With the popularity of our new Turner Acrylic Gouache paint, a lot of artists have been asking ‘What is Acrylic Gouache?’
Acrylic gouache is opaque, matte acrylic paint. The opacity means it has excellent coverage, the acrylic binder means it is waterproof when dry, so you can overpaint without smearing and the matte finish gives a velvety surface. Like acrylic, it also sticks to many surfaces with great adhesion. It is called gouache because it has a similar look and coverage to traditional gouache, but it is different because it is waterproof after it is dry and traditional gouache is not.
Comparing acrylic paint, traditional gouache and acrylic gouache
- Traditional acrylics are quick-drying, water-mixable and vary in opacity depending on pigment (about half of the colours are transparent) and they usually have a satin finish.
- Traditional gouache is opaque, matte watercolour – so like watercolour it is re-soluble, not water resistant.
- Acrylic Gouache has characteristics of both of these. It is opaque and matte, quick-drying, water-mixable and water resistant once dry (so multiple layers can be over-painted with no bleeding or streaking). It also adheres well to many surfaces.
Turner Acryl Gouache
Turner Acrylic Gouache is a professional quality acrylic gouache with a wide range of 219 colours, making them ideal for illustrative painting and design work. They are made in Japan to the highest specifications. The use of ultra-fine pigments means colours spread out smoothly so wide areas can be covered uniformly with a beautiful opaque matt finish. They are quick drying and water-mixable, yet water resistant once dry. Multiple layers can be over-painted with no bleeding or streaking, they also offer reliable adhesion to a wide variety of surfaces including metal, glass, plastic and wood.
The 219 Turner Acryl Gouache colours available:
Original Colours: A full range of basic and intermediate opaque colours, as well as three mixing colours. The mixing white, magenta and violet are made with lightfast pigments and translucent white for more precise colour mixing. There are over 100 colours in the original range available in 20 ml, 60 colours available in 40 ml and white and black available in 100 ml tubes.
Pastel Colours: Designed to extend the original colour range, these unique light colours are perfect for creating clean, subtle tones in your work.
Greyish Colours: A range of elegant “greyish” pastel colours, perfect for subtle expression. Quiet tones that can be used without making your work too dark or murky.
Japanesque Colours: This selection of beautiful, sophisticated tones are formulated with fine powders which give them a unique slightly gritty, textured matt finish.
Metallic Colours: A series of metallic shades which are slightly more translucent than the regular colours, giving a sense of luminance and depth to your painting.
Pearl Colours: These effect colours have a refined pearlescent lustre. The last 6 pearl colours are “interference” tones which are translucent and will vary in appearance depending on ground colour and viewing angle.
Lamé Colours: This series of colours have sparkly metallic particles suspended in the paint. When painted over a black or dark ground, the colours will shine out. Application with a knife or spatula is recommended.
Lumi Colours: Brilliant fluorescent colours for bold effects, which will illuminate under ultra-violet “black light”. Don’t forget that because of the chemical reaction in all fluorescent colours they will become less bright over time.
Turner Acryl Gouache also make 9 selection sets.
Read our other posts about Turner Acryl Gouache.
Artwork created using the Turner Acryl Colours
Video showing use of Turner Acryl Gouache
The lightfast permanence varies – most of the 219 colours are very permanent or permanent. A few colours have fluorescent pigments and as is the nature of all flourescent pigment they are fugitive – the lumi colours. But oddly there are about 10 other unexpectedly fugitive colours. Check the PDF of the colour chart on our website.
Other Makes of Acrylic Gouache
Jackson’s also stock AV Acrylic Gouache and Lascaux Acrylic Gouache , Liquitex Acrylic Gouache and Holbein Acryla Gouache, each with their own characteristics.
Click on the underlined link to go to the current offer on Turner Acrylic Gouache on the Jackson’s Art Supplies website.
Postage on orders shipped standard to mainland UK addresses is free for orders of £45 or more.
I have recently acquired a set of Acrylic Gouache from you made by Turner. I like them very much and plan to use them for a long time in my work. Is there a size bigger tube than the 20ml? I can see that as time goes by I’m going to need more of certain colours but in particular a white.
