12 Best Gouache Paints for 2020 – Reviews For Beginners and Experts
Looking to create great paintings with high levels of opacity and picture quality? Forget watercolor. Gouache paints are just what you need.
These offer you better opacity and color vibrance than watercolor paints, and the matte finish comes out looking much better.
To save you from the trouble of having to go out there to look for the best gouache paint, we’ve done some good research and composed a review of some of the finest brands and models.
Without further ado, let’s jump right in and see what the 12 finest gouache paints we’ve found have to offer.
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Our Top 12 Picks of Best Gouache Paints 2020
1. ARTEZA Gouache Paint (Set of 24)
Are you looking for a creamy gouache paint that is mixed well, with the ability to be applied as a full-on opaque matte paint or diluted down to a nice wash? You got to try the ARTEZA Gouache Paint.
This paint isn’t just about quality; many users have called it the best gouache paint for its affordability. For less than 25 bucks (at the time of writing this review), you get 24 tubes each with 12 ml worth of paint.
One of the coolest aspects of the package is the wide spectrum of colors it offers. Each of the tubes has its own color, so you can rest assured you’ll have some of the most common painting colors, including pale green, lemon yellow, Prussian blue, burnt umber, titanium white, and many more.
There’s one thing we loved about the tubes – they’re designed well and from good materials, such that they’re easy to squeeze and only the amount you need comes out. This reduces wastage. Again, unlike other tubes we’ve seen, these don’t leak paint.
It was also good to see that each of the tubes had a tight-sealing cap, keeping the paint inside fresh.
The fact that each tube contains its own color means you can replace colors without having to purchase the entire set.
The paint dries fairly well. Though the color doesn’t go on as smoothly and brightly as M. Graham paint (which is artist grade by the way), it looks better than popular brands like Marie’s.
If you need a gouache paint that combines well with other paints, especially watercolor, then this paint is for you.
As a beginner who’s looking to learn gouache with a fantastic starter pack without having to break the bank to get the paint, the ARTEZA Gouache Paint might be the perfect selection.
Go on and check it out.
2. Reeves Gouache Color Tube Set (24-Pack)
Have you worked with paint tubes that were too big for your hands, making you feel uncomfortable using them? Say goodbye to those and say hello to the Reeves Gouache Color Tube Set. This one comes with relatively small tubes that are ideal for female and average male hands.
But you don’t want to purchase the set just because it fits well in small and average-size hands. You want to know it offers you real value. And speaking of value, this paint is a great option for people looking to learn the color mixing theory.
The first reason why many people prefer this set to other brands is that it is cheap. Last we checked, it was selling at a dollar per tube, meaning you pay just 24 bucks for the entire set.
Secondly, there’s color versatility. Each of the 24 tubes has its own color. From crimson and deep yellow to violet and ultramarine blue, the set includes some of the most popular colors used in painting.
And since each tube contains its own color, there’s no need to replace and entire set when one color depletes. You just order the depleted color and continue enjoying your set.
Even though the tubes are small, they last, probably because of the fact that the paint is concentrated. The design of the tube, which minimizes wastage and prevents leaks, obviously also plays a role in the set’s longevity.
Some users reported that they were able to paint up to seven 16x24 canvases with the set.
The colors are vibrant and they go on canvas very well.
There are two main issues. First, there’s a chemical smell, and secondly, if they’re squirted into pans or left on the palette, they dry up and crack.
But, for the price, and for the fact that these are student-grade, the paints are really good. Don’t hesitate to check them out if you’re learning gouache painting.
3. Royal & Langnickel GOU24
Here’s another pack of 24. What makes this one different is that it is a lot more affordable than the ones we’ve discussed above. For just over 10 bucks, you get a pack of 24 gouache paint tubes, each with its own color.
How good is that? It means you’ll be paying just around half a dollar for each tube. Considering they’re 12 ml in capacity, there’s real value for your money there.
But you don’t just want to buy it because it is cheap. You want to know it’s of good quality as well.
Okay, the quality isn’t as good as that of the premium paints, but it is still pretty good and works great for learners and beginners.
The paint is nicely creamy and goes on thin or thick depending on how you apply it. As the pigmentation is strong, the images look color vibrant.
