The Difference Between Watercolor, Gouache and Acrylic Paint

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The Difference Between Watercolor, Gouache and Acrylic Paint

What is gouache? What is really the difference between watercolor, gouache and acrylic paint? Are gouache and acrylic paint the same thing? By watching this video, you will know!

The creator of this video talks about the differences and similarities between watercolor, gouache and acrylic paint and gives you super useful tips on these that will surely help you in your next projects.

It's always good to change things up in your creative process to get inspired and excited again! We hope this information will be very useful to you!

Although many artists are familiar with different mediums, few are aware of the differences between watercolor, gouache and acrylic paints.

It is usually made from the same ingredients including gum arabic, pigment and the same binder, the main difference being that gouache has a matte finish, while watercolor is transparent.

On the other hand, acrylic paint is made with pigments and an acrylic medium, a plastic binder.

Watercolor and gouache are water-based paints and have a water-based medium. A water-based medium simply means that the paint is water-soluble and can be cleaned up with water when wet.

Although acrylic, gouache and watercolor paints are all water soluble, they are applied differently to create a beautiful masterpiece.


Watercolor and gouache can be water-based, but their consistencies are different.

Traditional gouache paints have larger calcareous grains and higher pigment quality than watercolor paints, making them more opaque.

This makes the gouache opaque when it dries and leaves a matte finish, similar to egg tempera. Tempera paint is also known as gouache and is commonly used in schools because it is non-toxic and inexpensive.


Watercolors are used by watercolorists who appreciate the subtle color variations found in this medium.

Among the different types of paint, watercolor is the slowest-drying paint because its thin, water-soluble base requires the longest drying time.

While watercolor and gouache paints are water-based paints, gouache, an opaque watercolor, will hide mistakes better than watercolors.

Also, it's best to let the first coat of paint dry completely before applying the next coat unless you want the colors to blend.

Keep in mind that watercolors, even your dry paint, if exposed to water will become water soluble again. Applying a fixative will help protect a watercolor painting.

Watercolor is best used for colored shapes, and the fewer brush strokes used, the less transparent pigments will overlap.


Acrylic paint is a pigment bonded to an acrylic polymer (plastic), which makes it the most durable paint between gouache and watercolor. It also contains more vivid colors.

While acrylic paint is another water-based paint, its pigments tend to be more lightfast. It is also waterproof which means water will not replenish colors like gouache or watercolor when dry.

Although waterproof, any painting should be protected with varnish and glass if the painting or paintings are displayed outdoors or in high-humidity areas. This is also valid for gouache and watercolor.

Unlike gouache and watercolor, a palette knife will create a unique texture in acrylic paints. Acrylic is similar in consistency to oil-based paints, you can add multiple coats or blend the colors in the acrylic paint with a palette knife.

If you want to learn more about the differences between watercolor, gouache and acrylic, watch this amazing video which will give you all the information you need.

Enjoy This Video Tutorial About Painting

Source: makoccino

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