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.

A Proliferation of Whiskers – Pencil to Paint Tutorial

Artwork-Zebra Zensations Technical Pen, QoR watercolor and White Signo Uniball gel pen on a Hahnemühle Cold Pressed Watercolor Postcard. Brushes: Princeton Elite Travel Round size 10.

Did you know that a walrus can eat 4,000 – 6,000 clams in one sitting?

Doodlewash prompt ‘walrus’.

This painting is what is known as a ‘line and wash’ because it is drawn in pen first and then painted with watercolor.

Before You Start

Photo courtesy of skeeze on Pixabay 

What drew me to the reference photo was that wild stare and the whiskers, so I knew I wanted to focus on that. I also wanted to capture that splotchiness of color but I didn’t want it to compete with the focus on the stare/whiskers.

I first considered using a rough postcard, but decided it was the wrong kind of texture, and went with a cold-pressed postcard instead.


(This scan is darkened so you can see the pencil lines. You should pencil lines in lightly)

The shapes in this painting are simple so I free-handed it. Notice how the folds of the walrus’s body tend to echo each other. Vertically, the tusks, the separation of face and body, and eye and body all have a similar flow. The same thing with the top lip, the back of the head and the folds along the back.

This very sketchy pencil drawing was used to place detail and to make sure everything fit on the card. I didn’t bother with the whiskers. They’re too much fussy detail and too easy to place to bother with at this point.

Not sure if you’re up to drawing this? Art Tutor has a great grid program that will help by applying a grid to your uploaded photo. You can also crop and adjust color and value.


Although there is a lot of texture in the walrus’ skin, I decided to minimize that, making everything subordinate to the whiskers and eye (though the shapes are simple, this walrus could be painted in many different ways). At this step, I established my values*, drew the outline and spent a lot of time on the whiskers.

Values= dark to light. When you establish your values, you are deciding where the darkest areas are, and some of the important mid-tones.


I did a light wash of Quinacridone Magenta over the entire Walrus, and then I dabbed a light wash of Nickel Azo Yellow over the whisker and nose area, then Transparent Pyrrole Orange around the nose, the lip and the folds around the head and neck. By ‘dabbed’, I mean I bounced the brush up and down, sometimes using the tip and sometimes the side of the brush.

Using dabbing motions again, Dioxine Purple was splashed over most of the walrus. I dropped burnt sienna here and there in shaded areas. When the paint was dry, I did some dry brushing with a hint of the purple for texture.

Burnt Sienna and Ultramarine Blue were mixed half & half for the darkest value under the eye and whiskers. I thinned it with more water and painted in the areas between the whiskers.

Using the side of my round brush, the ripples of water were done with Phthalo Blue GS and Sap Green was dropped in while the blue was still quite wet. With a dry brush, I picked up just a little of the color from the water and used it to shade the tusks.

Once that dried, I used a White Signo Uniball gel pen to highlight the top layer of whiskers, and added a few dots along the snout and around the eye.


And Where You Can Buy Them

Hahnemühle Cold Press Watercolor Postcards (review).

Zebra Zensations Technical pens (review)

QOR Watercolor Half Pan Set of 12 Ultimate Mixing Set   (review)

Princeton Aqua Elite Series 4850 Synthetic Kolinsky Sable Round, Size 10

White Uniball Signo Gel Pens


Chocolate Labrador Retriever Puppy – Postcards for the Lunch Bag

Artwork-Zebra Zensations Technical Pen and Daniel Smith watercolor on a Hahnemühle Cold Pressed Watercolor Postcard. Brushes: Escoda Aquario Petit Gris Mop, Series 1130 Size 12 . Photo courtesy of Pezibear on Pixabay.

Did you know, that until 1960, the only color considered desirable for Labrador Retriever’s was black.? But black labs carry the chocolate, yellow and silver genes so they kept popping up, and they’re beautiful, so eventually the dog world wised up and all these colors are popular and bred for, these days.

Doodlewash prompt ‘chocolate’.

I don’t use many browns other than burnt sienna and occasionally a little burnt umber. I tend to mix other colors with these two to get the brown I want or mix purple and greens. But I do love Daniel Smith’s Piemontite Genuine.

It pairs well with Lavender. The challenge for this painting was to get that sheen of a healthy dog’s coat and I think the two were perfect. I sort of regret painting this particular scene on a postcard. A larger size would have allowed me to play with the sheen and all the textures more easily. One of these days, I’ll have to paint it again.


And Where You Can Buy Them

Hahnemühle Cold Press Watercolor Postcards (review).

Zebra Zensations Technical pens (review)

DANIEL SMITH Extra Fine Watercolors 

Princeton Neptune Travel Brush, Series 4750, Round, Size 8

Fox Terrier – Postcards for the Lunch Bag

Artwork-Zebra Zensations Technical Pen and QoR watercolor on a Hahnemühle Cold Pressed Watercolor Postcard. Brushes: Princeton Neptune Travel Round size 8. Photo courtesy of Pezibear on Pixabay.

Today, my hubby took a Fox Terrier in his lunchbag. Did you know that up until 1860, any dog small and fast enough to flush a fox out of his den was considered a fox terrier?

Doodlewash prompt ‘pets’.


