24 Differences Between Gouache And Acrylic Paint

difference between gouache and acrylic paint

When it comes to choosing between gouache and acrylic paint, there are many factors to consider.

Both have their own unique set of pros and cons, which can make it difficult to decide which one is right for you.

In this article, we will take a look at the difference between gouache and acrylic paint and discuss the pros and cons of each medium.

Additionally, we will also look at a side-by-side comparison of gouache vs acrylic in order to help you decide which one is right for your needs.

So, what is the difference between gouache and acrylic paint? Let’s take a look.

What Is the Difference Between Gouache and Acrylic Paint?

When it comes to deciding between gouache and acrylic paint, it really depends on your needs as an artist. If you are looking for a versatile, forgiving medium with a beautiful matte finish, then gouache might be the right choice for you. However, if you are new to painting or you are working on a budget, acrylic paint might be a better option.

What is Acrylic Paint?

Is Acrylic Paint Waterproof When Dry

Acrylic paint was first developed in the 1940s and has since become one of the most popular types of paint for artists and hobbyists alike.

It is a fast-drying paint made from pigment and acrylic polymer emulsion. Acrylic paints are water-soluble, but become water-resistant when dry.

Depending on the thickness of the paint, acrylics can be used on a variety of different surfaces, such as canvas, paper, wood, or metal.

There are different types of acrylic paints that are used for craft painting; they include heavy and soft body acrylics and acrylic inks.

Read More: Alcohol Ink Versus Acrylic Ink

Pros and Cons of Acrylic Paints

Advantages of Acrylic Paint

  • Acrylic paint can be used on various surfaces, including canvas, wood, metal, and plastic.
  • It is also one of the most forgiving mediums, making it easy to correct mistakes.
  • Acrylic paint dries quickly, making it ideal for those who want to complete their project in a timely manner.
  • Additionally, acrylic paint is very versatile and can be used for various techniques, such as painting, airbrushing, and mixed media.

Disadvantages of Acrylic Paint

  • Acrylic paint can be toxic if ingested.
  • It can also be harmful to the environment if not disposed of properly.
  • It dries very quickly. This can be problematic for artists who want to take their time with a project.
  • Acrylics can also be difficult to work with because they are not as forgiving as other types of paint.
  • Acrylic paint is not as durable as oil paint

What Is Acrylic Paint Used For?

Acrylic paint can be used for the following:

  • Canvas painting
  • Mixed media
  • Airbrushing
  • T-shirt painting

What is Gouache Paint?

Gouache paint was first developed in the 18th century and has since become a popular medium for artists who want to create beautiful matte finishes.

Traditional gouache paints are a type of paint that has a matte finish and is composed of pigment, water, and oil or resin.

The paint can be thinned with water and dries quickly. It is usually used for opaque painting, but can also be used for mixed media and other techniques.

Pros and Cons of Gouache Paints

Advantages of Gouache Paint

  • Gouache paint is very versatile and can be used for various techniques, such as painting, airbrushing, and mixed media.
  • It is also one of the most forgiving mediums, making it easy to correct mistakes.
  • Gouache paint has a matte finish that is perfect for adding depth and dimension to your paintings.
  • The matte finish also makes it ideal for painting in layers.
  • Gouache painting is less likely to crack or peel than other types of paint, making it a good choice for paintings that will be hung or displayed for a long time.

Disadvantages of Gouache Paint

  • Gouache paint can be difficult to find in stores, and it is often more expensive than other types of paint.
  • Gouache paint can also be challenging to work with, as it can be difficult to achieve a consistent consistency.
  • If you are new to painting, gouache paint may not be the best medium for you to start with.

What Is Gouache Paint Used For?

Gouache paint can be used for the following:

  • To add opaque color to your painting
  • To change the tone or hue of your painting
  • As a glazing agent
  • To create a matte finish

What Is Acrylic Gouache?

