Compare Watercolor vs Gouache vs Liquid Watercolor

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Are you a fan of watermedia but wonder what the differences are between watercolor, gouache and liquid watercolor? Here is a mini comparison where we show you how each of these paint types behave.

Check out the photos below to see for yourself.

Compare Watercolor vs Gouache vs Liquid Watercolor

Compare Watercolor vs Gouache vs Liquid Watercolor

For this comparison we demonstrate painting with different types and brands of watercolor paint, gouache and liquid watercolor, all in a light green tone.

The watercolor was used from a dried palette or pan, while the gouache was fresh from the tube and the watercolor ink was straight out of the bottle.

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For this test I used:

  • Talens Ecoline Watercolor in Bronze Green (buy at Amazon or Blick)
  • Daniel Smith Extra Fine Watercolor tube in Green Gold (check prices at Amazon or Blick)
  • Schmincke Horadam pan watercolor in green yellow (shop at Amazon or Blick)
  • Talens Gouache in Light Green (buy at Amazon or Blick)
  • Talens Gouache in Vermillion (check prices at Amazon or Blick)
  • Strathmore 400 cold press watercolor paper (shop at Amazon or Blick)
  • Da Vinci Junior Brushes (buy at Amazon or Blick)

As you can see in the image above, the Ecoline watercolor ink flows smoothly and is vivid on the paper, I added water to see the effects of dilution. The Daniel Smith watercolors also apply beautifully to the paper and leave interesting granulation patterns when dry. The pan watercolor from Horadam is also lovely. Both watercolors are beautiful colors but are not as vivid or opaque as the watercolor ink. If you would like to read more about watercolor inks, check out this post all about liquid watercolors. And be sure to read about some of the best watercolor brands here, including Daniel Smith and Schmincke.

The gouache leaves a velvety finish on the paper, and can be diluted with water to get a watercolor effect or painted straight from the tube to be absolutely opaque. To learn more about gouache and the best gouache brands, click here.

Next I combined gouache with the watercolor ink to see the effects of mixing. The green on green does not reveal a lot of interaction because the colors are quite similar but you can see where they mixed it is a darker spot.

Compare Watercolor vs Gouache vs Liquid Watercolor

To better see the effects of mixing I used vermillion gouache combined with the green watercolor ink. You can see where the mediums combined formed a somewhat shiny dark area, very interesting. And where there was more water it left an almost yellow spot. I love this color combination and will have to try it again.

Compare Watercolor vs Gouache vs Liquid Watercolor

I hope this helps give you some understanding about the different ways these paints perform and which ones you might like to try in the future.

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