How to Choose Your Gouache | Your Guide to Gouache Brands and Paints | Sade J | Skillshare

How to Choose Your Gouache | Your Guide to Gouache Brands and Paints

Sade J, Watercolorist & Illustrator

Play Speed
  • 0.5x
  • 1x (Normal)
  • 1.25x
  • 1.5x
  • 2x
17 Lessons (46m)
    • 1. Welcome to Your Guide to Gouache!

      1:06
    • 2. Getting to Know Your Tools | Materials

      1:08
    • 3. Learning to Read | All about Gouache Tubes

      2:36
    • 4. Artist vs. Student Grade Gouache | Learning the Difference

      4:04
    • 5. What Colors do I Really Need? | Palette Suggestions

      4:09
    • 6. Winsor and Newton

      2:52
    • 7. M Graham

      2:51
    • 8. Sennelier

      3:37
    • 9. Royal Talens

      2:18
    • 10. Schmincke Horadam

      2:46
    • 11. Schmincke Akademie

      2:32
    • 12. Lukas

      2:54
    • 13. Reeves

      3:17
    • 14. Caran d Ache

      3:49
    • 15. Linel Extra Fine

      2:52
    • 16. My Favorite Gouache Brands

      1:44
    • 17. Thank You and Class Project!

      1:12
21 students are watching this class

About This Class

Are you interested in gouache, but you don’t even know where to begin? Maybe you’ve been looking at what tools other artists use, but you’re not sure what is right for you?

Well you’re in the perfect place!

I’m an artist who love gouache, and I have been painting in gouache for years. I have a wide range of both student grand and artist grade gouache paints that I am so excited to share with you! It’s a list that probably includes gouache brands that you have probably never heard of before! By the time we are done, I hope that you will be able to choose the paints that are right for you!

Each brand will be evaluated on these characteristics:

  • • Texture
    • Flatness
    • Opacifiers
    • Opacity
    • Vibrancy
    • Pigmentation
    • Mix-ability
    • Layering
    • Reactivation
    • Overall experience

Your final project is to share your own personal gouache set up and tell us about the gouache paints you chose. Sharing a looking at the ways other artists choose their tools is a great way to get started!