Another cool feature is that the paint responds well to rewetting. That means you don’t have to waste paint if you want to modify parts of your painting.
Again, the paint dries fairly quickly, thus minimizing the risk of smearing the paint everywhere on your workpiece.
If you want to combine your gouache painting with watercolor paints, you’re in luck because this model mixes well with watercolor paints.
Compared to other brands like the Winsor & Newton, this one is a little less opaque. However, when it comes to creaminess and ease of use, the Royal & Langnickel GOU24 is better.
For a super economical paint suitable for beginners and students, go for it.
4. Paul Rubens Artist Grade Watercolor Paint (24-color Set)
Before we start, we’d like to make it clear that this is watercolor paint and not gouache. So why did we include it here? Because for some reason, people confuse it for gouache paint.
We’ve included it here, in part, to help you avoid the confusion, and in part, because it is one of the highest-quality artist grade yet inexpensive watercolor paints.
The Paul Rubens Artist Grade Watercolor Paint comes as a 24-color set, offering some of the most common colors and some unique ones, including cadmium yellow medium, cobalt blue, tree green, coal black, and more.
Forget the student-grade watercolors that suffer greying with time. These are artist-grade and their pigment is pure, making your work remain vibrant for many years. When it comes to lightfastness and permanence, these paints can really be relied on.
Since the colors are gum-based, they’re not only pure but also bright. The transparency and saturation are good, enabling you to execute a smooth drawing.
Let’s now talk about the design of the box.
The watercolors come in a beautiful, lightweight metal-box, which provides safety and makes transportation extremely convenient.
Our only complaint is that the manufacturer should provide different color options for the metal box. Not everyone enjoys pink.
Other than that, the arrangement of the colors inside is very professional. The paints look super shimmery, making them a great gift idea for a young girl looking to go into art.
The manufacture says you can replace the colors individually, and while that is possible, we think color replacement is convenient only when you’re using tubes.
Whether you’re a professional artist or a learner, these watercolor paints are a great option.
And have we mentioned they come with a free mixing palette?
Check them out.
5. M. Graham Gouache Paint Set (5 Tubes of 0.5-oz each)
Out of the 161 customers who had reviewed this gouache paint at the time of writing this review, 88 percent had given it 5 stars and only 1 percent had given it a 1-star.
The reason is simple why so many people like the M. Graham Gouache Paint. It is arguably the best gouache paint out there for beginners and professionals alike.
The lightfastness quality of this paint, especially of its color white, is terrific.
In the package, you will get 5 tubes of 0.5 ounces each. The included colors are some of the most basic for painting, such as white, middle yellow, and burnt sienna.
As many people pointed out, the middle yellow that comes with this package is awesome. It offers you versatility in that you can warm it up with reds or cool it down with greens.
If you’re looking to level up from reeves or other beginner paints, this is the brand for you. The colors dry with more uniformity, opacity, and vibrance. The high pigment load in the colors allows more brilliance, giving you the power to create more exciting design works.
One thing we loved about this paint is the improved moistness and cracking resistance. This feature is made possible by the fact that the paint is made with gum Arabic and enhanced with honey.
Time to say goodbye to the paints that dry chalky. This one, for starters, doesn’t dry in the tubes, thanks to the honey enhancement. And secondly, when applied, it doesn’t dry chalky and it doesn’t crack. The drying is very nice.
The only shortcoming is the limited palette of colors, but that is understandable considering the price.
6. MIYA Gouache Paint Kit (18 Colors and 10 Hog Bristle Paint Brushes)
When it comes to quality, the MIYA Gouache Paint falls in the middle category. It isn’t some super paint for the best professional results, but it’s a decent paint, definitely above the student-grade models.
For the quality, the price is, without a doubt, great. For just above 30 bucks, you get 18 colors in cups with a capacity of 30 ml each. The cool thing is, each of the 18 cups is filled to the brim.
With the 18 colors, you can expect to find just about every basic gouache painting color, including violet, pale green, deep red, acid blue, and more.
This unit’s price friendliness doesn’t just reflect in the quality and quantity of the paint. There are other items the package comes with that are extremely useful, and these appear to be offered free of charge.
