The Best Paper for Gouache Painting: Which Surfaces Work Best and How to Paint with Gouache (2023)

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Last Updated on June 16, 2023 by Dee

Gouache is a beautiful, versatile paint that can be used on many surfaces. But what is the best paper for gouache paint? This blog post will explore the types of paper you can use and discuss which gives you the best results. We will also discuss how to paint with gouache and some of the best techniques for achieving stunning results!

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Table of Contents

best paper for gouache

The Best Paper for Gouache

Gouache is a paint often used by artists to create vibrant and opaque color effects.

While it can be used on any paper, certain papers are best suited for gouache painting.

Typically, these papers are thick and absorbent, with a smooth surface that allows the paint to glide on evenly.

Some of the best papers for gouache include watercolor paper, illustration board, and hot press paper. Experiment with different types of paper until you find the one best suits your needs.

Here are my top recommendations for the best paper to work on with Gouache Paint:

Arteza Sketch Book

Paul Rubens Watercolor Block

U.S. Art Supply 11″ x 14″ Premium Heavyweight Watercolor Painting Paper Pad

St. Cuthberts Mill Bockingford Watercolor Paper Spiral Pad

Arches Watercolor Pad

Canson XL Series Black Drawing Paper

tumuarta Watercolor Journal

Canson 100510941 XL Series Watercolor Pad

American Choice XL Series Mix Paper Pad

Strathmore 360-109 300 Series Watercolor Pad

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What surface is best for gouache?

Gouache is a type of watercolor paint known for its rich, vibrant colors.

Unlike traditional watercolors, gouache is opaque, meaning it can be used to create beautiful layered effects.

When painting with gouache, the surface you use can significantly affect the final result.

Ideally, you want to use a smooth, absorbent surface that will allow the paint to glide on evenly. Paper is the most popular choice for gouache paintings, and there are a few different types that work well.

Cold press paper has a slightly textured surface that can add interesting effects to your painting, while hot press paper is completely smooth and ideal for creating detailed designs.

Whatever type of paper you choose, test it out with a few practice strokes before you start your masterpiece.

What supplies do you need to start gouache painting?

In addition to paper, you will need a few other supplies before you can start painting with gouache.

  1. First, you will need a set of gouache paints. These are the gouache paints I use and love.
  2. Next, you will need some brushes specifically designed for use with watercolors. I prefer to use soft bristle, synthetic brushes, but you can use natural hair brushes if you prefer.
  3. You need a good paint palette. I use this ceramic paint palette because it makes it very easy to mix colors and easy to clean.
  4. Paper towel and a cup with water for rinsing your brushes.
  5. Other helpful supplies include a spray bottle for misting your paper, a hairdryer for drying your paint and masking tape, or Painter’s Tape for creating straight lines.

Now that you have all your supplies, you are ready to start painting!

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Is gouache better on paper or canvas?

Both paper and canvas have advantages when choosing a surface for gouache paints.

Paper is typically less expensive than canvas, and it’s also easier to transport.

Canvas, on the other hand, is more durable and provides a firmer surface for painting. This gouache canvas is great for gouache painting because it is pre-primed and ready to go.

Ultimately, the best surface for gouache depends on the artist’s personal preferences and needs.

For example, an artist who wants to create small studies might prefer paper, while an artist who plans to create a large-scale painting might prefer canvas.

Experimenting with both surfaces is a good way to figure out which one works best for you.

What paper do you use with gouache?

There are a few different types of paper that can be used with gouache, but not all papers are created equal. You’ll want to choose a thicker and more absorbent paper for the best results.

This will help prevent the paint from seeping through and give it something to grip on so it doesn’t slide around too much. Watercolor paper is a good option, as is cardstock. 

Does gouache work on normal paper?

Gouache can be used on normal paper, but certain papers work best with gouache. These papers are usually thicker and have a “toothy” surface that helps the paint adhere better.

If you use gouache on normal paper, you may find that the paint bleeds through the paper or that the colors are not as vibrant as you would like.

Use gouache on a specialty mixed media paper designed for water-based paints for the best results.

Is hot pressed or cold pressed paper better for gouache?

When choosing the best paper for gouache, there are two main types: hot-pressed and cold-pressed.

Hot-pressed paper has a smooth surface ideal for creating precise lines and detailed illustrations.

On the other hand, cold-pressed paper has a slightly textured surface that is perfect for producing softer edges and more relaxed brushstrokes.

Ultimately, the best paper for gouache will depend on the type of artwork you plan to create. If you are looking for precision and detail, hot-pressed paper is the way to go.

The cold-pressed paper will suit your needs if you prefer a more painterly style.

Do you need to prime paper for gouache?

When painting with gouache, the type of paper you use can significantly affect the final results.

While some artists prefer canvas boards or hot-pressed watercolor paper, others find that unprimed paper produces more vibrant colors. 

To prime paper, you can use something called watercolor ground. This is a clear primer that you can paint onto the paper. You can use this to prime any surface for mixed media art.

Can you use gouache paint on canvas?

While gouache paint can be used on various surfaces, paper is the best substrate for this type of paint.

Gouache is a water-based paint, and when applied to canvas, the opaque layers of paint can seep into the fabric and cause the colors to bleed.

In addition, the paint can be difficult to control on a textured surface like canvas. The best option is to buy primed canvas, pre-primed canvas board, or stretched canvas.

