Gouache painting

Gouache paint, also known as poster paint, is a matte and opaque paint that dissolves with water. Therefore, you could say that it is a form of watercolor, however, gouache has a better opacity and you can therefore paint over dark areas with light colors.

Gouache paint from Schmincke

Since Schmincke was founded in 1881, their mission has been to create the best and finest artist-quality paints. At the beginning of their foundation, they mainly worked with the production of oil paints, but around the turn of the century they added watercolor and gouache paints to their range. The main focus was on offering the finest soft pastel colors as well as an extensive color selection for the artists, printmakers and retouchers of the time.

Gouache paint is comparable to watercolor paint in that it is composed of finely ground pigments and is dissolved with water in order for you to paint with it. However, gouache paint is modified to be opaque and therefore the opacity is significantly better than regular watercolors. This allows you to use darker background colors, as gouache paint can cover a dark color with a light color without the dark color showing through.

Can gouache paint be used with watercolors?

Watercolors and gouache can be used together, as they both dissolve with water. This is especially beneficial if you want to create paintings where some parts of the canvas need to be covered with stronger colors than others. For example, nature portraits where elements such as clouds or puddles should appear transparent, while the rest of the surroundings should be opaque.

If you're already familiar with watercolors, we also recommend that you try mixing gouache paint in your next piece of art. The fact that you suddenly have a paint with a better hiding power opens up many new, fresh possibilities. And the fact that you can mix it with watercolor paint exactly as you like gives you the opportunity to create unique works of art.

Is gouache the same as poster paint?

Maybe you've heard of poster paint? It's actually exactly the same paint as gouache, but as gouache paint used to be hugely popular with illustrators to create posters for reprinting, it's been nicknamed "poster paint". However, it's still just as popular with artists and illustrators today, as its colors work well for posters, illustrations, comics and other similar design projects.

But gouache paints are not a recent invention. In fact, it is believed that this type of paint and painting technique can be traced back to ancient Egypt around 4,000 years ago. However, at that time, honey was used as a binder, whereas today glue, or more specifically gum arabic, is used as a binder.

The history of gouache painting

Gouache paint has been used extensively by all kinds of people throughout history. For example, it has also been used in European illuminated manuscripts dating back to 400-600 years BC. However, it wasn't until the 18th century, when paint had become more commonplace, that it was given its name by the French: Gouache.

In the 18th century, gouache was often used as a supplement to watercolor paint, as it is especially good for painting small, fine details in pastel paintings. Later, in the 19th century, watercolor paint began to be produced industrially and included "Chinese white", so you could mix your own gouache paint, which we see in paintings of the time. And it was here, in the 19th century, that gouache paint began to be used in the production of posters, hence the name poster paint.