First, there is the container; the storage box. Although this one is made of plastic, it feels strong and looks like it will last. You’ll feel confident moving the box around and you’ll also enjoy using it as a storage for your paints. The cups are nestled at the bottom of the box.
There’s only one issue with the box – the loud sound it makes when you snap the lid open or when closing it. It’s a con, but for many users, it’s not a huge bother.
Other than that, the container is very effective when it comes to keeping the paint in the cups creamy and wet. All you need to do is keep the lid closed.
As for the paints you’ve transferred to your palette, these dry and crack a bit, but they’re easy to reactivate with water.
You will love the way the paints are so easy to mix and the fact that the muddy effect isn’t there even when dealing with multiple colors.
The second extra is the brushes. You get 10 brushes of different styles, including flat, filbert, and more.
It’s a shame that replacing the colors when they run out is not plausible, but other than that, this is a great gouache paint set.
7. Winsor & Newton Gouache Paint Set (6 Tubes)
Thought the Reeves were bright? The Winsor & Newton Gouache Paint is even brighter. Its colors look brilliant, enabling you to draw nice and lovely vibrant images. For any artist out there who wants quality without having to break the bank, this is the ideal gouache paint to use.
So what makes this paint a good artist-grade paint?
First, there’s the opacity. If this paint model has one thing going for, it is the opacity. This is one of the opaquest gouache paints available, giving a nice and clear matte finish. The opacity comes in handy as it enhances the appearance and reduces the reflection when photographing the artwork.
Secondly, there is the brilliance of the colors, which is proof that the pigment is high-grade. If you’re looking for a paint that will produce vibrant images, and you don’t want to pay a premium for it, don’t look any further.
Because of the brilliance of the colors, the covering power is great, and the color mixing is clean. No muddy effect when dealing with many colors.
Ever experienced problems with layers lifting off when trying to add another layer? That’s an issue that people often face with Reeves. Well, if you don’t want to face it anymore, try the Winsor & Newton Gouache Paint.
This one allows you to add layers without the previous ones lifting off, thanks to the fast drying.
The paint also has a few issues, but luckily, it’s nothing serious. The first issue is that it stains plastic palettes. You might want to use ceramic palettes if you don’t want to have trouble cleaning up.
Another problem is the odor. It’s rather odd, especially that of the green paint.
As you can see, it’s nothing serious. For a great artist-grade gouache paint, get the Winsor & Newton. For just over 30 dollars, you’ll get 6 tubes of 14 ml each.
8. Madisi Gouache Paint Set (24 Tubes)
For someone seeking a nice gouache paint that can also be easily used a watercolor paint, the Madisi Gouache Paint is a splendid option.
But that’s not the greatest benefit. The real reason why we included this one is our reviews is the awesome price. For just over 10 bucks, you get 24 tubes, each with a different color and a capacity of 12 ml.
Isn’t that nice? If you’re on a budget, it’s a great pick.
You have to realize though, that this is a beginner’s set and not artist grade. Let’s see what this is all about.
The paints are usable out of the tubes. When you place them on your paper, the brilliance of the colors is one benefit you’ll love. The paint is also fairly permanent.
On the negative side, the dried paint cracks a little. And when on the palette, it dries too much, making the reactivation not so easy. Of course, you can reactivate it with water, but the process isn’t quick.
Another factor on the flip side is the staining that the paint does. Yes, the paint will stain fabric as well as your palettes, and it’ll not be so easy to remove the stains.
Back to the positives, the set comes with many colors – 24 to be exact. You’ll find in there, some of the popular painting colors, like burnt umber, crimson red, middle yellow, and deep green, and some unique colors too.
It’s sad, though, that the manufacturer doesn’t label the colors, so you might end up having to label the tubes with stickers.
As we mentioned, this is not a premium paint, so you don’t expect it to have premium benefits. It’s not the best, but for someone on a tight budget, it’s a really good selection.
9. Caran d'Ache Gouache Set (15 Colors)
Portability, ease of use, and reusability are the three main factors that make the Caran d'Ache Gouache Set an awesome choice.
The set comes with 14 paint cakes of different colors including red, blue, pink, and others. The 15th color is in form of a 10-ml tube of white paint.
