Watercolor VS Gouache Painting (with Grisaille)

Watercolor VS Gouache Painting (with Grisaille)

Hey, Watercolor Wizards! Hajra here! In this video I’m going to be covering
how to do a project in watercolor and also the same project in gouache, so you
can see the differences between the two different kinds of water media. The
drawing that I will be painting is from a Henry Clive painting from the early
1900s, and he’s a great pastel artist who works in dry media, but his works look
like oil. Today we’ll be working on a study of Clive piece and making it into watercolor & gouache. So you can see I’ve started on the watercolor side, and I’m starting
with my lightest colors because in watercolor you typically work from light
to dark. I’m adding very wet thin paint onto dry paper. So this is wet-on-dry and
I am doing this just with the purple and blue shadows and I’m blending out edges
where I want them with a damp brush with just water in it. You can put on the
purple very thinly because if you are working in such a small area and you use
too much water, the lines will blur and the paint will really get out of control,
so go ahead and use really thin washes of purple, and also not too much water
when you are spreading out or blending edges. Also keep in mind that any time
you want a darker purple someplace you can just come back after the first
wash is dry, and add more purple on top. So you can see that I’m doing that right
now with the flowers and with the headband. I waited for the first wash of
purple to dry and now I’m going back and making it darker. The color scheme I’m
using for this painting is quinacridone red, quinacridone gold, and a phthalo blue,
so it’s going to be a very limited, triad color scheme. With watercolor have a lot of awesome effects and so
you can see I dropped in just water onto the crescent moon in the background, and
I’ve gone ahead and added my green mix into the background, and you can see how
it bleeds in such a lovely way. Now I’m going to wait for that to dry so I’m
going to go over the gouache side and do the same thing and add in the purple
shadows in her little shirt and also in the headband and stuff, so you can
see I’m not really doing anything that different at this point.
When you have something that’s white like this shirt, instead of going from
dark to light in gouache or from mid-tone
dark to light, you can just start with light and go to dark the same way you do
with watercolor, so it’s the smartest thing to do if the majority of your
color is white and that’s the case for the shirt. I’m putting in the base dark
for my headband now–it’s going to be a good reference for the light and dark
values for the painting, if you have one area that’s a solid dark. Because this is
gouache, you can see I’ve already started touching the flowers with some white
because I can use white whereas with the watercolor I won’t be able to do that. If
I’ve lost a white, it’s gone–I can only have the white of the paper for the
watercolor. On the gouache side, I’m adding in some of the details for
her shirt and as you can see I’ve added in a little touch of green into the
shirt for the shadows and the highlights because that’ll help give me color
constancy, because the little Crescent has green in the background–if you
put a little bit of green in her shirt, too, it helps give the paper some
consistency and makes it look prettier. Gone back over to the watercolor side,
I’m darkening up her headband now, I’m jumping back over to the gouache side
and starting to do the moon in the back. And you can see how it’s different from
the watercolor because instead of doing a wet-into-wet, it’s more of an
impressionistic way of patching in different colors and they don’t run and
have the same sort of transparent water effects, but it does give you something
very similar as long as you move your brushstrokes in a very loose sort of
“scumbling” way. You can make the gouache very thin and
also use it like watercolor, but it doesn’t really look that good. If you
want to use something transparently, you should just use the watercolor in the
background. I’ve gone back over the watercolor side–you can see again wet-
into-wet water effects and see how the moon on the left looks very sort of wet
and loose and transparent and texturized. The one on the right looks a little
bit more stiff and definitely more opaque, and even though I have an
impressionist feel to it, it doesn’t have the sort of melty watercolor look. I’m
going to do some quick wet-into-dry work on the left watercolor side before
jumping back to the right gouache side as the watercolor dries. So on the gouache side,
I’m going to do the mid-tone method for the flowers to put down the mid-tone
orangish peach first and then go ahead and put the darker orange red on top of
the flowers and then come back with the light which is white highlights to make
the flowers have that dimension and so that’s how you
would work with the mid-tone method. With gouache you can keep touching up a part of the painting until you’re happy with it. So with this painting, once I’ve added
the white I’ve decided I do want some more shadow colors, so I’m going to go
back and do some more of that. And this is really great if you’re working in
gouache because you can sort of endlessly go back and forth whereas with
watercolor you can only go from light to dark. I’m also doing the back of her head
just that top part of her hair with the mid-tone method. So far I’ve done the
mid-tone method on the back of her hair and the flowers, and the light-to-dark
method on the very bottom for her shirt on the gouache side, and on the
watercolor side, I’ve just done light-to- dark so far. Doing her hair in the back
there you can see I’ve added in the mid-tone, my darkest darks, and now
my lightest lights. I’m actually just
going to stain the rest of her hair and also stain her face, because I’m going to
choose to do the grisaille method now for the rest of this painting–for the
