Reference Library: Gouache
'Gouache' (from the Italian guazzo, "water paint, splash") is a type of paint consisting of pigment suspended in water. Gouache differs from watercolour in that the particles are larger, the ratio of pigment to water is much higher, and the presence of an inert white pigment such as chalk. This makes gouache heavier and more opaque, with greater reflective qualities.
"Guazzo" was originally a term applied to the early 16th century practice of applying oil paint over a tempera base. The term was applied to the watermedia in the 18th century in France, although the technique is considerably older. It was used as early as the 12th century in Islamic art and as early as the 14th century in Europe.
Gouache dries slightly lighter than it appears when wet, which can make it difficult to match colors over multiple painting sessions. This, combined with its quick coverage and total hiding power, mean that gouache lends itself to more immediate techniques than watercolour. "En plein air" paintings take advantage of this, as do works by J.M.W. Turner. Very few artists have painted a substantial number of works in gouache, though many famous artists have painted a small number of gouaches. It is used more constantly for graphic works such as posters, and for other design work.
Most 20th Century animations used it to create an opaque color on a cel with watercolor paint used for backgrounds, and gouache as "poster paint" is desirable for its speed and durability. An example can be seen in Kevin Parratt's work
In addition, noted comics artist Alex Ross uses only gouache for his illustrations.
This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Gouache".