Acrylic gouache is a water-based medium that is composed of pigment, water, and an acrylic binder.

It is similar to acrylic paint but also has the characteristics of gouache, which is a type of paint made from chalk, water, and gum arabic.

Gouache is usually darker, while acrylic paint is generally transparent. It is water-soluble, but unlike traditional watercolor paints, it is also opaque.

This makes it an excellent medium for creating vibrant illustrations and designs.

Gouache vs Acrylic Side by Side Comparison

Here is a detailed look at both acrylic and gouache for a more straightforward comparison. We will discuss if the products compare or differ with the factors below:

Gouache vs acrylic paint: Durability

When it comes to durability, acrylic paint is much more resistant to changes in temperature and humidity than gouache.

Since acrylic paint is somehow water-resistant, it can last longer compared to gouache.

On the other hand, Gouache paint is not as resistant to humidity and temperature changes. Hence, it is not as durable as acrylic paint.

Gouache is easily reactivated with water, so it can be easily damaged by humidity and heat.

Verdict: Acrylic paint is more durable than gouache.

Gouache paint vs acrylic: Ease of application

Acrylic paint is easier to apply than gouache. Gouache is a thicker paint so it can be challenging to apply evenly.

It is also difficult to achieve consistent consistency with gouache. On the other hand, acrylic paint is thinner and flows more easily.

Also, it is easier to achieve consistent consistency with acrylic paint.

Verdict: Acrylic paint wins

Acrylic vs gouache: Binders

The binder in gouache paint is gum arabic. Gum arabic is a natural resin that comes from the acacia tree.

It has been used as an artist’s adhesive and binding agent for centuries. This binder helps to give gouache paint its unique matte finish.

The binder in acrylic paint is polyvinyl acetate. Polyvinyl is a synthetic polymer that is used in a variety of products, from adhesives to paints.

This gives the paint its plastic-like properties and makes it much more durable than gouache paint. It also means that acrylic paint can be thinned with water and used differently.

Verdict: Both have binders

Acrylic paint vs gouache: Surface texture and application

There are a few key differences when it comes to the surface texture and application of gouache vs acrylic.

Dry gouache paint has a matte finish, which can be achieved by adding an extra layer of white paint on top. Dry acrylic paint, on the other hand, dries to a glossy finish.

Other differences in surface texture and application include the fact that gouache is typically applied in thin layers, while acrylics can be applied in thick or thin layers.

Verdict: Tie

Gouache or acrylic: Tools to apply the paint

There are some key differences when it comes to the tools you need to apply each type of paint.

Gouache paint is typically applied with a brush, while acrylic paint can be applied with a brush, roller, or sprayer.

Why is gouache applied with a brush only? Because it is a water-based paint, it can be reworked and reactivated with water after it has dried.

This means that you can use a wet brush to apply or remove gouache paint from your surface. You can also use a dry brush to apply gouache, which will give you a more textured look.

Acrylic vs gouache paint: Drying time

When it comes to drying time, you will see some differences between these two paints.

Acrylic paint will take about 15 minutes to dry because it is a fast-drying paint and has thin layers.

Gouache painting, on the other hand, can take anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour to dry; why? Gouache is a thicker paint, and it has a higher pigment to binder ratio.

Verdict: Acrylic paint dries faster

Gouache and acrylic: Ability to rewet and rework

As we mentioned before, one of the benefits of gouache paint is that you can rework it after it has dried.

This means that if you make a mistake, you can simply wet your dry paint and fix it. This is not the case with acrylic paint.

Once it has dried, it is permanent and cannot be changed. But is acrylic paint really permanent?

No, but it will take some effort to remove it from surfaces like glass or plastic.

Verdict: Gouache paint wins

Acrylic gouache vs gouache: Water Resistance

You will find that gouache is less resistant than acrylic paint when it comes to water resistance.

This means that if you accidentally spill some water on your painting, the colors will run off easily and this is because gouache are water based paints.

