Watercolor vs. Gouache: What to Paint With?

Are you an artist? Or are you just starting out and feel lost when it comes to choosing between Watercolor or Gouache. Both are reliable paints, but they’re used in different ways.

They may look similar at first glance. These two paints have many differences.

To improve your painting skills, it is important to understand when and why you should use them. This article will explain the main differences between these popular paints as well as some tips for choosing between them.

Gouache Paint vs Watercolor Which Is Best?

You may have ever wondered if these beautiful paints were made with watercolor or gouache?

Each paint is used in a different manner. Although they share many features and sometimes produce the same results, each one is used for its own purposes.

So, let’s go over the differences and find out when to use one over the other and how you could incorporate them into your artwork.

What is Watercolor?

Watercolor paint can be described as a painting technique that involves mixing pigments and water. Watercolor is often used on paper. It is ideal for those who require a transparent paint.

People love watercolor over any other paint because it is so easy to use. I bet you haven’t heard of anyone ruining their brushes from using watercolor.

Watercolor’s benefits

Watercolor is a versatile paint. You can do so many things with it. This is the paint you need to achieve transparent results. There is more to it than that.

These are the main benefits that you get when using watercolor paint. We do a deep dive into watercolor printer in our article to printing on watercolor paper.


Wouldn’t it be great if you could get watercolor in many different forms? We have some great news for you. Watercolors can come in many forms. Pans, tubes, and liquid ­– they all have different consistencies.

To get the best results with watercolors, you don’t need to be an expert. All you need is watercolor paper, a brush, and water. Also, you don’t need any special paper or brushes to work with watercolor.

Lighter Results

One of the most striking differences between these paints is that watercolor isn’t nearly as opaque as Gouache. This is great for those who desire brighter and more vivid results.

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Watercolor can be used as a water-soluble paint. You only need to mix watercolor with paint. The color of your paint will vary depending on how much water is added.

Both paints are water-soluble so they can be modified even after drying thoroughly.

If you find yourself in this situation, you will only need to add a little water to make it better.

Different Techniques

The best thing about watercolor is its transparency. This gives you the opportunity to use many different techniques. This is great for people who are more creative and want to be a bit more spontaneous.

Watercolor’s disadvantages

You can’t have everything with watercolors and flying colors. To get the best results, there are some rules you should know.


It is important to remember the time when working with watercolors. Missing just a few seconds could result in unintended results.

If you want a smooth surface and vivid colors, for example, the wetness must be even. You will end up with blotchiness and strange textured effects.


Remember that watercolor is transparent. The best way to make it professional is to go from light to dark.

This means that you should first apply lighter shades, then move on as you paint to darker shades.

There is no going back

It is important to be careful when working in watercolors. You can’t fix a mistake you made by using the wrong colors or simply because you don’t like the result.

While it is true that you can use water to fix any undesired results—you can only lift some of the current paint. You can’t expect to fix it all.

What is Gouache?

Gouache is an opaque, matte paint that can be mixed. Many people confuse watercolor paint with Gouache paint. However, it is true that you can sometimes use Gouache as a watercolor.

Gouache: Benefits

Gouache paint is mysterious in its own right. Gouache paint is a great choice for many artists, just as Watercolor paint.

It’s easy to use

Gouache paint is also available in tubes and pens, just like watercolors. You only need to have a brush, clean water, and any paper at home to use Gouache paint.

Superb Flexibility

Water-soluble gouache paint can also be used. Water can be used to achieve different levels of transparency.

 Gouache vs Watercolor, Which is more versatile?

The most important difference between these two paints is the ability to go from light-to-dark and dark-to light. Watercolor can only go from light-to-dark.

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This is very useful if your shade needs to remain darker and opaque. To make it transparenter, you can also water it down.

This allows you to repaint the same areas multiple times for better results. You can also use it with colored paper.


Gouache paints dry much faster than watercolor. After it has dried completely, the results will look flat and matte. Gouache paint is a great choice if you have a short time and need fast drying paint.

Gouache’s disadvantages

Gouache paint can be very useful but there are certain drawbacks that you should keep in mind.

Color Difference

When working with Gouache, remember that darker colors tend to lighten while lighter colors tend to dry faster. Mixing your paint will give you better results.

Somewhat Fragile

The cracking of Gouache paint is one of the biggest drawbacks. If it isn’t properly painted or mounted on a sturdy support, it can easily crack.

You can expect cracks if you aren’t careful with your Gouache painting.

Watercolor vs. Gouache: The Differences

Two well-known types are watercolor and gouache. There are however some important differences between the two.

Let’s take a look to learn more about these two styles of painting.

Paint Quality

Water-soluble paints can be used in watercolor and gouache. This means that both styles of painting can be activated by adding water.

But, it’s a different story when you apply them.

You must use watercolor paper to achieve the best watercolor results.

You can use watercolor paper, or any other thick paper, to make gouache paint. You can use either one.


When they want transparency in their drawings, many artists prefer watercolor to gouache paint.

But why is watercolor transparenter than Gouache paint? Watercolor is made from small amounts of ground pigments. It gives off a transparent appearance when it is spread.

Gouache is made from larger pigments. So, if you try to apply the paint, it will sit on top of the current layer, and it won’t look as transparent as watercolor.


Both watercolor and gouache have different ways of working with white.

If you want white spots in watercolor, you must leave them out.

It would be like putting white paint on it. If you want to keep the original white, then you must leave out any spots you don’t want to preserve.

Gouache has a different approach. With Gouache, if you want a white area, you don’t need to save the area you want to be white.

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White paint can be applied and it will work perfectly.


Another difference is the way glazes work.

You can use as many glazes with watercolor as you like. To make this happen, however, the current layer must be dried.

This is not possible with Gouache. You can’t achieve this effect with Gouache unless you add oil. This makes it more difficult than it should be.

You can add glazes to the paper in the same manner as you would with watercolor. The paint will sit on top of it, and not sink into it.

Frequently Asked Questions

This section addresses any questions you might have about these two paints.

Can you use Gouache to make watercolors?

You can use them in different ways depending on what you are trying to achieve. There are a few situations where you can use Gouache to create watercolors. These include glazing, lifting, and many more.

What uses is Gouache useful for?

Gouache blends well with colored pencils. Gouache can also be used to change from light to dark or from dark to light.

Is watercolor suitable as a beginner’s art?

Whether you’re a professional artist or a beginner, you will find it rather easy to use. It can do many cool and creative things, making it an excellent choice for beginners.

How long does it take for Gouache to dry?

Gouache paint dries rather quickly. It takes around 20 minutes before it completely dries.

How do I fix Gouache?

You can still fix Gouache if something goes wrong while applying it. To activate it, you just need to apply a little water.

Final Words

There are many differences between the two. Both can be used in your projects to achieve cool and diverse results.

Watercolor vs Gouache, Which one should I choose? You can use gouache paint to get the same results as watercolor.

On On the other hand, watercolor can be used for many things that Gouache cannot. However, watercolor can be used for many things that Gouache cannot.

For example, you can add transparent colors to your painting and not opaque.

Next: Easy guideline for beginners to gesso a canvas.

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