Transcripts

1. Welcome to Your Guide to Gouache!: Hi. I'm Shate from CDC Today, and this is your guide to gouache brands. In this guide, we will explore which gouache tools are perfect for you to start your painting journey. Gouache has been becoming more and more popular these days. But there's not so much information out there, and there's one question that I hear all the time. What supply should I use? Wow. Here's your answer. I have collected a large variety of gouache paints and I am so excited to share with you my findings about each of them in this class. We will compare each of these brands on different aspects including opacity, light fastness, consistency, and overall quality. At the end of this class, I hope that you'll have discovered some awesome new gouache paints and be able to determine which one is right for you. Your final project is to share with all of us which gouache paints you have chosen and why. I'm super excited to start this class with you. Join me and we can get going. 2. Getting to Know Your Tools | Materials: Getting to know your tools. It's time to talk about materials. I'll talk about this in more detail later, so this is just a general overviews. Technically, if you already paint with watercolor, then you're all set for painting with gouache, so don't worry about that. The materials that you'll need for painting with gouache are some gouache paints of course, at least two glasses of water, one for rinsing off your brush and the other one for when you need clean water. Since gouache dirties up your water pretty quickly, I like to work with three glasses. A napkin or a cloth for drying your brush, in gouaches this is really important because if your brush is too wet, you can end up in a lot of trouble. I use an old cloths so that I don't have to throw a paper every time, brushes. Generally, I recommend brushes that are slightly stiffer and slightly less absorbent, then watercolor brushes and of course, paper. Almost any kind of thick paper will do. 3. Learning to Read | All about Gouache Tubes: If you've ever seen a Gouache tube, you might have noticed that there's always little symbols on it. You might wonder what in the world does that mean. Let's go through each of them, lightfastness. Lightfastness is an indication of how resistant the pigment in the paint is to fading in the sunlight. This is really important if you want to sell your artwork or if you even want to have it hanging on the wall, you want to look for a paint with a high lightfastness rating to make sure that your painting can last as long as possible. Unfortunately, there is no standard and all of the different brands use different symbols. There are stars, letters, Arabic numerals, and Roman numerals and the number one could mean highest or lowest lightfastness depending. Make sure to check the pamphlet for your brand in order to figure out the way that they indicate lightfastness. Series number, this number is not really important, it's more of a marketing number and it just tells you how expensive the pigment is, but it doesn't actually say anything about the quality of the paint. Pigment number, this is perhaps the most important symbol on the tube. The pigment number is the number that actually tells you, what pigment is inside your paint. The way it works is like this, the P in the pigment number stands for pigment. The next thing is a letter that stands for the color, so B is blue, R is red and O is orange. The next two numbers are specific number identifying a specific pigment, so for example, ultramarine is PB29, so that would be pigment blue, number 29. Opacity, this last symbol is pretty important in Gouache. It tells you how opaque your paint is or how covering it will be. It is generally a little square that is more or less filled in. A square that is not filled in means that it is transparent. If there is a line going diagonally through it, that means it is semi-transparent. If it is half-filled in, that means that it is semi-opaque, and if it is fully-filled in, that means that it is totally opaque. The difference between a semi-opaque paint and a semi-transparent paint is that a semi-transparent paint is more transparent than opaque, and a semi-opaque paint is more opaque than transparent, so it goes transparent, semi-transparent, semi-opaque and then opaque. 4. Artist vs. Student Grade Gouache | Learning the Difference: Remember what I told you when I was talking about the history of gouache. When designers and animators were using gouache, they didn't care if their original work lasted really long because they were just going to copy it, but these days, artists are making work for sale with their gouache and light fastness is an important factor. Generally, artist grade paints are more light fast than student grade paints. They also tend to have more pigment and less filler when compared to student grade paints. Artist grade gouache lines also tend to have more single pigment paints. Unfortunately, it can be difficult to figure out the difference between artist grade gouache and student grade gouache, and many gouache lines are unfortunately not really high-quality. So let me help you figure out the difference between the two. Here are some characteristics of artist grade paints. The easiest way to tell if a paint is artist grade, is if it list the pigment, light fastness, and opacity on the tube. Not all artist grade paints do this, and just because a paint does this, doesn't mean that it is not a student grade paint, but it's a rule of thumb. Also, if you look at the overall brand, a brand that is