We have added the 100ml tube of white to our next order, but we only order a couple of times a year so it will be a while before we have them. We are considering gettng all the colours in the 40ml tube but are waiting to see how well the range sells before we invest in the new stock.
It is great to hear that you like them. If you feel like emailing me some pictures or a link I would love to see the paintings you have been doing with the Turner colours.
sales (at) jacksonsart (dot) co (dot) uk
PLEASE!!!!! Get larger tubes of white. 20ml isn’t going to go very far…. There doesn’t seem to be anywhere else in the UK that stocks Miller Acryl Gouache either!
I believe 100ml tubes of white are on order. They won’t arrive very soon, though.
I have passed on your eagerness to the boss 🙂
might try your little £2 set – how lightfast are the colours?
The lightfast info varies – most colours are very permanent or permanent. A few colours have flourescent pigments and they are fugitive. The obvious ones are the glowing and the lame colours. But oddly there are about 10 other unexpectedly fugitive colours. We have added the lightfastness and pigment info to each colour on our website and we will also make a pdf of the colour chart and upload that soon.
I love these but the 100ml tubes are not available anywhere in the UK, the 20ml and 40ml run out so fast. Please say you are thinking of stocking 100ml colours!!!!!
Right now we do the black and white in the 100ml.
We are considering doing more colours in the large size but have to do a bit of research first so it won’t be very soon.
Glad to hear you like the paint so much!
[…] Read much more about this great paint in this earlier post. […]
I love opacity, the lack of reactivating and the consistency
of acrylic gouache, however, I am doing a painting in black
and white and on their own, the black looks very black and
the white looks very white. When I mix the two though, the
grey they produce looks very blue and is not at all the
effect I wanted to produce. I can get the correct greys
when just using the ‘Winsor Newton’ gouache, though it
reactivates. Are there any other brands of acrylic gouache
I could try to get the right greys?
Yes, I think acrylic gouache is great, too!
The Turner range has a number of blacks, each with a tonal bias. When you make greys with them some will be warm and some will be cool. Mars black is black rust so will be a slightly browner grey and the others will tend towards blue or green. Which black are you using and what type of grey are you after?
Turner also do 3 shades of Neutral Grey (light, medium and dark) that are premixed if that is of any interest:
[…] likes to paint with Acrylic Gouache mix paint on wood panels with the grain showing […]
Just started an acrylic gouache painting on gessoed mdf
board, Once finished can this be varnished with any acrylic
Yes, varnish is fine, it is acrylic paint and is waterproof when dry. Gloss varnish will change the velvety matt finish. Matt varnish might keep the matt quality, but I haven’t tried it.
May I ask if I can mix Traditional Gouache and Acrylic Gouache together?
It would be the same as mixing watercolour with acrylic paint. Traditional gouache is opaque watercolour. Just like watercolour, the traditional gouache is revivable when wetted again and the acrylic gouache isn’t. Acrylic gouache is a type of acrylic paint that looks like gouache, so it is water-resistant when dry (except Lascaux brand which is sort of in the middle of the two). Yes, you can mix them but you will be adding water-resistance to your regular gouache and if you use enough to overwhelm it you will be making the acrylic less water-resistant. Depending on the ratio of the two there might be enough acrylic resin to continue to create water-resitance up to some point where there is more traditional gouache than the resin can absorb.
I hope that helps.
Can Acrylic Gouache be mixed with regular Acrylic
Hi David. Yes it can, it is soft-body, opaque, matt acrylic and can be mixed with gloss and satin acrylics, heavy body and fluid acrylics, and transparent or opaque acrylics.
Can Acrylic Gouache supports high temperatures?
How high do you mean? If you mean a hot day, or a hairdryer, then yes. Heat may speed up the drying of the gouache. But if the paint is literally boiling or burning then it may bubble and significantly impair the gouache’s character/appearance. Essentially, gouache behaves like any other regular acrylic paint.
Would it be a good surface colour under pastels.
It could be, if you like something quite smooth. For a purpose made pastel primer you could try Colourfix primers https://www.jacksonsart.com/search/?q=colourfix+primer – this has much more of a tooth which would hold the pastel colour in place.