rest of her hair, her face, and the bird, so you can see as many techniques in the
same painting as possible. I’m actually going to turn the camera off for the
grisaille because I’ve shown it in other videos, so if you want to see how
I do grisaille, then you can check out those other videos. Now the grisaille is there, and you can see how
it’s given me a very sort of useful guide to my values for the rest of this
painting. This is particularly useful if you are doing a lot of sort of value
shading even with your color because it will give you a guide for that later on.
So I’m starting to color in this bird and I did the other bird with the camera
off, but I decided to do at least one of the birds with the camera on, so you can see
what I’m doing. This gouache hummingbird is easier to do than the watercolor
hummingbird was because gouache doesn’t spread as much as watercolor does. This
is because you can use gouache so much drier than watercolor and it dries almost
instantly, so it’s really good for teeny-tiny areas without making a mess.
For the watercolor bird, I also try to use really sort of dryish washes,
so more dry brushing with just a little bit of blending, because you don’t want
to have too much water in such a tiny area. I’m going to shortly move on to the
rest of the face because it looks like this bird is looking good. I’m going
to start with adding in orange for her neck, and the whole
process of painting with gouache is just going to be a nice sort of experiment.
You put in a color–if you don’t like it, make it warmer, make it cooler, make it
lighter, make it darker– it’s totally malleable, which is why it’s
a very fun medium to work with. Anything can be corrected. I can go
ahead and put white over something if I’ve made it too dark. I’m starting to
add in the pink for the blush on her cheeks and it looks kind of scary right
now, but keep in mind that I can blend it away into the rest of her face, and I can
also add other colors to make the pink lighter or darker. I can also add other colors just
around it to make it relatively lighter and darker, so the colors will continue
to transform and change on her face as I’m making these sort of measurements
with my eye, looking at my palette and the reference,
trying to get that look. Again, you don’t have to sort of slavishly copy
anything if you’re an artist–you not only want to paint something well, but
you also want to do it so that it looks more original, more creative, and perhaps
more fanciful and exciting than the original reference. Whether the original
reference is a photograph or a painting, make sure you do something creative. So, I’ve started putting on her makeup; I’ve actually put on her lipstick
and I’m going to go to the eye area and also do her eye shadow and socket. I’m
gonna give her a more golden look around her eyebrow, so that she looks a little
bit more sort of alive and sort of romantic. Then I’m just going to
continue to model the color tones on her face, making some areas warmer, cooler
darker, or lighter. I’m actually going to still let the grisaille tonal under-painting peek through and it’s going to give me a lot of beautiful depth
and make the painting look like it has much nicer value consistency. Now that
I’m done with her face, the bird looks a little bit washed out, so I’ve gone and
touched up the bird a little bit, and now I’m going to finish her hair. I’m going
to do the same process with the hair. Working on it over the Grisaille.
The hair that’s painted with grisaille is going to look a little bit
different than the hair that was painted with the mid-tone method, so I’m probably
going to end up having to work on one or the other to make them look more alike.
The underpainting shadow on the rest of her hair will make this
hair darker and more brown looking; I did choose to do a very dark brown
almost sort of black grisaille under painting for this. I could have chosen to
do other colors, too, but I felt like this was a good color. Especially because this
is gouache, I can always cover it up and make it a little bit lighter. If I was
doing this on the watercolor side, then I would make sure that my grisaille is not
that dark because I can’t really cover it up. Back to the watercolor side:
and as I said earlier, the grisaille here is a little bit lighter than the Grisaille
was on the gouache side, and I’m going to go ahead and paint the rest of this
painting on the watercolor side from light to dark like I have painted
watercolor paintings in other videos, and also just how I painted the shirt
and the purple flower earlier. So, I can’t go back and correct it and make it
lighter or add white. I can do a limited amount of lifting with a scrubber brush
if I make a mistake, but I can’t layer lights and darks the way I did on the
gouache. So, you can see the end result is going to look a little bit more orange
and a little bit more red than the gouache side, and this is because the
grisaille was darker on the gouache side, and also the gouache colors that I have
are actually just less orange than the watercolor colors that I was using. So
the watercolor girl looks like she’s sort of got a sunburn and whereas the
gouache girl looks like she’s more keeping indoors. I could, of course, have
prevented this if I used different colors on the watercolor, so that has nothing to
do with the actual watercolor itself. Once I’m finished painting the watercolor
side, take a moment to pause the video and compare the watercolor side with the
gouache side and you can see that you can get very similar results if you’re
painting with watercolor and gouache. You can work light to dark in
watercolor, while you can work light to dark or dark to light in gouache. You can do
better water effects in watercolor, but gouache is more opaque, while watercolor is more
luminous, so they have different qualities. But, you can use them to do
similar work and hopefully this video will help you understand both of these
different kinds of water media painting and also encourage you to try some
projects of your own!