By contrast, paper provides a smooth surface that allows for greater control and more precise paint application.

In addition, paper is more absorbent than canvas, meaning that the paint will dry more evenly and won’t bleed into other areas.

Can I use acrylic gouache on canvas?

Acrylic Gouache will adhere to canvas, so you don’t have to prime it first. You can thin the paint with water to create a transparent look or use it undiluted for an opaque finish. Make sure the surface is clean and dry before you start painting.

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What is gouache good for?

Gouache is a type of water-based paint that has a dense, opaque pigment. It is similar to acrylic paint, but it dries more slowly and has a higher viscosity.

Gouache can be used for various applications, including painting, illustration, and calligraphy. When used for painting, gouache has a matte finish and can be blended to create different effects.

It is also easy to rework, making it a good choice for beginners.

For illustrations, gouache can create high-contrast images with bold colors.

And for calligraphy, gouache can add shading and color to letters. Because of its versatility, gouache can be used on various papers.

Do professional artists use gouache?

Yes, professional artists use gouache paint for a variety of applications. While it is not as popular as oil paints or acrylic painting, gouache has several advantages that make it ideal for certain types of artwork.

For example, because gouache is water-based, it can be easily reworked and corrected. This makes it a good choice for artists still experimenting with their style.

In addition, gouache dries quickly and can be used on a variety of different surfaces. This makes it a versatile choice for artists who want to create traditional and non-traditional artwork.

The history of Gouache

Gouache is a type of paint used by artists for centuries. Its name comes from the Italian word guazzo, which means “mud.”

Gouache is made by combining pigment with an acrylic binder and adding water to create a thick, creamy consistency.

The paint can be applied to paper, board, or canvas, and it dries to a matte finish. Unlike other types of paint, gouache is not transparent, so it can be used to create opaque color effects.

Gouache has a long history, and it is believed to have been first used by medieval monks to illuminate manuscripts.

The paint was also popular among Renaissance artists, who used it to create brightly colored illustrations. In the 18th century, gouache became the preferred medium of many popular portrait painters.

The best paper for gouache is a heavy-weight watercolor paper with a smooth surface. Gouache can also be mixed with other media such as ink or collage to create unique effects.


What’s the difference between watercolor and gouache?

Watercolor and gouache are water-based paints made with natural or synthetic pigments, but they have some key differences.

Watercolor is transparent, while gouache is opaque.

Watercolor is also more dilute than gouache and dries more quickly. Gouache can be reworked more easily than watercolor, making it a good choice for beginners.

Do you need Gesso for Gouache?

Gesso is not necessary for gouache, but it can help create a smooth surface for painting. Gesso is a type of primer that can be used on paper, board, or canvas.

How do you prepare a canvas for gouache?

The best way to prepare a canvas for gouache is to prime it with gesso or watercolor ground. This will create a smooth canvas texture and painting surface and help the paint adhere to the canvas.

Is gouache the same as acrylic paints?

No, gouache is not the same as acrylic paint. Gouache is a type of water-based paint that has a dense, opaque pigment. It is similar to acrylic paint, but it dries more slowly and has a higher viscosity. Acrylic paint is a flexible paint made from plastic, and it dries quickly. It is also more transparent than gouache.

What’s the best way to use gouache?

The best way to use gouache is to mix it with water to create a thick, creamy consistency. Gouache can be applied to paper, board, or canvas and dries quickly.

How do I start painting with gouache?

The best way to start painting with gouache is to mix the paint with water to create a thick, creamy consistency. Gouache can be applied to paper, board, or canvas and dries quickly. You can build up color by painting a few layers of gouache on top of each other.

Gouache Painting Techniques

Using gouache can be a very different experience for you if you’re used to oil paint or other mediums.

Gouache can be used to create various effects, depending on how it is applied. You can paint layers of color by allowing the paint to dry between each layer.

Wetting the brush before applying gouache will create a softer, more diffused effect.

Applying gouache with a dry brush is called dry brushing; this will create a more defined line.

Gouache can also be mixed with other media such as ink or collage to create unique effects. Experiment with different techniques to find the ones that best suit your style.

Can you use gouache over watercolor?

Gouache can be used over watercolor, but it will produce a different effect. Gouache is more opaque than watercolor so it will cover up the underlying paint.

How do you seal gouache on canvas?

Gouache can be sealed with a varnish or a UV-resistant spray. Varnish will protect the paint from scratches and UV rays, but it may yellow over time.

Spray sealants are more durable and won’t yellow, but they won’t protect the paint from scratches.

Can gouache be used instead of acrylic?

Gouache can be used instead of acrylic, but it will produce a different effect. Gouache is more opaque than acrylic so it will cover the underlying paint.

Does gouache need to be under glass?

Gouache does not need to be under glass, but it can help protect the paint from UV rays and scratches.

Is hot or cold press better for gouache?

There is no definitive answer to this question. Hot press paper has a smoother surface, which can help create detailed illustrations.

Cold press paper has a more textured surface, which can help create texture in your paintings.

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Hopefully, this blog post will give you an artistic advantage as you start your gouache painting experience!

Now that you know the best paper for gouache and how to prepare your surface, it’s time to begin painting! Experiment with different techniques and find the ones that best suit your style. Gouache is a versatile medium that can be used to create stunning artwork.

Happy painting 🙂

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