Get Started with Gouache: A Complete Guide for Beginners

Complete beginner’s guide to gouache

If you are brand new to gouache, it can seem very intimidating – what materials do you need? What are the basic techniques?

I’ve put together an in-depth PDF packed with everything you need to get started on your gouache journey.

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Painting with gouache

What’s Inside the free PDF

  • Gear
    • What you need to get started
    • Colors, brushes, paper palettes, and more
  • How to use Gouache
    • Layering, thick, thin, various strategies
    • Values (dark & light)
    • Tips for Water Control
  • More Learning Resources

Gouache FAQ

Here are some recent questions I’ve been asked in my Discord server lately:

  • Can you use salt with gouache?
    • Yes – I’ve used salt poured on wet gouache (usually in more diluted areas) and it creates a beautiful texture.
  • How do you layer gouache?
    • This is more tricky but there are a couple ways that work for me. One is to start with a very diluted layer, like watercolor. Then wait until it dries before adding another slightly thicker layer. Keep letting the layers dry between, and use less and less water until you reach your final which will be pure gouache.
  • What brand of gouache should I use?
    • I use Winsor & Newton and Holbein. There are many good brands, but you want to make sure you are using professional level gouache because the student grade will not perform as well.
  • What colors do I need to get started?
    • You only need the primaries: red, yellow, blue. But you’ll need white as well because for the most part, you add some white into every mixture. Having black is also convenient.

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I'm an independent artist living in Scotland. Always chasing the light, and painting the beautiful highlands.

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