  • Jann Allen Dulay says:

    gouache enhance the color nice

  • stripeytapir says:

    Wow, very helpful!! Thanks for this!

  • Meera Krishnamurthy says:

    Loved this. Thanks!

  • T-Zay says:

    Interesting! Thanks for sharing, I've never used gouache before and I'm getting a sense of its feel. So far I've used watercolor like gouache with mid-tone method and using white acrylic for highlights.

  • Smc Smc says:

    Both are beautiful, but I have to say I prefer gouache. There are more techniques to use, and I like that white can be added because I always mess up😂

  • fabnsass says:

    both have personality and I like how they look. I prefer watercolour for more abstract paintings but you did great in both ✌

  • The Gaming Reika says:

    Lol ive learned about gouache just hours ago.When my dad bought it instead of watercolor😂😂😂

  • Sasha Fitzgerald says:

    Excellent video, thank you!

  • Santiago YouTube says:

    thank you so much for this video! can you make a comparison with tempera paints?

  • Santiago YouTube says:

    by the way, in general, what can you say about using watercolor or using gouache? the most important comparison, and including pros and cons.

  • Jeni Moore says:

    Wonderful work there 🙂 I've scrolled through previous comments/inquiries but didn't find the question I have: Do you have a preference as far the brand and sizing of the paper – as used in this demo?

  • Shae Shatz says:

    wow, that was pretty cool. I love how directly you compare the two mediums. thanks for sharing!

  • CRAZI _WORLD says:

    I like the gouache painting more

  • sasutomato says:

    I tend to use these mediums together..I can't even remember how I got into gouache. lol I love how they both came out.

  • arcanum rosa says:

    I was given a bunch of art supplies about… 5 and a bit years ago im in 4th year now and was going though a bunch of art supplies for my art homework and found gouache but I had no idea what it was and this video helped alot thanks

  • Beatrix Menuto says:

    Hey! Your a Meeks? So am i! We have the same last name!

  • blue moded says:

    It's pronounced goo-ash not gowash

  • Eyerson Wagner Trejo Morales says:

    davinchi aitoretrsto

  • Eyerson Wagner Trejo Morales says:

    davinchi aitoretrsto

  • jerry says:

    Excellent narration! I learned a lot. thanks!

  • Mahmoud Alsaid says:

    You've done an outstanding job with your explanations. I was not really interested in the comparison of these two that much, but I still learned a great deal by just watching and listening. Good job!

  • Annalisa Feleppa says:

    have you ever used caran d'ache neocolor ll wax water soluble crayons? When layered they become like guache. Interesting medium. There isn't much on youtube about it though.

  • Ella M3x09 says:

    Its both pretty

  • Art By Emm says:

    Thanks for sharing! This makes me want to try out both of these mediums

  • Lucas CYPRES says:

    but your map isn't true… the german's and italian's borders are wrong :/

  • Joint Jason says:

    What is the difference between watercolor and gouche?

  • MRWDL800 says:

    subbed. boom. amazing vid wow

  • Motas Motas says:

    just great!!! its amazing the results of both, the explanation helpme a lot! thanks you so much for sharing your knowledge

  • 100percentjoy says:

    Both images are beautiful! I love the effects of both, and I can see how one can use either watercolour or gouache to achieve a certain mood or tone in their artwork!

  • Irkallla says:

    Subscribed because I don't think I've ever heard a voice over done this well haha

  • Rayan Salha says:


  • goldfish1871 says:

    this is so informative! thank you for making this video 🙂

  • Jeanina Ahmed says:

    What is the best the watercolor or gouache?

  • Ellie Merc says:

    Loved watching your video, I think I love the Gouache better. Your voice is soothing and you didn't drag things out so 'bravo'. Feb. 20/17 –

  • tim acquistapace says:

    Thank you for this video. Your commentary does not stray, stammer meander, and that shows that you have done your homework. Presentation as they say, is everything. Good job.

  • Ednie Saint Eloi says:

    I preferred the Watercolor one, it looked more vibrant and popping than the gouache. The Cresent on the gouache however, looked more natural, and uniformed then the WC one.
    I have to agree, her skin did looked oily on the WC then the gouache. The shirt in gouache also looked more uniformed then the WC. Although to me, the gouache looked more dull then the Watercolor
    The gouache works best for more defined, and uniformed results while the watercolors would give you a more subtle, vibrant and a more "dreamy" look.