mostly single pigment paint is most likely an artist grade brand. Talking about the characteristics when you use it, with an artist grade paint, it will be really easy to mix clean, clear mixes of several different colors. The paint will also have a good creamy consistency, not like lumpy or jelly or liquid. The opaque pigment in an artist grade line will be opaque instead of transparent or something like that. They'll also not be streaky, they'll give you a nice, smooth, even color. Now let's talk about these student paints. Unfortunately, there is a lot of inconsistent labeling, but if you see a gouache that is called Studio or Designer, it is most likely a student grade paint. Keep in mind, Winsor & Newton's artist grade paint is called Designer as well. So you can see how that can be a little confusing. These are the characteristics of a student grade paint. They generally do not have pigment information listed, or light fastness, or opacity. Because they have more filler and less pigment, they do not last as long, and they are not as opaque generally as artist grade paints. You need a lot more of them to cover the same amount that you would with artist grade paints. They generally tend to be more streaky and difficult to make a flat wash of color with them, and even pigments that are normally opaque somehow end up not being opaque. They can be more difficult to work with in general, and create muddy mixes even when they shouldn't. Some student grade paint can have a shiny finish instead of a matte finish, and some even smell. An extra tip, if you want to check out a brand without buying a ton of tubes, try the white. The white is generally a pretty good indicator of the quality of the paint. Lower quality gouache generally has a white paint that is almost never opaque, but artist grade paint generally has a more opaque white. If you can manage it, I would suggest buying a few tubes of artist grade paint instead of a bunch of student grade paint. You will be a lot less frustrated, and your paintings will last way longer. Another thing that you can try, is to add white paint to your watercolor, because this can help you learn if you would really like to keep painting with gouache, and it can also help you stretch your range of colors if you don't have the exact right to in gouache. One more thing, if it says tempera, you should probably stay away from it? Real tempera is made out of pigment plus an egg binder, and it is a very old medium, but almost nobody makes this anymore. These days when people talk about tempera, basically what they're talking about is school paint, and you don't want that. 5. What Colors do I Really Need? | Palette Suggestions: Now you know about all the different grades and brands of paint. But, what colors exactly should you get? You can get by with as little as four paints: yellow, magenta, cyan, and white. With those colors, you can use the primaries to mix the black and you have your white to lighten your colors. Technically, this will serve you for probably almost any need, but you're going to have to mix a tan, and that will use a lot of paint. You could also expand this palette by adding a black. Then you don't have to mix that every time. If you want to get extra fancy, you can expand your palate to eight by adding the warm versions of these three colors, one yellow, one red, and one blue. Now you have cut down, you're mixing a tan. If you want to have a fully stocked kit, you can add burnt sienna, yellow och-re and raw amber to that list. I think this is really the ideal set with no limitations at all. This allows you to get nearly any color that you could need to mix without having to mix lots and lots of colors together. These are the colors that I have in my version of this setup. All of these colors are from M Graham except for the two bright colors. Cool yellow, hansa yellow PY3. Warm yellow: gamboge PY151. Color red: quinacridone rose PV19. Warm red: napthol red PR122. Cool blue: pathalo blue PB15:3. Warm blue: ultramarine blue PB29. Raw sienna and burnt sienna PBR7. Lamp black PBK6. Titanium white PW6, and zinc white PW4. Now, you may have noticed that I have two white colors in my palette. Why is that? Well, one is more translucent and one is opaque and they have different purposes. Titanium white, also called permanent white, is an opaque white. This white is best suited for when you really need something to be totally opaque and cover over that last layer, like a highlight. Zinc white, on the other hand, is translucent. It is also often called mixing white, because it is better for mixing colors without totally dulling down the saturation like the titanium white and making a pastely color really quick. Zinc white is really good for mixing, but it is not so great at covering other colors. I suggest that you get bigger tubes of these two whites and a black. Finally, if you're feeling extra fancy, you can of course add the secondary colors to your set; purple, green, and orange. One more thing. When you're done choosing all of your colors, I want you to play. Just open up your tubes and start having fun. Really, this is what it is all about your paints and not some magical jewels that you put on a shelf. They need to be painted with, mix colors together, mix pretty colors, other colors. Weird brushstrokes, just have fun. That is the best way to learn about your paints. That's exactly what I want you to do. 6. Winsor and Newton: Now, I'm going to tell you about some gouache brands, so that you can have a good idea about how they perform before you go out and buy a ton. First