The Ultimate Gouache Vs Acrylic Comparison!

After the initial surge of new people getting involved in the various types of painting over the last two years, we have seen many of these beginners looking to move on to more advanced painting styles, techniques, and materials. Due to the low price tag of acrylic paint, it was the obvious option for the majority of beginners to painting but there seems to have been a dramatic increase in the number of people looking to progress from acrylic paints to oil paint or gouache paint recently.

In recent months, we have noticed a huge number of people reaching out for a dedicated gouache vs acrylic comparison article to try and help them better understand the two paint types. As we have seen so many people reaching out for an article going over the differences between gouache and acrylic paint, we have decided to use this as today’s article topic. Our hope is that we are going to be able to help our readers choose gouache or acrylic paint as their primary paint type for their arts and crafts moving forward.

That said, a huge number of people will carry both gouache and traditional acrylic paint in their collection anyway with many people using a gouache/acrylic hybrid paint known as “acrylic gouache” due to its unique look and texture. This can work well due to both acrylic and gouache paints being water based and although they have been designed for slightly different used cases with different end results once dry, mixing the two together can offer a unique look and texture for your paintings.

Gouache Vs Acrylic

Acrylic paint tends to be cheaper than gouache making it the more budget friendly option while often having a texture once dry as well as some areas of translucency. Some gouache colors can be considerably more expensive than their acrylic counter part with gouache usually having a more opaque look once dry with a flat texture and often a brighter color than their acrylic counterparts.

As many of our readers are beginners in the arts and crafts and painting space, they will usually be able to get everything they need to develop their core skillset from a high quality acrylic paint without having to add gouache to their collection. The reputation of acrylic paints is muddied due to there being so many low quality acrylic products or acrylic paints designed for children on the market but a decent acrylic paint set is able to offer excellent results. Just keep in mind that the acrylic paint will usually have more of a texture on it once dry and depending on its color, can have some areas of translucency.

If you are looking to add an additional layer to your art or take your painting to the next level then adding a high quality gouache paint to your collection can definitely be worth it though although they are more expensive than acrylic paint sets. Gouache usually has a higher quality of ingredients than similar prices acrylic paints while also having a totally natural pigment and binding agent avoiding synthetic products. Although gouache was originally designed to be opaque, there are a number of ways that you are able to manipulate gouache to get unique looks from it once dry.

What Is Gouache Paint?

Gouache paint is a range of water based paint products that tend to have the highest possible quality ingredients and focus on using natural pigments and binding agents in their paint formulas. The gouache paint formulas were originally designed to have an opaque look to them from the very start allowing artists to get a unique look while also usually having a very flat texture once dry while also having a brilliant color too.

Although the actual texture of gouache paint is slightly different to that of acrlic paint, the application process is very similar and you will often be able to use the same brush set for your gouache paint as you would for your acrylic paint. Gouache can work very well on both paper and canvas with minimal issues but depending on exactly what you are trying to do, the use of gesso as a primer may be required but is often not essential.

Due to gouache paint using the highest possible ingredients for its paint formula you will often have to pay a much higher price tag than some of the other paint types on the market. This is worth it in the opinion of many artists though as the pigment options in gouache paint often leave an extremely strong, brilliant color once the water in the paint formula has evaporated due to the pigment condensing in on itself as the water leaves.

What Is Acrylic Paint?

Acrylic paint is a range of water based paint products that can be spread over a wide range of price points depending on the quality of the paint. They tend to be an excellent option for beginners to painting due to having a low price point while offering great performance relative to what you pay. Some acrylic paint colors will use synthetic pigment and binding options offering unique color options with acrylic paint usually having a more pronounced texture once dry and a slightly translucent look.

Although there are a number of low quality acrylic paint products on the market in the entry level price range, there really is some excellent, cheap, acrylic paint products if you are willing to look for them. Although this can take some time, it tends to be worth it, especially if you are a beginner or are on a tight budget due to the paints being so cheap while offering excellent performance.

Due to acrylic paint formulas spanning all the way from the entry level price point up to the professional, artist grade price points, you can find a wide range of pigments being used for various colors. As you would probably expect, the cheaper acrylic paint formulas tend to use cheaper, synthetic pigments that can still offer excellent colouration once dry while the higher price point paint formulas use natural or a higher quality synthetic pigment that offers a more consistent, higher quality color.

Gouache Vs Acrylic For Beginners!

Both gouache and acrylic paint tend to be very beginner friendly for painting with both paint formulas offering excellent performance even in the hands of a total beginner. That said though, the lower price tag of the regular acrylic paint sets tends to push them to the top of the list for a beginner looking to try their hand at painting while still keeping their costs as low as possible.