Hi! Is this good to use on fabrics too? Thank
Are you thinking for decorating clothing, or a fabric based work of art?
If you fabric needs to move/stretch then it would be best to mix the gouache in with a fabric medium. If the fabric doesn’t need to move/stretch then yes, you can paint with gouache on to fabric.
Here’s the fabric medium you need: https://www.jacksonsart.com/turner-fabric-medium-160ml
Hello, can Acrylic Gouache be mixed with
Liquitex Fabric Medium?
Yes, Liquitex Acrylic Gouache can be mixed with Liquitex Fabric Medium (Liquitex state the medium can be used with all the colours they produce). I would assume you could use any brand of acrylic gouache but it’s not guaranteed, so worth trying a small amount of a different brand if you want to be sure before you start work.
Do you have a Material Safety Data Sheet for
Turner Acryl Gouache? I looked on the sales
page of your store site, but there was no link
that I could find.
Hi Lorraine, I’ve just updated the product page to include the Safety Data Sheet, you can find it at the bottom of this page: https://www.jacksonsart.com/turner-acrylic-gouache
I notice that when painting with Turner
Acrylic Gouache that before painting on
glass a clear liquid was added to the
gouache. Can you tell me what that clear
additive was? Obviously I’m new at using
In the video they paint a layer of glass primer onto the glass before painting with acrylic gouache on top. Turner are very proud of their mediums as they make it possible to paint with permanent results on most any surface.
what is the difference between the white and
the maxing white? 🙂
Turner Acryl Gouache Mixing White is made with Zinc White and is more transparent than their regular white which is made with Titanium White.
Most ranges of paints offer two whites – titanium is more opaque and stronger, zinc is more transparent and weaker. If you wish to mix a colour that is opaque and pale you would use the titanium white, if you wish to keep the transparency of a colour but make it lighter you would choose the zinc white.
Hi I was wondering can this be used as a glaze to subtly change a
Because it is so opaque it is less useful to use as a glaze. Transparent acrylics would perform better as glazes, allowing more of the lower colour to remain visible.
I love the paint! It’s rich and dense like
qouache and I can’t get the same quality
from acrylic even with a super load matt
medium. But, I am experiencing a problem
with this paint not really being waterproof.
I often paint on yupo and dibond. I am
expecting it to be able to count on not
having to put the painting under glass, as
if it was a regular acrylic painting.
can you advise?
Let me do some testing and see if I can advise you on your situation.
I’ll get back to you next week.
I tried three colours of Turner Acryl Gouache (Permanent Red, Jet Black and Aqua Blue) on two types of Yupo (Transparent and Medium) and on our aluminium panels.
I applied each colour in 3 stripes that each had a different amount of water – 1. straight from the tube, 2. 1/4 water, 3. lots of water like a wash.
I waited 4 days to be sure the test was dry and then rubbed a wet brush over the stripes to see if I could disturb them.
The watery washes were not all stable, the blue lifted and the red did a bit.
The results suggest that the reason the paint is so rich and matt is that it has a very high pigment load in relation to the amount of binder. This is good news unless you wish to add loads of water and stretch the binder too far as there isn’t a lot and the pigment may be left unbound.
All acrylics become under-bound with too much water, as they don’t have enough binder to coat the pigment. You can sometimes get away with it on watercolour paper as the fibres can hold onto the pigment.
If you are using it like watercolour then some of the colours may not be bound well enough to be waterproof.
But adding a little less water should allow a stable waterproof surface.
I also tried an application of matt spray varnish over the top and that sealed everything permanently. I used 2 thin coats of Golden MSA spray varnish matt to keep the matt surface finish.
The side effect was a slight darkening of the colours on all three surfaces. Plus it left a texture on the aluminium, where the varnish created an unattractive speckled texture on the unpainted aluminium.
So if you wish to use it washy then you just need to use a spray varnish when it is dry.
I hope that helps.
