can not be done while utilizing Gouache. When you apply a gentle wash over the surface of the paint, it will merely smudge.


Gouache, like acrylic paints and oil paints, is water-resistant. When water is added to watercolor paint, it loses its shape, and the colors change. Water, on the other hand, changes the texture of the paint and keeps it lighter overall.

Bringing the Comparison to a Close:

Arteza Real Brush Pens, 48 Colors for Watercolor Painting with Flexible Nylon Brush Tips, Paint Markers for Coloring, Calligraphy, Drawing with Water Brush, Art Supplies for Artists and Beginners
Arteza Real Brush Pens, 48 Colors for Watercolor Painting with Flexible Nylon Brush Tips, Paint Markers for Coloring, Calligraphy, Drawing with Water Brush, Art Supplies for Artists and Beginners

Both Watercolor and Gouache have distinct features and advantages that an artist really wants to have in their work. However, when deciding between the two, each has its own set of advantages and disadvantages.

In just about any cause, which one you select is determined by your unique requirements and the type of art you like to create. If you're an artist looking to design a colorful, glowing, intense, and realistic project, Watercolor is the medium for you.

Furthermore, because you have to continually deal with the spontaneity and immediate obstacles that occur with utilizing this hue for painting, you get to fully explore your creative potential and express yourself.

Gouache is a more straightforward, more obvious type of art in which you are restricted to the use of powerful forms and intense colors. The advantage of swiftly creating flat, colorful forms has made it a preferred option across architects, illustrators, and designers.

Gouache, in my opinion, is more appropriate to flat, vivid shapes. It dries faster as well. I envision utilizing this as the first layer on multi-layered pieces or as a go-to for mono, bold pattern creations. Gouache also has a lovely matte look when it dries.

Watercolor, in my opinion, works well for flat, vivid shapes, but it demands a higher level of expertise to apply evenly. It's ideal for numerous groups, permitting the earlier story to shine through. It has a glossy shine when extensively sprayed.

So, you can choose one of them according to your needs and requirements.

About Karen Jones

For the last decade, Karen Jones has worked as a freelance writer and social media marketing consulant. As an gourmand and avid traveler, she publishes cutting-edge articles about traveling that really attracting readers into her wonderful journeys. If you can't find Ms. Jones around her friends and family, she's definitely busy in her home office refining her writing composition and printing press.

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