Gouache VS Acrylic Gouache Part 1


Artwork: Holbein Acryla Gouache Mixing Set of 5  on Hahnemühle Britannia watercolor paper.

Just when you thought it was safe to come out of the store … queue music from Jaws!

Note that this painting was done on white paper, not black. I recently got a set of Acrylic Gouache and it includes a very rich dark black. So don’t have black paper? Make it black with acrylic gouache!

Acrylic gouache? AKA Acryl Gouache or Acryla Gouache. Yes. It is definitely different from Gouache or Designer’s Gouache.

It’s confusing, but important that you don’t confuse the two. The two mediums handle differently and cannot be mixed together from the tube. One can be painted over the other though, and finished paintings from either have similar qualities. Gouache is a form of watercolor paint, and Acrylic Gouache is acrylic paint. So, what does that mean?

If you have bought acrylics with a matte finish in the past, acrylic gouache is likely to be the same thing, just sold under a new name, because gouache is enjoying a comeback.

A list of the main differences:

GouacheAcrylic Gouache
What kind of paint?WatercolorAcrylic
  
Can it be rewet once dry?YesNo
  
Can you reuse paint dried on the palette?YesNo
  
Can you lift color off paper once dry?YesNo
  
Will colors mix if you paint wet over dry?PossiblyNo
  
Can you paint over it with watercolor once it is dry?YesYes
  
Can you paint over it with gouache once it is dry?YesYes
  
Can you mix it with watercolor fresh from the tube?YesNo  
  
Can the two kinds of gouache be mixed together fresh from the tube?NoNo    
  
What kind of surface does the dried paint haveMatte, velvety VS the translucence of most watercolorMatte, velvety VS the shiny, satin of most Acrylics

Why might you prefer one over the over? It’s the same issue as whether you prefer watercolor or acrylic.

What’s the main benefit of acrylic gouache over regular gouache? Because acrylic gouache has a matte surface, you can paint over it (once dry) with either watercolor or regular gouache. This means you can prep a background with acrylic gouache.

Page in a watercolor journal prepped with a background of acrylic gouache. Later, I’ll paint over it watercolor or regular gouache. Note that this is streaky because I used an incredibly cheap brush not because of the acrylic gouache.

That means you can prep a page with a wash of acrylic gouache, let it dry, and then paint over it with watercolor or regular gouache. You can prep ahead, and then paint over the color minutes later (as long as it has dried) or months later.

Tomorrow, I’ll talk about the results I got from painting over this background.

Gouache VS Acrylic Gouache Part 2