What's the Best Gouache Paint?
Shared on 27 May 2022, by Rowan
If you're unfamiliar with gouache, sometimes known as opaque watercolor, it is a water-based paint that has a texture somewhere between acrylic and watercolor. However, unlike acrylic paint, which frequently dries glossy and textured (requiring a matte finish in certain circumstances to get the desired appearance), gouache dries matte and flat. When it dries, it retains its soluble nature and can be moved around or thinned out.
Depending on how much water is added to the gouache paint, it can create complete or sheer coverage. Because it is so easy to get full coverage, it is ideal for painting light over dark. It also dries quite rapidly. This makes gouache paint an incredibly popular medium choice for everyone from beginner to experienced artists.
There are plenty of brands on the market, from super cheap to fairly expensive. However, it can be difficult to decide what type of gouache paint to use. This is where we come in: I plan to provide a detailed review of some of the most well-known gouache paint brands on Amazon. All of these brands, however, have incredibly positive reviews overall so it can be difficult to tell the differences between them.
I’ll be going over the details of three of the most popular brands of gouache paint: HIMI Gouache Paint, Windsor & Newton Gouache Paint and Arteza Gouache Paint. While these reviews are going to be subjective to opinion (mine), I’ll try to make these gouache paint reviews as detailed as possible so that even if I don’t like a certain aspect of paint, you’ll find out enough about that aspect to be able to tell if you might like it!
I’ll be going over the pros and cons of these paint brands! I’ll also be giving a general 1-10 star review. I hope that these reviews make it easier for you to decide what gouache paint to purchase!
If you’re looking for what to buy when getting into gouache paint, you can find all my recommendations in one list, powered by Share-A-Cart.
Winsor & Newton Designers’ Gouache Introductory Set
Overall Rating: 7.5/10 Stars
Winsor & Newton is a well-established, slightly higher-end paint company in general. Their gouache paints are a go-to for many artists. However, I wasn’t the biggest fan. I actually went through two sets of these because I really wanted to make sure that after finishing my first set, I wasn’t just imagining the negatives.
- They’re incredibly opaque, and you can easily cover dark with light paint.
- They’re super bright, and they don’t lose that vibrancy with age.
- Most of the paints don’t come out streaky.
- They dry down completely matte.
- This set of introductory colors is great for beginners trying to learn color theory on a more complex level.
- They won’t lift paints underneath!
- You can purchase individual colors if you run out.
- If you travel with paints, this is a great set that’s easy to carry.
- There is a weird smell with the blues and greens. My blue smelled like a fish market. There are a number of other reviews confirming that I’m not the only one. After a few months, these paints dry up no matter how well you cap them. If you don’t use pans to store these in, then good luck getting them out of the tubes. This makes rehydrating them very difficult. Some of the paints, specifically the cooler colors, can come out streaky and seem to have pigment separation (they bubble when opening them). For the price, a ten set of 14ml for almost $60 just isn’t super worth it in my opinion. Especially when there are more consistent gouache paint brands with similar quality and more options out there. If you want more colors, be prepared to spend $10-$20 per 14ml tube. 10 introductory colors are great if you’re into color theory or enjoy making your own colors. But if you’re not someone who loves color theory or constant mixing beyond adjusting shades, then you’re not going to enjoy these too much.
Arteza Gouache Paint
Overall Rating: 6.5/10 stars
Arteza Paint is consistently a great budget option for beginners with almost any medium on the market, and the same goes for their gouache paints. They’re one of the best introductory paint brands out there because of their quantity, quality, and color variety. However, they definitely have some issues that might be frustrating for someone more advanced in their gouache painting journey.
- The color choice is endless. It’s amazing whether you’re a beginner who wants to focus more on painting and not color mixing, or you’re an advanced artist who just doesn’t want to spend time mixing all of your colors.
- For the price, the quantity is great.
- TWO white colors.
- Very vibrant pigments for most of the paints.
- They reactivate very easily.
- They’re all not very opaque – it can be a headache to place lighter colors on top of darker ones. Some colors are even sheerer than others.
- The colors definitely lift if you layer them and try to blend at all, making paintings patchy.
- They all lean on the streakier, thinner side: it can be hard to get a large, smooth swatch of one color.
- You’ll go through these faster than you might with the Winsor & Newton because they’re a lot more greasy.
- You can’t buy individual tubes.
- Sometimes they can dry chalky even on the painting if you’re using more than a thin coat of gouache. I’ve had some paintings flake on me, days after they’ve been finished.
HIMI Gouache Paint Set
Overall Rating: 9/10 stars
This HIMI Gouache Paint Set has gone viral over and over again during the past few years, and I get why! It’s not a layout commonly found in gouache paint, and the price for the quality and quantity is honestly unbeatable in my opinion.
- They’re all completely opaque and never streaky. None of them.
- Incredibly consistent. They all feel and act the same.
- Easy to layer, and don’t lift when painting on top of one another.
- If they dry, they are easier to reactivate than tube paints due to their open layout. They also act the same after being reactivated.
- More than enough colors to allow for just basic shade mixing.
- It’s hard to run out fast! They’re not watery, so you don’t need to use extra when mixing.
- There are 30ml of paint per tub, so you’re getting a lot more paint for your buck than you would with most brands.
- They’re easy to travel with and very portable.
- The lid doesn’t always close right, and it can get annoying to fiddle with it.
- Some of the paint seals can come slightly open (although I will say that even though my dark red came that way, I didn’t find the paint dried out or as having a change in its consistency).