One of the benefits of acrylic paint is that it is water-resistant when it dries. This means that water will not affect it once it has dried.

You can use it for outdoor projects without worrying about the weather ruining your work unlike traditional gouache.

Is Acrylic Paint Waterproof? Read to find out!

Verdict: So in terms of water resistance, acrylic is the better option.

Gouache paint vs acrylic paint: Suitable substrates

Substrates here refer to the types of surfaces that you can paint on with these two paints. When it comes to gouache, you can use any type of surface such as paper, canvas, metal, or plastic.

When it comes to acrylic paint, you can use a primed canvas, thick paper, metal, leather, or plastic so that the paint does not seep through.

Gouache is mostly used on watercolor painting, paper, or illustration board such as Arches opaque watercolor blocks.

Verdict: Tie

Acrylic or gouache: Framing options

When it comes to framing options, you will find that gouache is more versatile than acrylic paint.

Gouache can be framed under glass or plastic, whereas acrylic paint can or cannot be framed under glass or plastic.

This is because the gouache paint will discolor when a drop of water lands on it compared to water-resistant acrylic paint.

For this reason, acrylic paint can be framed or left out in the open. But remember to store it in a cool and dry place and away from direct sunlight.

Verdict: Both can be framed

Acrylic and gouache: Storage

Acrylic paint will last longer than gouache paint. Acrylics are water-resistant when dry, so they can be stored in damp or humid conditions without the risk of damage.

On the other hand, Gouache is not as durable and may start to crumble if it gets too wet. But still, it is advisable to store both paints in a cool, dry place.

Texture

Gouache has a more velvety feel than acrylics when it comes to texture. And because of this, it can be applied in multiple layers without making the painting look too heavy.

On the other hand, acrylic paint dries quickly and has a tendency to crack if applied in too thick a layer.

Color

When it comes to color, gouache is more vibrant and has better coverage than acrylics.

Acrylic paint has a tendency to look chalky when applied in multiple layers, but this can be avoided by using a white primer before painting.

When at the store, you can find a different range of colors for both types of paint, so it really comes down to personal preference.

Surface Sheen

One difference between gouache and acrylic paint that is immediately apparent is the surface sheen.

Acrylics have a natural glossy finish, while gouaches tend to be matte. This difference is due to the binder used in each type of paint.

Acrylics use an acrylic resin, which gives the paint a shiny appearance when dry. While gouache can be made with an acrylic binder, it is more commonly bound with gum arabic, resulting in a duller finish.

The surface sheen difference between these two types of paint can be exploited for different effects.

The glossy finish of acrylics can give paintings a bright and vibrant look, while the matte finish of gouaches can create a more subtle and subdued effect.

It is also possible to varnish gouache paintings to give them a glossy finish, while it is not recommended to varnish acrylic paintings as this can dull the colors.

Blending

When it comes to blending, acrylic paint is much more difficult to blend because they dry so quickly.

Gouache, on the other hand, is much easier to blend because it has a slower drying time.

Additionally, because acrylic paint cannot be reactivated with water once it’s dry, it is more difficult to achieve seamless blends with this type of paint.

Color permanence and lightfastness

Acrylic paint is known for its color permanence and lightfastness, meaning that the colors will not fade over time and they will not change when exposed to light.

Gouache, on the other hand, is not as lightfast and the colors may fade over time.

Toxicity

Another difference between gouache and acrylic paint is that gouache is considered to be non-toxic, while acrylic paint can be toxic.

This is because some of the ingredients in acrylic paint, such as the pigments and binders, can be harmful if ingested.

Color palettes

When it comes to color palettes, gouache typically has a smaller range of colors available than acrylics.

However, with that being said, more and more companies are coming out with expanded color ranges for gouache.

Consistency

Acrylic paint is typically thicker than gouache paint. This is because acrylic paint has a higher ratio of pigment to binder, which results in a more concentrated color.