I must say that this is a detailed answer to the question that I posited to a major acrylic gouache manufacturer, but they didn’t want to answer due to ‘ proprietary ‘ ingredients. I was concerned about binder ratios with the pigment, and it potentially losing its matte/velvet quality with an acrylic binder. Your answer to the previous questioner was exactly the information that I was seeking. Thank you – I am happy I stumbled upon this site.
I’m glad you found it helpful!
I love the look of gouache but have not tried
using it yet. I am considering using Turner
acryl gouache to ‘restore’ a poster on which
several colors have faded badly. But I read
somewhere that dried acrylic gouache may
be too stiff for paper and prone to cracking
(the recommendation was to use water-
based on paper substrate). Is the Turner
product recommended for paper (poster is
about 24×24 inches). Thank you!
I’ve never read about it being too stiff for paper. I have used it on paper that has been loosely rolled up and it has not cracked.
It is water-based acrylic.
It is thick and creamy so it may not blend as well into a poster since they are often on very thin, fragile paper, but you could apply it quite thinly and it would be fine.
Both watercolour and acrylic gouache are matt, so it depends if your poster is glossy.
It will be permanent when dry unlike watercolour, but you probably don’t want to get your poster wet anyway, so watercolour paint should be fine.
Acrylic gouache is also quite opaque, whereas watercolour is often transparent, so the coverage will be different.
Either might work, I would just be careful about using much water in the mix as it will cause your paper to swell in that spot. Use a tiny brush and go slowly and gently.
You might want to read this earlier post about Turner Acrylic Gouache
Looking forward to your answer for the
above question. I too would like to paint on a
panel and not have to frame under glass, so
I’d only be interested in these paints if they
were truly waterproof and durable enough to
be displayed without it.
I tried them a few ways and found that they are stable unless painted in a washy, very thinned way. And if you experiment with some spray varnishes you will be able to get around even that.
If you try them please let me know how they worked for you.
Hi Julie –
Thanks so much for this amazing post! I’ve
been using soft body paints for years and
am now getting back into Turner Acryl
One question – if it’s essentially acrylic
paint (and can be mixed with other acrylic
paints and varnished), how is it so
opaque? I’ve always been on the lookout
for paints that are very opaque with one or
two passes. Is there something particular
about these paints that let them be so
opaque where other ‘acrylic paint’ brands
fall short? Thank you!!!!
There are three things I know of that make an acrylic paint opaque.
1. If the pigment used is opaque. If you are looking for opaque paints the first thing might be to choose the colours in a range that are naturally opaque. This is most of the inorganic colours (mineral colours) like cadmiums, Titanium White and earth colours like Yellow Ochre. You can increase the opacity of a transparent colour by mixing it with an opaque colour. A small amount of titanium white can be added to colours to increase opacity a bit, but any more than that, of course, begins to lighten the colour. You would also avoid the transparent organic pigments like Phthalo Blue. The opacity is always mentioned on the tube, usually in a code of a filled, half-filled or empty circle.
2. Some traditional (gum Arabic-based) gouaches add minerals like chalk to create a physical barrier to light refraction.
3. Some traditional gouaches claim they do not add any chalk, but rather add a very much larger amount of pigment. From experiments I came to the conclusion that that is the case with the Shin Han Pass colours, they claim to be a hybrid between watercolour and traditional gouache. I think they have achieved this by adding loads of pigment so that if you use it from the tube it is opaque and if you add loads of water it is transparent.
I have done tests with the Turner Acryl Gouache and found that if it is really diluted to a watery wash, then it doesn’t have enough binder left to be waterproof, it is stretched too thin. Although this is the case with all acrylics it seems it is even more so with the Turner. This led me to think that perhaps the Turner Acryl Gouache is super-loaded with pigment in relation to the amount of acrylic binder. I am doing more tests while in isolation to see if I am right. I will be comparing the dilution of 4 kinds of acrylic – heavy body, fluid, ink and acryl gouache acrylics – to see when they stop being waterproof.
Schmincke make an Opaque Medium to be added to acrylic paint. I don’t know what it contains.
Hope that is helpful.
