Miya HIMI Gouache Review (aka “jelly gouache”)

It’s been interesting to do these cheaper gouache reviews after years of using high quality gouache. I do each review with an open mind, and I always have high hopes for the more affordable brands because they aren’t the what most beginners start with. My hopes were especially high with this gouache since I’ve seen so many people use it online lately.

Miya HIMI jelly gouache 24 cups review

Basic Information

Miya HIMI is a very popular brand in China and is quickly moving into the west. I had to purchase it on Amazon but it can also be found on AliExpress. It’s a very popular set for beginners because it’s cheap and comes with it’s own palette, tray and brushes.

At $1.24 per cup, which is $0.62 per 15ml (to compare it to the most standard size on the market) this gouache is one of the cheapest options.

The 24 set of colors includes:

  • White (PW6)
  • Lemon Yellow (PY3)
  • Medium Yellow
  • Orange
  • Ponceau
  • Deep Red
  • Rose
  • Purple
  • Nude
  • Earth Yellow
  • Ochre
  • Burnt Umber
  • Pale Purple
  • Violet
  • Ultramarine
  • Black
  • Yellow Green
  • Pale Green
  • Grass Green
  • Jade Green
  • Sky Blue
  • Acid Blue
  • Cobalt Blue
  • Prussian Blue

I emailed the company to ask what kind of binder they use. They responded saying, “Vegetarians don’t have to worry about the ingredients. The glue are made from petroleum refined chemicals.”

Miya HIMI Gouache has a petroleum binder

A quick search on the Handprint database shows that many of these colors are typically not lightfast, but I prefer to do my own tests with gouache. Tinting a pigment with white can make it less lightfast, and since we frequently tint our colors it is important to research this.

In addition to 24 colors, the set comes with it’s own sealable plastic palette, plastic mixing tray, and 3 brushes. I think that is what makes this set even more appealing to beginners. You get a lot for your money! But how does the gouache perform?


Miya HIMI Gouache Swatches 24 Color Set
Miya HIMI Gouache Swatches 24 Color Set
Miya HIMI Gouache Swatches 24 Color Set


As soon as I opened the cups, I noticed a strong unpleasant odor. A cross between chemicals and stagnant pond water, I know that’s oddly specific, but I have a pond so I know what that smells like. It was so bad I had to turn on a fan to blow the smell away from me while I painted. I’m quite sensitive to chemicals so it may not effect everyone this bad.

As for opacity, you can see that the pure color swatches look vibrant and opaque. However the mixes are a completely different story. Almost all of the colors are at least slightly transparent, some of them are very transparent, like the lemon yellow.

Miya HIMI jelly gouache 24 cups review
Miya HIMI jelly gouache 24 cups review

The problem with transparent gouache is that you will struggle to layer lights over darks. It may also be tricky to avoid streaky effects in your larger areas of color. I used more white in order to create more opaque mixtures, but of course this desaturates the color.

Having to layer the same area over and over is frustrating, and not what I expect for my gouache. I think if you start out with this gouache, you find ways to work with it, but if you already know how high quality, opaque gouache behaves, this paint is very frustrating.

The paint acts oddly when diluted with water – not only does it become even more transparent but it feels a tad slimy. It resembles how acrylics behave when diluted.

In gouache with a higher pigment load you can usually add water to disperse the pigment and extend the reach of each brush stroke without losing all of the opacity. That is not the case here.

Whatever ‘petroleum’ binder they mentioned is not behaving in the way normal gouache does.


  • Cheap
  • Comes with larger amount of gouache than the typical 15 ml tubes
  • Comes with palette, mixing tray, and three brushes


  • Transparent colors
  • Uses many non-lightfast pigments
  • Smells bad
  • Sticky consistency while painting
  • Too many colors that aren’t harmonious
  • “Petroleum based binder” – what exactly does that mean?
Miya HIMI jelly gouache 24 cups review
Miya HIMI jelly gouache 24 cups review

Palette Maintenance

The appeal of this set (beyond cheap price) is that the open cup design looks nice, and allows the artist to open the lid and immediately start painting. There are no tubes, fussy caps, or pouring required. Pick up the brush and start painting.

I wanted to test the practicality of the palette, since you cannot reseal the cups after you open them. You can close the lid tightly and hope they don’t dry out between uses. So far it’s been 14 days since I first opened the cups, and the paint is still wet. A few colors started to look less shiny, but when I stick a palette knife in, they are moist inside. I’ll continue to monitor it to see when it starts to dry out and update this page.

One thing I did notice is that the paintexperiences ‘binder separation’ and needs to be stirred before use.

Miya HIMI jelly gouache cups review

The mixing tray was stained instantly, and only gets worse the more you use it. Compared to the mixing tray I’ve been using for 5 years, look at how badly stained the Miya tray is after only 3 uses.

Miya HIMI jelly gouache mixing tray review

Overall Conclusion: Let’s face it. It’s cheap, student grade paint. If it gets someone started with gouache, that’s awesome. It will be fine for sketchbook work. But it’s a good thing this set comes with 30ml cups because you will need much more paint to achieve opaque layering techniques. The goopy consistency is frustrating, and I could see why many beginners struggle with gouache if this is their first experience. In my opinion Arteza is a far superior student grade paint.


I truly don’t think having 24 colors is necessary – I’ve demonstrated extensively that you only need 5 colors to mix any color you want. You can buy 5 tubes of higher quality gouache for the same price as this set. Sure, with this set you get a palette, a tray and three brushes too, but in my opinion the whole idea of cups that cannot be sealed again is a wasteful practice. In addition, many of these colors (especially the lighter tones) are proven to fade in sunlight. I’m doing my own lightfast tests, because some pigments fade more when they are tinted with white. My tests include white tints, which I have not seen elsewhere online. I’ll share the results on my database.

Once again, I know that each paint’s consistency takes some getting used to, so yes you can definitely learn how to use this paint. It’s nowhere near as opaque as gouache should be. I imagine someone who has never tried gouache thinks this is ‘creamy’ but if you try high quality gouache like Winsor & Newton or Schmincke Horadam, then you truly know what creamy is!

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

2 thoughts on “Miya HIMI Gouache Review (aka “jelly gouache”)

  1. I have watched several videos about Himi and one person theorizes that Himi uses an acrylic binder which is the reason why it dries like acrylic on the palette.

  2. I wish I had read this before purchasing my Himi gouache 24 color set. I’m just starting to learn how to paint with gouache and Youtube showed me so many good reviews about these ones, plus they were so cute. In my country they are expensive so I had to buy one directly from Japan, because there’s no Amazon here. I’m just getting to know the colors and everything but I also noticed some things. For example, even though they come with 24 colors, I still need the primary colors to get certain shades, but I don’t have them so I’m thinking about buying another set from a different brand. Additionally, as you said they are sticky and most of the colors get translucent when diluted with water. I specially have a problem with lemon yellow, in all my swatches I can’t get it to be consistent. Besides, it is frustrating not being able to paint large areas. I already gave up some paintings I wanted to do because of this problem, the paint dries up quickly and I can’t get the color I want to spread correctly through the paper.

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