up, Winsor & Newton. This is a brand from the UK. It is artist grade, and the 10 milliliters of paint will cost you $3 or €2.28. Texture. It is very creamy, out of the two. Flatness. Very good. It is very easy to get a flat color, although apparently sometimes, there is a strange speckling pattern in it when it dries, but not always. Opacifiers. They definitely do add pacifiers to this paint. Vibrancy. I personally do not find the colors very vibrant, except for Bengal rose, which is a fluorescent, non-light fast color. Otherwise, the colors feel quite dull and outdated to me. Pigmentation. Quite good, not the highest of those tester and not the lowest. Mixability. It was a bit difficult for me to create clean, bright colors. It is not as frustrating as with any of the student grade paints, but it was worse than the better artist grade paints. Laying was very easy with these paints. Reactivation. Very poor. You have to scrub and scrub and scrub to get pigment over dried paint. It crumbles when dry. I would not recommend this for a dry palette. Overall experience, these are not my favorite artist great paints to work with. That is, however, a very subjective thing. There is not actually anything wrong with them. Extra notes. It doesn't seem to like being on top of alcoholic markers and pushed away from the line in my tests. 7. M Graham: M.Graham Gouache from the USA, artist grade paint. That is around $4 or €7 for 10 milliliters. Texture: juicy, creamy, and smooth. It is slightly less creamy, than shrinkers or add-on paints. Flatness: not quite as flat as Windsor and Newton. Transparent colors can show the texture of your strokes, but if it is mixed with white the colors become very flat very easily. No opacifiers are added to this paint. Opacity: Quite transparent compared to others in the transparent pigments. Vibrancy: These are some of the most hybrid of all the paints that I have tried and they are not dull at all and there is less color shift in them than on others. Pigmentation: There's so much pigment packed into this paint that it can be overwhelming if you're not used to it. A little goes a very, very long way, particularly in the paler colors. Mixability: They are very easy to mix without losing saturation. Layering: If you allow the bottom layer to fully dry, then it is not a problem. But if you want to put a bunch of paint on all at once, it can sometimes become a little more difficult to layer than some of the other artist grade gouaches. But never to the point to that I experience with the student grade gouaches where the paint was simply wiping away. Re-activation: This paint reactivates super well and it is perfectly suited to working in a dry palette. Overall experience: This was just fine. I really love these paints. Extra notes: Blending with these paints is very, very easy because the paint stays moist longer than with other gouache. 8. Sennelier: Myth gouache, from France, artist grade,and $3 or €2 per tube. The texture is extremely creamy, super-duper, thick like butter. I love the consistency. Unfortunately, the black has some weird chunky texture coming out of the tube, but as soon as water was applied that totally went away. Flat myth, It is super easy to get a very flat gouache just a perfect finish. For classifiers, no, it doesn't seem that any I added to this. Opacity, super opaque, I was able to layer on black paint as if it was child's play. Vibrancy, super vibrant, the colors are rich and deep.Pigmentation, very high. Mixability, mixes even a super limited palette very cleanly. Layering, this paint layers very easily surprisingly strong. Reactivation, the texture of the reactivated paint is not quite as creamy as with [inaudible] , but you are able to get a very strong opaque color without very much scrubbing. Overall experience, I love this paint, it would easily be my number one paint if it did not have one thing, an extremely pungent smell, that is the only and biggest downside of these paints. Actually note, the finish of this paint is so deep and velvety that I absolutely love it. 9. Royal Talens: Royal Talens gouache from the Netherlands. Artist grade paint, that is $3 or €2 per 10 milliliters. Texture is quite liquidy and thin out of the tube. That was very strange. Flatness: Holds streaks even in some of the more opaque colors. The fat color appeared flatter when it is wet and then develop streaks while drying. It is more streaky and textured than other similar artist grade paints. Opacifiers: Yes, these are definitely added. Opacity: Fine. They are not super opaque or super transparent. Vibrancy: The colors are surprisingly nice and vibrant. Pigmentation: Not very high. I felt like I needed a lot of paint in order to mix any color. Mix ability: The colors are slightly duller than they should be, but they don't look unpleasant. These paints overall have a certain look about them, which is quite nice. Layering: This paint layer is fine, it is not very easy and it is not very difficult to layer with them. Reactivation: This does not reactivate to a creamy consistency where you can get is very thin and transparent. Overall experience: It's okay. Somehow it is quite fun to paint with that the actual performance we add at the bottom of the artist grade range. Extra notes: It can sometimes have a weird tacky feeling when you are painting. 