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Watercolour vs Designers Gouache

Watercolour versus gouache, what are the differences? Both are water-based pigments with Gum Arabic, but they are quite different. Watercolours are transparent and offer a broad tonal range, from the colour straight out of the tube to a diluted undertone. Conversely, gouache is opaque with a perfectly matt finish, making it perfect for solid blocks of colour. Although you can achieve a near solid colour with layers of watercolour and gain some transparency by diluting gouache, it is best to reach for watercolour when you want transparency and a range of tonal value, and choose gouache for opaque strong colours.

Video Transcript
0:06     Hello, today I'd like to compare some Winsor & Newton Professional Water Colour with Winsor & Newton Designers Gouache. Both of these are water-based paints and are made with gum arabic. Watercolours are transparent and luminous whereas gouache is opaque and dries to a smooth matt finish.

0:30     Look how tonal and transparent this Opera Rose water colour is compared with the opaque Brilliant Violet gouache. And here between the Winsor Blue (Green Shade) water colour and the primary blue gouache.

0:45     You'll see that the gouache dries smooth and matt without brushmarks and lends itself to bold vibrant block colours.

0:54     Now I'm going to apply a yellow brushstroke. As you can see the Winsor Yellow water colour is very transparent whereas the Spectrum Yellow gouache layer is opaque. Although you can achieve a near-opaque block with water colour, and diluted layers with gouache, transparency is best achieved with water colours, and solid blocks with Winsor & Newton Designers Gouache.

I hope you've enjoyed this video.