The Best Gouache Paint for Beginners

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Read more about the best gouache paint for beginners. If you’re anything like me, you love buying new art supplies. But sometimes starting a new hobby can feel a little overwhelming.

You don’t want to make the wrong choice starting out. That’s where I come in. I’ve made bad decisions and learned from them and am now sharing what I know.

By the way, these gouache tutorials can help you get started paint with gouache.

how to buy gouache

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I’ve included links to Blick where available because they often have better prices than Amazon. Plus, it’s so much fun to shop at Blick!

You might also like this post on the best watercolor paint for beginners.

The Best Gouache Paint for Beginners

Not to be discouraging, but gouache is one of the hardest mediums that I’ve ever learned to use.

Want to know why?

I bought cheap paint. I should know better by now.

Gouache is made of pigments and binder, similar to watercolor. Except that it has a whole lot more pigments.

This means that cheap gouache is never going to work correctly.

So don’t make the mistake I did. Buy good quality gouache, to begin with, and make it easier on yourself.

It’s so much easier to get good coverage with high-quality paint.

the difference between cheap gouache and quality gouache
The top row is Windsor & Newton gouache. The colors are much more opaque and not streaky. The bottom row is a cheaper brand and the colors are more streaky and uneven.

The Best Gouache Paint

I bought this Windsor & Newton Gouache Primary set and I’m so happy with it. (Blick link)

This gouache paint is so thick and opaque. The paint dries to a gorgeous matte finish. It’s much easier to use than the cheap stuff.

The set includes 6 colors: zinc white, ivory black, permanent green middle, primary red, primary yellow, and primary blue.

The colors are easy to mix and I can get a nice variety of colors.

I appreciate that it came with green despite it being a primary set because I love mixing gouache in a variety of greens.

Having a ready-made option makes it faster to mix a ton of greens.

gouache paint for beginners

I love how the paint flows. When diluted with water, the paint goes on so smoothly.

Plus, the colors are super vibrant.

Not looking for vibrant colors? Just mix in a color opposite on the color wheel to muddy the color up.

The colors combine to make a variety of gorgeous hues. The red and blue make the prettiest purple ever.

For reference, the cheap set I used was this Royal and Langnickel set, which I do not recommend. It’s impossible to get a solid color without streaks. However, it might work okay in a thicker watercolor style.

I’ve also been experimenting with mixing the cheaper colors with some of my nicer gouache paints, but I’m still not loving the results.

The Creamiest Gouache

Since writing this post, I’ve experimented a lot with Holbein gouache and it’s my new favorite. The paint is so creamy and I love painting with it. (Blick link)

The mixing kit is tiny, but since the paint is so pigmented, a little goes a long way. You will need a larger tube of white paint for mixing, though.

I also find that the paint re-wets pretty well. I even made a gouache palette with these paints.

(Learn more about acrylic gouache here.)

The Best Gouache Budget Option

Still not sure that you want to invest in a set of quality paint? There’s a secret way to experiment with gouache without buying a whole set.

Did you know that you can mix watercolors with gouache? So if you already own watercolors you can mix them with white gouache and it works just like normal gouache.

Pretty cool, right?

using white gouache with watercolors
Left to right: Watercolor on its own. White gouache mixed with watercolor and blended.

So just buy a tube of white gouache and start experimenting!

If you want a darker color, add more watercolor paint and less white gouache. The white gouache just boosts the opacity.

You might be interested in reading this post about this affordable Himi gouache. Get easy tips for using Himi gouache.

If you want to start with a large number of colors, read more about Arteza gouache.

Tips for Painting with Gouache

Read an in-depth tutorial on painting with gouache here.

  • Lightly dilute with water. You need way less water than with watercolors.
  • Gouache can be used on a variety of surfaces, but I prefer mixed media paper or watercolor paper.
  • Gouache is water-based, so it can be reactivated when you paint over another coat. Use light coats to avoid this.
  • Acrylic gouache is water-resistant and can be layered without worrying about reactivating the color beneath it.

Read my favorite tips for mixing gouache paint colors.

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the best gouache paint for beginners

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