10. Schmincke Horadam: [inaudible] artists grade and $9 or 5 euros, per 10 milliliters. The texture of this is very nice and creamy. Flatness, it can get a nice, flat wash, but the transparent colors still do hold the stroke a little bit, mixing in white evens out the colors and then it is very easy to make them flat. Pacifiers, none are added. Opacity, very good, even in more transparent colors, the whites are very impressive in their covering ability. Vibrancy, very vibrant. Pigmentation, very high, just behind [inaudible] , a little pink goes a very long way. Mix ability, colors mixed super cleanly, just the way that they should, there's absolutely nothing to complain about in that department. Layering, the colors layered very easily. Also, it is very easy to paint in detail. Reactivation, the colors re-wet amazingly, you just need a little bit of water and it gets back to a creamy consistency. I would recommend this if you want to work from dry paint [inaudible]. Overall experience, this is just an excellent paint, what else is there to say, it excels in every category. 11. Schmincke Akademie: [MUSIC] [inaudible] Academy from Germany, a student grade paint that is around $1 or €1 per ten milliliters. The texture is the weirdest thing about this pain. It is like jelly and chunky is pretty difficult to get it to a consistent creamy texture, flatness. It holds brush marks and is fairly sleepy but not extremely sticky and it looks flatter or when it is dry. [MUSIC] A pacifier, it doesn't look like any are added, but I'm not certain. Opacity, these paints are not very opaque. It is difficult to get opacity even when white is added. Vibrancy, the colors are surprisingly clean, clear, and bright, definitely amongst the best for the student grade paints. [MUSIC] Pigmentation, very little. You need a lot of paint in order to mix colors. Mixability, they mix very well and very cleanly. Layering, this was not good. The layers lift up really easily and even in my sample painting, there are some patches left behind. [MUSIC] Reactivation, not good at all. It is quite high and releases very little pigment. It's the opposite to its big brother in the artist grade line, not for a dry pallet at all. [MUSIC] Overall experience, not fun, but actually one of the best student grade paint. Extra notes. Stinky, paint strikes again. This paint is pretty darn stinky, but it comes in a huge tube. It stays where a long time, so you need to be careful about that. Sometimes it feels like wet paste when you are painting. 12. Lukas: Lukas Gouache from Germany, student grade paint, that is $1 or $0.60 per 10 milliliters. The texture is very weird, almost like sticky lip gloss or melted lipstick. It doesn't really want to become creamy paint. It's almost oily. Plotinus, opposite to other paints, it is actually more sticky when it is wet and than it is dry, you can get a flat color, but it holds brush strokes and doesn't flatten itself out at all. Opacifiers, yes, these are added. Opacity, it is pretty good for the colors with extra white added. It's iffy on other colors. Vibrancy, not vibrant at all. These colors are quite strange and quite dull. Pigmentation, very low. You need a lot of paint in order to get any color. Mixability, the colors got so dull so fast that I was surprised. It is impossible to mix dark colors without adding black because so much white has been added to the other colors. Layering, the painting will literally just lift off of the page if you brush too hard, that is terrible. Reactivation, it reactivates with not too much problem, but quite thin and unpleasant coloring.Overall experience, no fun at all. It has a weird tacky texture and some of the [inaudible] colors of all the gouache that I have tried. Extra notes, the white is not quite white.It's off-white. Weird. 13. Reeves: Reeves from the UK student grade, and it is $1 or €0.65 per ten milliliter. Texture. It actually squeezes out nice and thick, but I'm pretty sure this is some trick. It has that similar weird sticky lip gloss feel that Lucas has but way worse. It doesn't actually even want to go into the bristles of your brush and somehow actually resists water. Reduce strange or gouache. Flatness. It is streaky and holds all of your texture but is extremely inconsistent. Sometimes the color comes out flat, sometimes it is weird and grainy with dots in it. I have no idea what's going on here. Opacifiers, definitely these are added. Opacity. It varies wildly, but mostly not opaque. Vibrancy. The vibrancy is very low, there's very little saturation. Pigmentation. This is also very low. There's very little color in these. Mixability. The colors go down quite a bit when you mix, although it seems a little less stable than the Lucas. In my painting, you can see that everything became just a kind of a dull mess. Layering is very difficult. The under layers lift up constantly. Reactivation is surprisingly good, but the texture was never great to begin with. You can't expect much from it once it's been reactivated. Overall experience is terrible and extremely frustrating. I would not recommend these to anyone. Extra notes.There is no magenta in the set which hinders its mixing ability, although these paints are probably never meant to be mixed anyway. It has a weird tacky texture when you're painting, and it makes me think that some of the cheaper gouache companies are adding some thickener to give them a thick consistency just like the artist grades. But it is not made out of the same gum Arabic that the artist grade paints are using. 