  • ChesapkLady says:

    This is an amazing demonstration between these two water media!! THANK YOU!

  • Ashlyn says:

    wow this is incredible. This is super helpful bc watercolor is my main medium but ive been seeing a lot of gouache lately and wanna give it a try so this really helped see the differences before i get started. also both of these are beautiful

  • Jenny Dolfen says:

    That is fantastically helpful. I've been a watercolour artist for 25 years and I've always been utterly at a loss how to work with gouache – this side-by-side is just what I needed!

  • Monse Castro says:

    i dont understand the difference😭

  • Eleanor says:

    I like the watercolour moon and then the opacity of the gouache for the woman

  • HeySheDraws says:

    very helpful, i've only used gouache once but now i'm excited to try it some more!

  • Naomi Z says:

    this is gorgeous

  • Leah Allen says:

    Beautiful illustration and great information delivered effectively. Really appreciate the side by side comparison, which helped me understand. Thanks for sharing, Hajra!

  • Debbie A says:

    You are an excellent artist and teacher.  Thanks for the information.

  • Alana Shanah says:

    this is so helpful. thank you.

  • Charlotte Kindl says:

    One of the most detailled and informative tutorials on how to use gouache I've seen. Big thumbs up!

  • The Art of Warren says:

    This was just what I needed. Very informative! Thanks!

  • bokbok fab says:

    i prefer using gouache than watercolor.. because in gouache you can make a layer to layer of different colors just like with the acrylic..

  • RoProArt says:

    This was really useful thanks.

  • Arash S says:

    which one is best for abstract painting, gouache or watercolor?!

  • lucassus says:

    Thanks for your compareson. Like it very much. Unfortunately we can't pick some things from watercolor and some from gouache. We must to choose. Well, maybe that's even better for ours creativity 😉

  • Anthony Curnow says:

    I adore the way the gouache looks, but i want the ability to do washes over the entire page like i can with watercolours 🙁

  • Renee L. Marks says:

    Gouache really looks like fun to use. I have only three primary's in this and have not yet tried them. I don't know why I never did. Tubes just sitting there.

  • Kelley Mila says:

    This is so helpful and enlightening. Fantastic walk through as well, i will definitely be using your tips in the future!

  • N1sse21 says:

    PHTALO BLUE, I swear to god every time someone says that I can only think about

    The one and only

    With a voice so calming

    With an amazing 'fro

    Bob Ross

  • faroshscale says:

    How did you duplicate the lineart?

  • Deborah Peterson says:

    Can you tell me what you did to replicate the images onto your paper? Thank you.

  • Randy Goff says:

    Wow, Truly Amazing, Your demonstration should be used around the world as the perfect way to demonstrate art technique . Your artwork is amazing, Your speaking is amazing, your looks is even more amazing.

  • Jiry Mahabier says:

    Nice video!

  • Chris Reitmann says:

    Very helpful! Thank you for this video.

  • Taka Takata says:

    Very, very useful, thanks! High information density, almost too much at the same time, what with the video, the titles, the talk… Needs several viewings to digest it all!

  • Carlotta Holman says:

    This was definitely helpful. I haven't had a chance to work with gouache and had wondered about it. TFS

  • G.D. Romanov says:

    From one artist to another, Bravo! Great instructions and amazing talent!!! What do you use for your tracing?

  • Maddison Robinette says:

    My friend and I love you

  • Lyn Kosmer says:

    Great video – I’m out to buy some gouache paint to give it a go !
    I’m an oil painter, but I like the qualities of gouache – correctable, fast drying and good for fast plein air sketching!

  • White Pnter says:

    we have to use both because i think watercolor is good for blending (like on the moon) and guache is better for the shades (maybe)

  • HeyIt'sMichael says:

    I’d like to say white is so useful in watercolor when you are doing anything that you don’t want a watery feel. You can keep stiff strokes with white that are light on the paper.

  • Fernanda Miranda Arts says:

    thanks for the explanation.

  • Arika Rodriguez says:

    Great video!

  • DAVY. J.Y. Art with a pen. says:

    It has been a very long time since i used Gouache, i think i will give it another try. Excellent artwork and video,,:)

  • Sofia says:

    This was SO helpful

  • Bee Greyt says:

    great video, thank you!