Gouache, on the other hand, has less pigment and more water, resulting in a thinner consistency.

Opacity

Opacity is the degree to which a color covers the surface it is applied to. Acrylic paint is more opaque than gouache, meaning that it can completely cover the surface below it.

Gouache is less opaque, so it may require multiple coats to achieve full coverage.

Verdict: Acrylic is the better option

Fixing mistakes

One of the great things about acrylic paint is that it’s very forgiving. You can simply paint over it and start again if you make a mistake. Gouache can be quite tricky to fix once it’s dry.

Why? Because it’s water-based, it can be re-activated with water, which means that if you try to paint over a mistake, the underlying paint will start to come through.

So, if you’re looking for a paint that’s easy to work with and forgiving of mistakes, then acrylic is definitely the way to go.

On the other hand, if you’re looking for a paint that has a bit more body and can be worked into interesting textural effects, then gouache might be the better option.

Verdict: Acrylic paint wins

Odor

Do this paints smell? Another difference between these two types of paint is the odor. Acrylic paint can have quite a strong, chemical smell, which can be off-putting for some people.

Gouache, on the other hand, is generally much more pleasant to work with in terms of smell.

So, if you’re looking for a paint that’s more user-friendly in terms of odor, then gouache might be the way to go.

Verdict: Acrylic paint has some smell

Price

Finally, let’s talk about price. Acrylic paint is generally much cheaper than gouache paint. So, if you’re looking for a more budget-friendly option, then acrylic is definitely the way to go.

However, it’s worth noting that you often get what you pay for in terms of quality, so don’t expect the same level of performance from an acrylic paint as you would from a gouache paint.

In general, gouache is considered to be a higher-quality paint, and it will usually give you better results.

So, if you’re willing to spend a bit more money, then gouache is definitely the way to go.

Verdict: Tie

Comparison Table for Gouache vs Acrylic

Now that we’ve looked at some of the key differences between gouache and acrylic paint let’s quickly compare them side-by-side.

CharacteristicsGouacheAcrylic
BindersGum arabicPolymer emulsion
DurabilityGoodExcellent
Surface TextureSmoothVariable
Tools to apply the paintBrushBrush, Roller, Palette knife, Sprayer or Airbrush
Drying TimeSlowerFaster
RewettingPossibleNot possible
Water ResistanceGoodExcellent
SubstratesCanvas, Paper, Wood, and MetalCanvas, Paper, Wood, and Metal
Framing OptionGlass or Plexiglass Glass or Plexiglass or (No framing)

Can You Use Gouache With Acrylic?

Some artists prefer to stick with one type of paint, while others like to experiment with different mediums.

If you’re curious about whether you can use gouache with acrylic, the answer is yes!

While they are two different types of paint, they can be used together to create interesting effects.

For instance, you could use gouache to add highlights to an acrylic painting. Alternatively, you could mix the two paints together to create a unique color.

How to Use Gouache Paint?

Gouache paint is similar to watercolor in that it is a water-based medium. You can use it for painting as well as for mixed media art and collage.

Gouache can be used on its own or over an existing painting to add layers of color and texture. It is also possible to rework gouache paintings after they have dried.

It is important to keep a few things in mind when using gouache. First, Gouache dries quickly, so you need to work fast.

Second, because it is water-based, you can re-wet and rework your painting even after it has dried.

Finally, gouache paintings are not as transparent as watercolor paintings, so it is best to slowly build up layers of color.

Tools you will need:

  • Gouache paint
  • Paintbrush
  • Water
  • Palette or plate
  • Paper towels

Optional:

  • Masking tape
  • Pencil

Follow these steps to get started painting with gouache:

Step 1: Decide on the colors you want to use. You can either mix your own colors or use pre-mixed gouache paint.

Step 2: Place a small amount of each color you are going to use on your palette or plate.