14. Caran d Ache: Caran d'Ache from Switzerland. It is a student graded paint that is $2 or €1 per 10 milliliters. Texture, these are tablets rather than tube. I don't know anything about this squeezing from the tube. But it is very easy to get the correct consistency for glass from these tablets. Flatness, it is really easy to get a flat color. It is kind of crazily flat, when mixed with white almost unnatural. Pacifiers, it probably has some, but I don't mind it if it does because it doesn't get weird white cast. Opacity, pretty good and the white is impressively opaque for a student grade brand. Vibrancy, the colors are super duper, vibrant, totally unnatural colors. Pigmentation, it's okay, it's clear that these paints will wear down pretty quickly. Mixability, these are very, very clean mixes the colors are super bright. Layering. Layering is very easy, no problem at all. The colors build up surprisingly well to opaque colors and it is easy to put in detail. Reactivation, since they are tablets and made for this, it is very easy to reactivate this paint. Overall experience, these are very surprising pains even though they are student grade, it was so much fun to work with them. I wish that they were artist grade paints. I will definitely be using them for sketching. They were bright, simple, not frustrating, and a lot of fun. Extra notes, because of the format, it's a little difficult to get a big pool of paint. If you want something like that, you're going to have to soak them and then use a stiff card. 15. Linel Extra Fine: Linel extra fine gouache. From Franc, it is artist grade and it is $3 or €3 per 10 milliliters. The texture is very thick, I think my tubes were a bit old when I bought them, so they were a little dried out but even then once I got past that first layer, they were thick and creamy like butter. Flatness, it makes some pretty good flat layers not super flat like the Winsor & Newton, but it is not difficult to get a flat color at all. Also, it holds a little bit of deeper stroke in transparent color. Opacifiers, it doesn't really seem like they have any, but I'd have to look at some other colors to be sure. Opacity, very good. I was even able to use the yellow paint to paint on top of the darker parts of this painting, which surprised me. Vibrancy, they are very nice and very vibrant. Pigmentation, quite good, not like the M. Graham but it definitely holds its own amongst artist grade paint. Mix ability, the colors mix as they should, and I was able to get a range of colors even from this really unusual limited palette. Layering, it layers very well and easily. I found myself just adding little layers and details because I could. I think that tells you how well they layer. Reactivation, this reactivates to a very creamy texture super easily. It does not require a lot of scrubbing and the color is fully revived. Overall experience, very nice. These are fun and they did their job well even with this difficult tests with strained color. Extra note, there are flip tops and screw tops. The flipped tops are not the best because the top of the paint can get dried out. I prefer the screw tops. 16. My Favorite Gouache Brands: I know you're wondering, what do I recommend and what are my favorite paints?Well, I'll tell you. If we're talking about artist grade paint I would say that my favorite are the shrinker and M graham paints. I like to use them together, because M graham paints are just so vibrant and I love the texture, and it pairs well with shrinkers, that more opaque color and they're really great whites. Both of them, re-wet well, both of them are creamy, and they layer well. It's great. But student grade paint, I have to say that condash definitely wins. Their colors are bright, they're easy to mix, easy to layer, and they don't smell. If you are able to get those I'll recommend those. Now, we have two runners-up, and the reason why both of these are the runners-up is the same. The gouache would really be my number one gouache. If not for one thing, it smells. I'm going to say this is a runner-up. If you don't mind that the paint smells or it doesn't smell that bad to you, then I really love these paints for all of their other qualities. I'm going to say the same for shrinking academy. They were not as good as the crown dodge, but they were definitely way better than all of the other student grade brand. Another big problem is that they are stinky.If you want an alternative to the crown dash, I would go with the shrinker academy. Of course, all of these crashes have their own pros and cons and it's up to you to choose the kind that you think is best for your style and your budget. 17. Thank You and Class Project!: Thank you so much for taking this course. I hope that was fun for you to learn all about different gouache brands. It was so much fun for me. Now, you should totally be able to choose the gouache paints that are perfect for the way that you want to paint. Don't forget to complete your class project, which is to share your personal gouache set up with all of us. I want to see what brushes, paper, palette, and of course what paint you have chosen. It's always so much fun seeing what tools different people choose to work with. I have uploaded an example project if you want to see how it should look. If you have any questions or comments, please post them in the community section. If you enjoyed the class, please let me know with your review. It really just makes my day every time I read it to you from you, guys, and finally, if you would like to check out my other classes, I have courses on watercolor about painting portraits and mixing vibrant colors. Then, mixing vibrant colors class is actually great for anybody who's interested in working with gouache, too, because the theory is the same. I'll have links to those in the description. Thank you, again. See you in my next class.