That said though, we have noticed a number of people offering advice to beginners to try and switch over to a cheap, high quality gouache paint set if possible due to it being easier to gauge the quality of a gouache paint set compared to an acrylic paint set. Although this is true to some extend, going with an acrylic paint set from any of the established brands in the arts and crafts space tends to offer an excellent painting experience for beginners without the hiked up price tag.

The low quality acrylic paint sets on the market tend to be from unknown brands or in some cases, may not even have a branded logo on them. In addition to this, we have seen some beginners accidentally purchase acrylic paint sets that have been designed for use for children rather than a serious beginner painter. This is surprisingly common but as you would expect, the acrylic paint sets for children have been designed to be easier to wash off and will usually offer a lower quality end result than an entry level acrylic paint set designed for adults taking painting seriously.

Liquitex Gouache Vs Acrylic!

Liquitex have grown to be one of the dominant brands in the painting space and their gouache and acrylic paint sets are of excellent quality offering great value for money. Going with the Liquitex brand offers assurance for beginners that they are getting a high quality paint set while offering intermediates and experienced painters the confidence that they will get an excellent result from their Liquitex paints.

It is widely accepted amongst the arts and crafts community that the Liquitex Professional Acrylic Gouache Paint, 6 x 59ml (2-oz), Primaries Set formula is one of, if not the best gouache paint option on the market right now. Although some do prefer the Windsor and Newton formula, Liquitex do seem to be winning more and more people over resulting in the sales of their gouache paints sky rocketing in recent years.

The Liquitex BASICS Acrylic Paint Set, 48 x 22ml (0.74-oz) Tube Set products are extremely popular for painters of all levels of experience due to their lower price yet high quality. Depending on your needs, you will almost always be able to find an acrylic paint set from Liquitex that will offer exactly what you need with sets ranging from the basic primary colors to get you started to full 32 color sets. Liquitex have even larger acrylic paint sets that contain a huge range of colors too but these tend to be designed for use by more experienced artists due to their higher price tags.

Is Gouache Easier Than Acrylic?

Many people do find gouache paint easier to use than acrylic paint due to gouache taking much longer to dry than a regular acrylic offering you more time to blend the paints. Gouache also tends to offer better performance than acrylic paint when used on cheaper brushes with it often being easier to apply consistent coats to canvas too.

That said though, due to both gouache and acrylic paints being waterbased, both can quickly and easily be rehydrated with a little bit of water to blend them as required. As it is usually beginner painters who ask if gouache is easier than acrylics to learn to paint with, we do have to stress the price differences between gouache and acrylics. If you are on a tight budget then acrylics tend to be the better option as cost is usually a primary consideration for many beginners rather than ease of use.

If you do have the budget available then a set of gouache paint really can be an excellent way to develop your painting skills quickly though but it is not essential that you start to use gouache right away. The majority of people tend to use acrylic paints to build up their skills initially and then move over to using gouache, often in addition to their normal acrylics to advance their painting skills further.

Can Gouache Be Used With Acrylic?

Both gouache and acrylic paints can be used together as stand-alone paint options used in different layers for the same painting or when directly mixed together. They tend of mixing gouache and acrylic paints to make the “acrylic gouache” hybrid is becoming more and more popular and can offer a very unique texture and look to the paint once it is dry.

Gouache and acrylic paints are easy to mix together making the process very beginner friendly too with both of the paints working well when mixed due to both being water based. The unique properties of each paint types do transfer over to the hybrid paint after the mixing process too and most colors will mix well. That said though, if you are trying to mix different colors rather than the same color, we would recommend that you try to stick to either mixing just gouache or just acrylic paints as it will offer slightly better performance.

If you are looking to mix a red gouache and a red acrylic to get the unique look and texture that “acrylic gouache” offers then this can be a great route to take though. Even if the gouache and acrylic paint use different pigments, they still tend to mix very well and offer that unique look once the paints have dried. Practising mixing your gouache and acrylic using the same color lets you play around with different ratios of the paints in a more forgiving manner too.


That brings our ultimate gouache vs acrylic paint comparison article to a close. We hope that you have found it helpful and that we have been able to point out the advantages and disadvantages of both gouache paint and acrylic paint to help you choose the best paint type for you moving forward. In all honesty, both paint types are excellent with many painters choosing to carry both in their collection as each paint type does have a slightly different use case to each other making it useful to often have both available to you for certain types of painting.

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