How to Use Himi Gouache

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Get easy tips for how to use Himi gouache. This inexpensive gouache is perfect for beginners.

By the way, I have a whole series with gouache tutorials.

close up of himi gouache

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You might also like this review on Himi gouache.

Himi gouache and Miya gouache are the same product, but with different labels. For simplicity’s sake, I’m just going to call them Himi gouache in this post.

Himi gouache is an inexpensive student-grade gouache that is fun to use. Unlike most student-grade paints, this gouache is easy to use and can help you learn how to use gouache before making an expensive investment in professional paints.

Keep in mind that these are student-grade, so no pigment information is available. If you plan on selling your art, you will want professional-grade paint so that you know which pigments are lightfast.

However, these paints are fun to use in a sketchbook and to learn with. You get a ton of paint for the price, so it doesn’t feel precious.

How to Use Himi Gouache

Supplies Needed:

  • Himi gouache
  • Paintbrushes
  • Paper (I like this watercolor paper)
  • Water
  • Paper towels
  • Mixing tray (if your set doesn’t come with one or you need more space)

Notes about supplies:

Brushes: When painting with gouache paint, you don’t want to use expensive watercolor brushes. Gouache is a bit harder to get out of the paintbrush, so use a brush more similar to acrylic paintbrushes. These brushes are very affordable and work well.

I like using this brush cleaner to clean my brushes after painting with gouache. Wash out your brush, wipe the brush on the soap and rinse until the water is clear.

Paper: You can use a variety of paper types with gouache. If you plan to cover the entire paper or use a lot of water, use watercolor paper or at the least mixed media paper. These papers are heavy enough to keep the paper from buckling too much.

Learn more about the best paper for gouache.

You can use this paint in sketchbooks as well, but make sure that they’re watercolor sketchbooks.


Setting Up the Paint

When you first get your Himi gouache, you will need to open each packet of paint. This step is really messy so have paper towels on hand.

As with all new art supplies, it’s a good idea to swatch the paint colors so that you know what color they are. One of the colors looks black but is actually a really pretty navy.

himi gouache color swatches

Gouache looks different when it’s wet than dry, so this is also an important reason to swatch the colors. (The wet paint looks darker in person, but dries to a lighter color.)

dry vs wet gouache colors

Tips for Painting with the Himi Gouache

When Himi gouache is new, the paint is nice and moist. Use a damp brush to paint with the jelly gouache. A milky consistency is what you’re aiming for.

gouache paint consistency swatches

The paint will go on thick and opaque straight out of the pan, but it’s a bit messy on the edges. When you add a bit of water, it’s much easier to work with and get a cleaner edge.

Adding more water will dilute the gouache and make it more transparent, like watercolor paint.

None of these consistencies are wrong and can all be used in a painting. Personally, I love the dry gouache look for backgrounds.

Colors can be mixed like any other paint. You will probably find that you use a ton of white paint to lighten the colors.

If you run out of white, more Himi gouache can be purchased from Aliexpress or you could just mix it with a tube of white gouache from another brand.

You can use the mixing tray that came with the set or you can use something else. I like using enamel trays, but palette paper also works well.

mixing green and blue gouache

If the paint dries on the mixing tray, it is still usable. Add a few drops of water and let them sit before painting.

Since gouache is opaque, you can layer colors. To keep the colors from mixing, let the first layer dry completely before painting the next layer or the paint will reactivate and mix.

dark over light and light over dark paint gouache

You can paint light colors over dark with gouache. Himi gouache will need several coats to cover the dark color though.

gouache butterfly painting
gouache butterfly
It took several coats for the light colors to cover the dark background.

This paint contains a lot of pigment, so you may find that you need to change your water often.

Sketches for your drawing can be done with pencil, watercolor pencils, or even colored pencils.

If you use graphite pencils, make sure that you lightly erase the marks before painting. Graphite can be more difficult to cover.

How to Paint with Himi Gouache

Please note: you can paint your background before or after. If you paint a dark background, use a light-colored pencil for sketching so that you can see the lines.

  1. Sketch out your painting. Lightly erase if you use a regular pencil.
  2. Dip your paint brush in the water and then the paint. Mixing a small amount with water on your palette is a good way to save time.
  3. You don’t need to wet your paint brush constantly (like when you paint with watercolors.)
  4. Use a large brush for large areas and switch to smaller brushes for detailed areas.
  5. For best results, keep a wet edge when working. It doesn’t cause blooms like watercolor paint, but it can result in a smoother finish.
  6. Avoid overworking the paint as you layer paint. The first layer of paint will lift if it’s not all the way dry.
  7. To blend paint, add the first layer, let it dry a bit and then add the second layer.
  8. Once the paint is dry, you can layer it with colored pencils, ink, or paint pens.

Does Himi Gouache Dry Out?

Eventually, the paint will dry out.

Himi gouache may dry out faster if you live in a drier environment. I paint in my basement and live in a humid location, so even after a year, my Himi gouache has not dried out completely.

Himi gouache after 1 year

How to Rehydrate Himi Gouache

Himi gouache can be reactivated if it dries. Spray it with water (or add water with a dropper), let it sit for a few minutes, and then mix the paint and water with a popsicle stick.

If it’s really dry, you might need to let the water soak in for several hours.

adding water to dry gouache

To prevent the paint from drying out, spray the paint with water when you put it away.

I’ve also heard about this paint getting moldy, but I haven’t experienced that for myself.

How to Store Himi Gouache Paint

For storage, I keep my gouache stored flat in an IKEA drawer unit. I would not store the paint on its side or you risk the paint leaking.

I’m moving in a few weeks, and I plan on placing this paint in a gallon-sized ziplock baggie and making sure that it sits flat during the move. It will travel in my car with me, along with all of my other paints.

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gouache set and paintbrushes

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