Step 3: Add water to the Gouache paint to thin it out. The amount of water you add will depend on the effect you are going for. If you want a more opaque look, use less water.

Step 4: Begin painting on your watercolor paper. Work in small sections and build up layers of color slowly.

Step 5: Once you are finished painting, allow the gouache to dry completely. You can then rework your painting if desired.

Masking Tape:

If you want clean lines in your painting, you can use masking tape to outline the area you want to paint.

Simply place the masking tape on the paper and then paint over it with gouache. When you peel off the masking tape, you will be left with clean, sharp lines.

Pencil:

You can also use a pencil to sketch out your design before painting over it with gouache.

This is a good option if you are not confident in your painting skills. Simply sketch out your design with a pencil and then go over it with gouache paint.

Acrylic or Gouache for Beginners?

If you are a beginner, you may be wondering if you should use acrylic or gouache paint. Both types of paint have their own advantages and disadvantages.

Acrylic paint is cheaper and easier to find, but it dries quickly and can be difficult to work with.

Gouache paint is more expensive, but it is easier to use and rework. Ultimately, the decision of which type of paint to use is up to you.

Read out the head-to-head comparison of gouache vs. acrylic above to help you make a firm decision.

Gouache vs Acrylic vs Watercolor

When deciding between gouache, acrylic, and watercolor, it is important to consider the following factors:

Binders: Gouache and acrylic paint both have binders that make them more durable than watercolor.

Durability: Gouache and acrylic paint are more durable than watercolor, meaning they will last longer without fading or chipping.

Surface Texture and Application: Gouache and acrylic paint can both be applied to a variety of surfaces, but watercolor is best suited for smooth surfaces.

Drying Time: Acrylic paint dries the quickest, followed by gouache and then watercolor.

Ability to Rewet and Rework: Gouache and watercolor can both be reworked even after they have dried, but acrylic paint cannot.

Water Resistance: Acrylic and gouache paint are both water-resistant, but watercolor is not.

FAQs

Is gouache better than acrylic?

There is no definitive answer to this question. Both gouache and acrylic paint have their own advantages and disadvantages. Ultimately, the decision of which type of paint to use is up to you.

What is the difference between acrylic and gouache?

Acrylic paint is made with synthetic polymers, while gouache paint is made with natural gum arabic. Gouache paint also has a higher pigment load than acrylic paint. This gives it a more opaque, matte appearance.

Do professional artists use gouache?

Many professional artists use gouache paint, especially for illustrations and cartoons. Gouache paint is also popular among architectural illustrators.

What is the difference between watercolor and gouache?

The main difference between watercolor and gouache paint is that gouache paint is opaque, while watercolor paint is translucent. Gouache paint can also be rewet and worked over, while watercolor paint cannot.

What is the difference between gouache and oil paint?

Gouache and oil paints are two very different types of paint. Gouache paint is water-based, while oil paint is oil-based. Gouache paint dries quickly, while oil paint takes much longer to dry. Gouache paint is also opaque, while oil paint is translucent.

Can you mix tempera and acrylic paint?

Yes, you can mix tempera and acrylic paint together. In fact, this is a common way to create a variety of custom colors. Mixing the two types of paint will create a paint with a slightly different texture and drying time.

Conclusion

So, there you have it! A comparison of gouache vs acrylic paint. As you can see, these two types of paint are quite different, and each has its own unique advantages and disadvantages.

So, which one is right for you? It really depends on your needs and preferences.

If you’re looking for a paint that’s easy to work with and forgiving of mistakes, then acrylic is definitely the way to go.

On the other hand, if you’re looking for a paint that has a bit more body and can be worked into interesting textural effects, then gouache might be the better option.

So, take some time to experiment with both types of paint and see which one you prefer.

Whichever one you choose, you’re sure to create some beautiful paintings! Thanks for reading! I hope this has been helpful.

Further, read about the difference between acrylic and latex paint.

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