With this set, you needn’t worry about a mixing palette. That’s because there are 5 mixing areas inside.
You will like the creaminess of the paint. This is actually what makes the paint so easy to use. Unlike other models, which have to be reactivated with lots of water, this one needs just a little water to reactivate when it dries on the palette. And the creaminess makes the application very smooth.
One issue is that the paint dries rather fast on paper. Though a con for some people. It might actually be a benefit to others, because it minimizes the problem of lifting the underlying layers when trying to apply new ones on top.
Something else that’s going to please you is the fact that the paint cakes are removable. This means you can take them out and rearrange them as you please.
Also, you can remove them and take them with you instead of having to take the entire box.
This, and the fact that the box isn’t that big, is what makes the set a good choice for someone who needs something portable.
The colors that come with this set are fairly resistant to fading. However, color fuchia (which looks beautifully by the way), as some users reported, fades quite quickly. The others keep looking vibrant for a long time.
Another benefit you’ll love is the resistance of the dry paint to cracking.
10. MyArtscape Gouache Paint Set (12 Tubes)
Here goes another budget gouache paint set for those of you who want to save money. For just over 10 bucks, you can now get twelve 12-ml tubes of the MyArtscape Gouache Paint.
Each of the tubes is clearly labelled with the color of the paint it contains. Some of the included colors are yellow ochre, burnt sienna, titanium white, and Prussian blue.
There’s one thing you have to realize about this paint before buying – it’s not a high-end type, so the quality is not perfect. That being said, it’s very good for students and beginners.
The first benefit we noted was the smoothness of the paint. It goes on your surface smoothly. However, the paint isn’t very opaque, so to get a nice solid coat, you’ll need to apply at least two layers. Because of this, the tubes don’t last very long.
On a more positive note, the paint goes on uniformly. Also, the colors are nice, giving out a vibrant appearance. Some folks have described them as resembling acrylics, only with extra water.
If you add a lot of water in there, the paints act like watercolor, so you can use them as gouache or watercolor paints.
How about the drying time? You ask. The paint dries quickly, preventing lifting of underlying layers when applying new layers.
As for the resistance to fading, that ability is good but not perfect with this paint. Expect the colors to start fading within a few months, but fortunately, the fading is not very bad. Only a little.
For your peace of mind when using it or giving it to your kids, the MyArtscape Gouache Paint is ASTM-certified. That means it’s non-toxic and safe for use by humans.
The Holbein Artist Gouache Set is another low-cost option that comes in form of 18 tubes each with a capacity of 5 ml.
One thing about the tubes is that they’re rather small (5 ml). That is, without a doubt, small, but you’ll be surprised how far they go. What makes the paints go a long way is the fact that they’re highly concentrated, and thus, just a small application is normally enough.
Forget the paints that need several layers for the image to come out as needed; this paint needs just one layer.
When it comes to color vibrance, this paint is one of the top models. The pigment is rich, producing really vibrant images on paper. Because of the color vibrance, the opacity is also quite good. That’s why only a small application is needed to paint images.
What is surprising about this paint is that even when you water it down, the drawing will still be very opaque. So, don’t worry about the quantity.
To many people, the ease of use also determines the suitability and overall quality of paint. You’ll be happy to find that this model is easy to use. It’s creamy and goes on smoothly and beautifully and is extremely easy to manage on paper.
When exposed to air, the paint dries in the palette and cracks a bit. But the rewetting is hassle-free. With just a little bit of water, you’re able to reactivate it and continue using the paint.
12. Turner Acrylic Gouache Paint Set (24 Tubes)
If what you’re looking for is pretty colors, then the Turner Acrylic Gouache Paint Set is for you. Before you check it out, we’d like you to know that even though this paint set has benefits, many people find the price to be unreasonably high.
But since you asked us about this paint, let’s go ahead and see what it is all about and whether it is worth it.
This model comes in form of 24 tubes, each with a capacity of 20 ml. For starters, that’s a great quantity. You can expect to use it for a while.
As mentioned, the main benefit of this paint is the beauty of the colors. They look rich and vibrant on different surfaces, including nails, paper, and wood.