Hi Julie! Thanks so much for the
reply. I’m definitely with you
regarding the pigment of the Turner
Acryl Gouache line. I’ve done a lot of
work with Liquitex (soft body, heavy
body, and their ‘acrylic gouache), as
well as Novacolor paints. And the
Turner series is hands-down the most
opaque out of the the tube! A
downside to that is that while I can
mix up batches of liquitex paints and
store them for later, I’m not sure how
I will do that with Turner. It takes
such little paint that I would probably
need a thimble-sized jar to store a
custom mixture! 🙂
That’s good to hear!
We do some tiny pots if that would be of any use to you.
33ml Plastic Pot
15ml Aluminium Jar
Set of 12 Small Storage Cups
3.5ml flip top pot
Flip top pots in a set of 12
The opacity test is misleading, since you
used a tint( blue plus white) in the Turner AG
and used pure ultrmarine blue for the acrylic
paint. I guess I’ll have to do my own test.
White wasn’t added. If you look at the photo you can see on the far right that the colour was squeezed out of the tube that colour.
I can see how it might seem that way at first glance, as they are not identical blues that are being compared, but the opacity of the Turner Acrylic Gouache is accurate. Apologies for causing confusion.
Can I use a retarder with acrylic gouache?
I’m wondering whether these paints’ high
coverage and intensity will allow a wet-in-
Acrylic gouache is like standard acrylic except it is matt and opaque. So it will work fine with retarder. If you are concerned that the opacity won’t work with wet-in-wet painting, it sounds like you might be used to using transparent colours, so this would be different. But yes, you can use it wet-in-wet.
You’ve mentioned sets in the article, but
I am struggling to find them on the
website (a link could be helpful?).
I’m looking for the ‘greyish’ set…
Thanks for the suggestion, I will add some links to the article.
There are 6 greyish colours in the Turner Acrylc Gouache range and 5 Japanesque Greyish colours which are the ones that have a gritty texture.
I don’t think any of the Turner Acrylic Gouache Sets has the greyish colours in them.
What are the best brushes to use with
this paint? I was recommended
Princeton heritage synthetic brushes.
These are creamy acrylic paints.
Any brush that you would use to paint with acrylics would work.
Could you do a art comparison between all
the brands? Transparency, layering etc. It
would be very helpful for us deciding
which brand to buy.
Thanks for the suggestion Paul, we’ll see what we can do!
Hi, can you tell me if this paint has a
similar odour to traditional gouache
I tried some gouache recently and could
not believe the smell!
Which gouache had an odour? It should smell of nothing, like watercolour.
Joan, you might have been thinking of egg
tempera. My Sennelier ones are fairly whiffy,
it’s an interesting sort of smell but okay in a
reasonably ventilated room.
That’s a good thought, thank you Steve.
I found that they have a little odor.
Not very bad. I bought my set last
year in the summer 2020 and I am
just noticing the smell. I dont think
they are expired but there is a
smell. When its dry, and I smell the
paper I can smell it but otherwise I
can’t really tell.
I’ve used traditional gouache for many
years and recently tried some acrylic
gouache by Liquitex and Turner, both of
which I love. But I missed whenever these
new acrylic versions first came to market.
Any idea which year and by whom?
Wikipedia no help for once.
The earliest example I could find of a painting that says it was made with acrylic gouache is 1994, but that could have been retroactively labelled. In 2003 the brand Jo Sonja claimed to be the only “professional quality acrylic gouache”. I have a vague memory that maybe Holbein Acryla was around before then and it was the benchmark for years. But there had been creamy, opaque, matt acrylic paints for years, they were just called folk paints or craft paints. So I think it might be a change to the naming convention of this type of paint. Since 2004 or so more brands have been producing this type of paint and calling it acrylic gouache.
Thanks very much for looking into it
Julie, that was a very interesting and
I dug around on the Wayback
Machine and found Jackson’s selling
AV acrylic gouache in 2005. Turner
acrylic gouache seems to have come
onto the website in 2011 and Holbein
acrylic gouache more recently in
I’m planning treating myself to one of
the larger sets by Turner or Holbein, I
haven’t decided yet. Is there a
problem with restocking the Turner
sets from Japan at the moment, or is
there just less demand? If it’s to be a
long wait I’ll settle for Holbein.
