Oh. My. Gouache.
Employee Favorite: Holbein Acryla Gouache
Gouache. Rhymes with squash. It’s not only fun to say; it's also super fun to use!
But what the heck is Acryla Gouache?
Acryla Gouache is the lovechild of traditional gouache and good old acrylic paint.
Traditional gouache is a highly pigmented opaque watercolor paint that uses gum arabic as a binder. It dries to a matte finish quickly, but can be reactivated when and reworked in your painting with water. This can have its benefits and drawbacks. The benefit is a longer working time and no wasted paint, the drawback (for me at least), is that you can’t easily apply in layers or paint over your mistakes without getting a muddy mess.
Acrylic paint was the first paint I learned to love. It also carries a heavy pigment load and dries quickly, but can be easily layered and has a satin or glossy finish.
Enter my new paint crush: Holbein Acryla Gouache. It’s the best of both worlds.You get the beautiful, creamy, opaque color that goes on like butter and blends and works like regular gouache when it's wet, but instead of that gum arabic binder, it uses an acrylic resin binder. When it dries you get an unmovable, water-resistant, velvety matte finish that layers beautifully without smearing your work underneath. It also has the added bonus of having great surface adhesion like acrylic paint so you can easily use it to paint directly on different substrates like wood or clay. You can also mix it up and use Acryla Gouache with traditional gouache, watercolor, acrylic, or any other water based medium. And the very best part? There are 107 amazing colors to choose from, and what you see is what you get. The color of Acryla Gouache does not shift from wet to dry, so what it looks like on your palette is what it looks like on your painting. How cool is that?
Tips and tricks:
A little goes a long way! These colors are so vivid and have such a huge pigment load that it only takes a little to get the desired effect.
Acryla Gouache dries fast! Work quickly with a wet brush if you want to blend colors or create a wash effect on your painting, or work in layers. Once its dry, you can layer it up! Dark color on light colors or light colors on dark colors! Go nuts!
Once it has dried on your palette, you can’t reactivate it. Be very careful about putting fresh gouache on top of the old dried gouache because while it won’t necessarily reactivate, it will loosen up a bit and give you dried bits of gouache on your brush, ruining its lovely texture. The best way to avoid this problem and wasting your gouache when you accidentally squeeze out too much is to use Masterson’s Sta-Wet Handy Palette. You can leave a glob of gouache on it overnight and it will still be fresh for days.
The texture of Acryla Gouache is fabulous straight from the tube, but if you want it to be a bit more fluid be careful when you add water or before you know it you'll have a puddle of gouache that is not quite so opaque and a bit streaky.
Use washi tape to hold down your paper and get nice clean edges and lines. I find that its less damaging than masking tape and it makes me happy to look at it while I paint. You can even get really cute and match it to your color palette.
Use a good heavy watercolor or mixed media paper. If you want nice clean lines use a smooth hot press paper, but the more textured cold press paper works beautifully too. You can also use it on a prepared canvas.
Acryla Gouache on Mixed Media Postcards
My favorite thing to use gouache on is wood. Just make sure you have a smooth, clean surface to start. You can use gesso to prime the surface to keep the paint from soaking into the wood if you want, but it’s not entirely necessary.
Acryla Gouache, Posca pens, and gold leaf on wood rounds and a wood burned slug on a wood plaque
You can also use Acryla Gouache to paint sculpture. It will adhere to anything that is at least semi-porous and it’s vivid color and matte finish create a particularly life-like effect on sculptures. Try it on Creative Paperclay or Sculpey!
Brushes. Any brush suitable for acrylics will do, but these are my favorites. For more info on choosing the right brush, check out this blog post. Whatever brush you use, keep it clean! I always have two water jars when I paint; one for clean water and one for dirty water. You want to avoid having the paint dry on your brush so you don't get those dried up bits of gouache in your painting.
Need a little help with perspective and placement in your painting? Use transfer or graphite paper to trace out the basics of a reference photo or image.
Finishing. If you've painted on wood or clay, its a good idea to apply a protective water based finish to prevent scratching. Use a matte spray to keep the gouache's natural matte finish.
Acryla Gouache Artists that inspire!
Click through this slideshow of artists using #acrylagouache and follow them on instagram for even more inspiration.
Inspired? Pick up some Holbein Acryla Gouache at 20% off the suggested retail price today! You're gonna love it!