Another benefit is the fast drying. If you’ve used paints that stayed wet for too long leading to the underlying layers getting affected when trying apply new ones, it is time to say goodbye to them and get the Turner paint.
It’s also good to note that the application is fairly permanent.
The fast drying time and the permanence are the main factors that have led many people to finding this paint useful for doing nail art.
When it dries, the paint creates a nice matte finish.
And now for the drawbacks. First, the consistency is not impressive. Don’t expect it to apply with the smoothness of Holbein Artist Gouache paint or anything else that is creamy and smooth. In fact, the paint is rather streaky.
Again, pushing the paint out of the tubes is a bit of a hassle.
But the main drawback, for many, is the price.
You can go ahead and check it out, but we’d advise you to get the Holbein Artist Gouache Set or the ARTEZA Gouache Paint, which offer you greater benefits and less issues without making you dig deep into your pockets.
Things to Consider Before Buying Gouache Paint
How do I get the best gouache paint? – this is a common question that designers ask, especially those who are only getting started with gouache painting.
If you’ve gone through the review above, you might already have a good idea of what to look for, such as:
Gouache paints come in different quantities – 10 tubes of 20 ml capacity, 20 tubes of 24 ml capacity, 18 tubes of 5 ml capacity, and so on.
When trying to figure if the price suits the product, you definitely want to look at the quantity. But remember, it’s not just the quantity that matters. The longevity is also very important.
For instance, some 5ml tubes go farther than some 20 ml tubes because of difference in effectiveness.
Ease of use
Almost no one wants to get products that are difficult to use. When it comes to paints, the ease of use is defined by the style in which the paint is presented as well as the creaminess and smoothness.
There are two main styles. Pans and tubes. Pans are basically paint cakes arranged like a palette in a box while tubes are just that – tubes containing differently colored paints.
Tubes are easier to use and more convenient to replace. That being said, you ought to consider the ease of squeezing. Some brands like the ARTEZA Gouache Paint come with easily squeezable tubes but others like the Turner Acrylic Gouache Paint tubes are so hard to squeeze.
Also, look at the creaminess and smoothness. A creamy and smooth paint is super easy to apply on most surfaces as opposed to a granulated and inconsistent paint.
Different paint brands have different color vibrance levels. For instance, the M. Graham is more color-vibrant than the Reeves.
While some varieties take a few seconds to dry upon exposure to air, others take more than 5 minutes. When it comes to drying speed, acrylic gouache paints are the best. Go here to check few brushes for your painting.
frequently asked questions
How does gouache differ from watercolor paint and which one better?
The basic difference between gouache and watercolor is the level of opaqueness. Gouache is opaquer than watercolor. It is however, good to note that some gouache paints behave like watercolor when watered down adequately.
While gouache is good for painting opaque images, watercolor is good for more transparent images. That means each of them has benefits. But when it comes to prevention of granulation and creation of nice matte finishes, gouache is better as it has a richer pigment.
Can I add water to gouache paint?
Yes of course. It happens to be a water-based medium, meaning to activate it when the paint is hard, you need water.
How fast does gouache dry?
When the water in it evaporates, gouache paint dries. Ordinarily, this takes just a few minutes. Some people use a hair dryer to accelerate the drying time.
Can I use gouache paint on watercolor paper?
Gouache can be painted on a variety of surfaces, including watercolor paper and canvas. Watercolor paper is an especially good choice as it is pretty cheap.
Is it possible to rewet gouache?
Gouache is water-soluble. When it dries on the pan, all you need to do is add a little bit of water and the paint becomes wet again. Note, however, that acrylic gouache is not easy to rewet and that when it dries on paper, rewetting is usually not possible.
In our review of the best gouache paints, we did our best to include both premium and budget models. The premium ones are mostly artist-grade while the budget ones are mostly student-grade.
Most of them have tremendous benefits to offer, but if you’re looking for the finest, we’d advise you to go for the M. Graham Gouache Paint Set. It has excellent lightfastness, great color vibrance, and happens to be super easy to use. The only issue with it is that it comes with only five tubes, meaning you get only five colors.
If you need more colors, the ARTEZA Gouache Paint, which comes with 24 colors and happens to be pretty inexpensive, could be the perfect option.