Hi again Steve
The website says all the Turner sets are due with us in 2 week’s time.
Yes, we started stocking the Holbein rather recently, because we were happy with stocking the Turner instead. The Holbein is very well known and people kept requesting it, so we added it. If you use both I’d love to hear your thoughts on any difference.
Hi again Julie,
I’ve just purchased the
Yusuke Nakamura set
which is now showing ‘out
of stock’. Also a few
Holbein colours and some
single Turner Japanesque
tubes as I like their off-
piste shades. So plenty of
trying out to do when they
arrive. I’ll keep you posted
but I’m sure I’ll love them
you asked for my thoughts
regards the Holbein vs
Turner acrylic gouaches.
Well it’s a horses for
courses answer. The
Turners have great novelty
with their odd colours
which often combine
opalescent, metallic, and
(especially the Japanesque
ones). The Holbein paints
are more like traditional
gouache; very flat dense,
and therefore more
reproduceable if you’re
going to be photographing
them for prints or books.
So for me being a
commercial artist it’s the
Holbeins. I also have some
Liquitex which are up there
with the Holbeins and
come in bigger pots, but
without the large colour
range of Holbein.
My own strategy therefore
is to get a bunch of each as
the need arises!
Thank you Steve for sharing your knowledge and experience of these paints.
Thanks for taking the time to come back, Steve.
That’s great to know!
I’m pretty sure that Holbein was marketing an “acryla gouache” decades before others were (at least in the USA).
Thanks, that’s good to know.
is there a glaze medium to use with this
Any acrylic glaze medium or fluid acrylic medium would work.
They are very opaque, so not particularly designed for glazes, but if you dilute them enough you could create a glaze.
I have never used these before but I am
intrigued as I’ve been looking for opaque
matte acrylics with a consistent sheen
between colors. I was just wondering
what the best surface to use these on
would be and if these require a varnish
or top coat of any kind after a painting is
complete? Many thanks.
They can be used on the same surfaces as any acrylic paint.
Varnish isn’t strictly necessary but will protect the painting and allow it be cleaned more easily.
If you choose a matt varnish it will remain matt.
When using regular acrylics you can also apply a final varnish to control the sheen so it is unified.
Hi, can i mix Turner Acryl gouache with
“liquitex soft body acrylic (Titanium white)”
instead of using
Turner’s Acryl gouache color “white”?
The consistencies of the two paints may vary but there is no reason not to mix liquitex soft body white with Turner Acryl gouache colours.
I have been looking everywhere for an
answer. I want to know if you can store
custom color mixes with this type of medium
w/o it drying out. I don’t like to waste paint
and I quite like the mixes I use. (I currently
have Liquitex Acrylic Gouache)
You could make it work so long as you keep the paint moist. It is acrylic and so it dries very quickly. I have made custom mixes and kept them in jars and small plastic containers. But even with a lot of added water they can dry out because a small amount of air will get in and the water will slowly evaporate, so after a few months you need to add more water. If you open the containers and spray some water in regularly, it should work. If you use a lot of water and it is tap water, you may overwhelm the anti-fungal ingredient in acrylic paint and the mix could get a bit smelly, but that is usually only when the mix has more water than paint, when it is very watery. To avoid this use just enough water to keep the paint moist or use distilled water.
[…] gouache is actually acrylic paint characterized by opaque and matte features. These features provide excellent coverage, as well as waterproof characteristics once the […]
Is there a brand of cleaning solution
which you could recommend?
Water and a soft cloth will usually be enough.
Hope your day is treating you well.
I’ve just started painting with Holbein Acrylic
Gouache, I’m a little unsure what paper to go
for. I was thinking of purchasing hot pressed
cotton 300gram pads, my paintings use a lot
of outlining and filling in with block vibrant
colours. I’m mainly doing a lot of matte
finishes, I rarely do light washes or blend
colours. Do you have any recommendations
on which paper may suit my style.
Hi Shane! I’m well thanks, hope you are, too.
It sounds like any of the 300gsm or heavier, all cotton, hot pressed papers would work for you. But you will only find a favourite after trying a few. Have fun trying the different ones!
Hot pressed cotton paper