What Is Gouache: History And Applications. 

What is Gouache

The title of the present article is What Is Gouache. However, I will also refer briefly to subjects focusing on the issue of online education, as it fascinates me personally.

Most people are not quite sure what exactly the term gouache painting means. Gouache is a technique and a product at the same time!

The name gouache (pronounced "gwash") is French and derives from the Italian aguazzo (=mud), both referring to an opaque water color. However, this type of color is distinctively different from water color: it consists of pigment and a binding agent (usually Arabic gum), as water color does, but (unlike water color) the main difference is the following. The particles are larger, the ratio of pigment to water is much larger and, in addition, chalk is also present: the result is the "opaque" character of this painting medium.

The technique appeared first in Medieval times, in the decorative embellishments of illuminated manuscripts. The German artist Albrecht Dürer (16th Century) used this medium in his nature paintings. During the 17th century, gouache was introduced to England. Topographical artists started using this method from around 1740.

Opaque techniques flourished during Impressionism and Post-Impressionism: the artists were fascinated by the medium and its brilliance of color, and started using it extensively. After the first world war, and around 1930, the medium improved significantly and the result was the "Designers Opaque Water Color".

Who Uses Gouache?

Fine artists: they either use it in together with water color or by itself.  The medium is excellent for abstract work, as it gives colors an outstanding brilliance and solidity.

Designers: the name, "Designers’ Gouache," was given because of the easiness of its use as well as its brilliance. Gouache is obviously very popular among designers!


Calligraphers: the medium is highly preferred in calligraphy, due of its opacity, permanence of results, but also because of its superb "flow" during work.

Airbrush artists: its unique covering power, and its opaqueness, make gouache popular in airbrushing.

More Links About Gouache

What Is Gouache: "Artworks Complete Catalogue "