And Where You Can Buy Them

Zebra Zensations Technical pens (review)

QoR Watercolor Half Pan Set of 12   (review)

Princeton Neptune Travel Brush, Series 4750, Round, Size 8


REVIEW: White Nights Pastel Watercolors – Part 2

Yesterday, in Part 1 of this review, I discussed the White Nights Pastel Watercolours in general. Today, I’m going to show you what happened when I tried to draw over the paint with technical pen.

My first thought when I saw these colors is that they would be fabulous to use as backgrounds for technical pen drawings and tangles. The colors had a somewhat chalky feel (not look) once the paint dried, though. I almost expected it to rub off easily, but it doesn’t.

I started drawing with a Zebra Zensations 0.8 nib size technical pen.

At first, everything seemed fine, but then the ink stopped flowing very well. I wiped off the nib, and it was okay for a while, but started having problems again.

The Zebra’s a pretty sturdy pen, but it does have a fabric nib, and those can clog.

I switched to a Micron PN (plastic nib) 0.8 technical pen and moved on to the next background.

The situation was much the same – the plastic nib worked fine for a while then it became harder and harder to get the ink to flow. The Aqua Black paper is pretty soft, and I thought it might be at least part of the problem. I decided to switch to the background I did on white Nostalgie paper. It has a much smoother, harder surface.

The pen worked a little better on this paper; it took longer before the flow clogged up. But clog up it did. For grins, I switched to the Zensations with its fabric tip. I kept going, switching between the two pens. My line work was clumsier than usual because I was trying to get that ink to flow!

Eventually, both pens stopped working altogether. I may be able to get them working again, but they’ll never give me crisp flowing lines again.

*sigh* But these are such beautiful colors. I’ll know not to plan to draw over them with technical pen, but you’ll be seeing them a lot used in other ways because I like them!

REVIEW: White Nights Pastel Watercolors – Part 1

My first brand of serious watercolor was a set of Yarka St Petersburg pan paints. They are also sold under the name of White Nights. They are a professional grade, though on the lower end of professional*, very nicely priced (for professional). Recently, they came out with a set of six, new pastel colors.

*Not to be confused with the student grade Yarka sets that come with round pans in a long thin palette for about $8. Those are in fact surprisingly decent. Much better than Prang!

This is a set of individual pans – one each of the new colors. They don’t come in a palette. All White Nights paint pans are full size, which are better for your brushes and you get twice the paint than the standard half-pans.

The colors are:

When you talk pastel colors in watercolor, it usually means a pigment mixed with white and that is the case here. The names on this set aren’t standard. The index numbers tell you more – you might recognize the color under these names.

PW6 is Titanium white and all the the colors are mixed with it.

  • Coral is PR242/PW6. PR242 often goes under the names Scarlet, Cadmium Red HUE, French Vermilion Hue
  • Pink Peony is PR122/PW6. PR122 often goes under the names Magenta, Brilliant Red Violet, Brilliant Magenta
  • Rose Quartz – PR170/PW6. PR170 often goes under the names Napthol Red, Permanent Red, Ruby Red
  • Lilac – PV19/PW6. PV19 often goes under the names Quinacridone Rose or Purple, Alizarin Crimson, Red Rose
  • Royal blue – PB29/PW6. PB29 is best known as Ultramarine Blue.
  • Lavender – PV19/PB29/PW6. This is a very common mix and standard name for it.

So what do the colors look like when you paint with them? Pretty nice, really. Watercolors mixed with white are often chalky. These colors could be used for a chalkboard look, but they have a beautiful glow.

You can see how well all the colors co-ordinate.

I would have like to see a yellow in the set, but that would allow you to mix muddy color. You could also mix greens and oranges, so there are pros and cons to adding yellow. As it is, these colors will always work well together.

On black paper, the colors really excel. They are truly opaque colors, but you do need to use more than one layer to get real color. A single layer has a grayish tinge to it. With this painting, I used less water and only a few layers, which allowed the colors to glow.

In this painting, I used more water and built up layers to get more of a graduation of color values. While the added layers give you a wide range of values, it also reduces the glow.

You could mix these colors on your own. But you’d have to experiment with the ratio of color to white, and would never get exactly the same shade twice. You could waste paint trying for the right shade. If you like to experiment, and want to learn the best rations – mix them for yourself. If you like convenience, these colors are a fabulous buy.

Tomorrow, I’ll show you what happens when you try to draw over these paints. Part 2.

Numbat – Postcards for the Lunch Bag

Artwork-Zebra Zensations Technical Pen, QoR watercolor and White Signo Uniball gel pen on a Hahnemühle Cold Pressed Watercolor Postcard. Brushes: Princeton Elite Travel Round size 10.

Numbat – I know. It sounds like something you’d call your brother or sister when you were kids. It wouldn’t be much of an insult though. Numbats are termite-eating eating marsupials from Australia.

They ARE a bit oddball – unlike other ant-eating species, they don’t dig and don’t have those usual big, nasty claws. And they don’t have pouches like other marsupials. So if that’s what you meant when calling names, you were right on. It’s still not much of an insult, because Numbats are cute enough to get away with it.


And Where You Can Buy Them

Hahnemühle Cold Press Watercolor Postcards (review).

Zebra Zensations Technical pens (review)

QOR Watercolor Half Pan Set of 12 Ultimate Mixing Set   (review)

Princeton Aqua Elite Series 4850 Synthetic Kolinsky Sable Round, Size 10

White Uniball Signo Gel Pens