  • Liz Savage says:

    Really enjoyed this…it's so nice to be introduced to you through Steve and Marty's live stream which I just watched. I'm intrigued by the grisaille technnique…Didn't know there was a formal name for it. I've also been a huge fan of Alphonse Mucha since the 80s when I studied costume design in grad school. Big fan of Erte, Art Deco, Art Nouveau periods as well…I've subscribed and look forward to viewing your videos. Cheers!

  • Chainsaw Kitten says:

    This is why I find watercolor such a challenge….I’ve always in mediums I’ve used worked dark to light….so hard to turn that around, much harder than I thought it would be. What about mixing these two mediums, using both? I’ve done a few WC paintings, and used gouache in some areas, like where I needed a touch of white, or wanted to highlight something.

  • WarrioressRising says:

    So helpful, will be trying Gouache.

  • dianara melico says:

    What is the difference between acrylic and gouache?

  • Island Bay says:

    As a righty it freaks me out to see a lefty, it always has and idk why!

  • Matheus Ferreira says:

    This was helpful. what gouache brand do you recommend for a beginner?

  • Craig Potter says:

    U Go Girrrrrl! Ypu explained the diff betwin wcolr & Gouache! THX

  • lazer tag says:

    gouache is better, i think you are bias with watercolor

  • Kat Mann says:

    I know you posted this a while ago but THIS IS SO HELPFUL thank you so much for taking the time to create this!

  • Alexander says:

    "Im starting with my lightest colors because typically with watercolor you typically work from light to dark"
    >Starts with purple

  • Doodlescnof says:

    Just spent a few hours setting a contraption to make drawing videos and boi am I tired

  • Brigette 5280 says:

    New sub here, I must say you are super talented. Very enjoyable video

  • Sylvia Beam says:

    I enjoyed this video but I have one complaint; you kept saying that you can't add white in watercolor. I use white watercolor paint all the time in my paintings!

  • Gracie Shack Art! says:

    Hi Hajra! I am newbie subscriber to your you tube channel. 🎥 your videos are great. your very talented Artist! 🎨 😊

  • Gráinne McKenna says:

    What a great video!! I just stumbles across your channel and I'm so glad! You are very skilled and this was incredibly informative. I loved the hair, especially in the gouache portrait and would love a more in depth explanation of how you did this – but I'm about to check out your channel now so maybe it is covered elsewhere 🙂 Thanks for sharing your knowledge!

  • Buddy Paine says:

    Wait I'm not sure if I heard correctly. Did u say you cant put white water color paint ontop of other water color paint and that if u wanted white u would have to use the white of the paper?….that's not true..wait for your painting to dry then add white. I've done many paintings and my white water color paints right ontop of other water colors.

  • Gracie Shack Art! says:

    Wow! Harja This is wonderful video very helpful! Your amazing youtuber and thank you for sharing your beautiful art with us! I will send you an email as you about your skillshare class! can you send me a link here for your class? 🙂 happy Weekend!

  • Bruce Kilgour says:

    What about mixing the best elements of both media. i.e. the moon in watercolour and the rest in guache?

  • Ayenate' Lawson says:

    It's hard to watch someone create something so beautiful with so much talent and know that people scoff at the idea of having an art decree or of aspiring to be an artist. What people like you do.. takes so much time to learn, so much talent , skill, and passion… Most people simply can't do what you can and they simply do not see the world the way an artist does to to create original work and skillfully translate it into being.

    Anyway I know this is just a demonstration of the two mediums and she is using another's artists work as an example, but I was just looking up the word gouache because I didn't know the definition and I stumbled upon this video. I just remembered how therapeutic creating art used to be for me and I wish I could spend all my time playing with different mediums. ☺

  • Greg Gibson says:

    Greetings from Utah. Terrific video. Thanks! Subbed.

  • Maçã Verde says:

    Classic finally, I'm subscribed!

  • Levtie Art says:

    what gouaches do you use i like how your look like and i think it would work for me cloud you tell me

  • Zile Huma says:

    Slam nazo popho

  • Bev Langby says:

    Thank you Hajra you are very talented 👍

  • Ola's Jasmine ياسمينات علا says:

    You are the first person using gouche colour which I was using a lot as watercolour.
    First vedio I see in your channel so really thank you and happy to be a member in your YouTube family.

  • mjpete27 says:

    I feel like I have seen this image before from you and others too! I read some comments and love that people are not scandalized by medium mixing! I can tell I am an older viewer as I remember paintings being rejected from shows because the Artist had used a gouache (or opaque paint) in their watercolor painting and it was simply NOT allowed! I even had a picture thrown out by an instructor in college because of "mixing" media! Yeah I remember it becoming a real category! Mixed media that is to say! Lovely video thanks again for a well thought out presentation and comparison of techniques.

  • Rose Pal says:

    this was so informative thank you!

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