As a mixed media artist, I’m always on the lookout for new products that do awesome things. While my primary medium is colored pencil, painting was my first love and is still something I enjoy doing today. I first tried Liquitex Acrylic Gouache in an Artsnacks box back in November of 2018. I’ve been a fan of Liquitex for a while so I wasn’t shocked when I tried out this product and was immediately on board. Like any product review however it’s not just enough to say you like it, I want to give you a more in-depth explanation on why and also the areas I believe they can improve in as well. Let’s dive in!
The opinions expressed in this blogpost are my own and I have not been paid to give a favorable review. I, like many of you, rely on the reviews and feedback of people I respect and trust and there is no value to me to provide a review that is misleading or coerced. Please do however feel free to try this product for yourself and form your own opinions, as every artist will have slightly different preferences.
WHAT IS GOUACHE?
My first experience with gouache was in art college and, to be honest, I didn’t even know how to pronounce it let alone what the heck it was! So before we get into this review let’s talk about those two things.
The North American way to pronounce the word is like “goo-aash” with a soft g. ( I say it like “gwash”) Here’s a YouTube video that pronounces it out loud LISTEN
Gouache is often compared to watercolor which is its most comparable medium. Both watercolor and gouache are made up of a water-soluble binder and pigment that allows reworking even after it has dried. The main difference between the two is that gouache is more opaque and matte than watercolor. That said, gouache can be used much like watercolor in thin washes but the appeal of using it would more likely be to take advantage of its opaqueness.
Acrylic gouache differs in the sense that the layers applied are not reworkable when dry so in that sense it acts more like acrylic paint. Basically, you still have the opaque and matte finish of gouache with the permanent and waterproof benefits of acrylic paint.
LIQUITEX ACRYLIC GOUACHE FEATURES:
- Smooth & Fluid
- No Brush Strokes
- Matte Finish
- No Need to Dilute
- Opaque / Semi-opaque
- Permanent When Dry
- Available in 50 Colours
The packaging for this product is pretty straightforward. The 59 ml containers are a much larger size than you would purchase a normal-sized tube of gouache at which is usually around 12 ml or sometimes smaller. The price per bottle varies based on the color but in Canadian Dollars run between roughly $11.99 – 19.99 depending on where you purchase them. They are typically displayed in a rack in-store where you are able to purchase singular colors. An essentials kit is also available with twelve 22 ml-sized bottles for roughly $84.99 Canadian. I started with this kit initially and then branched out to buying the larger-sized bottle to get the colors that I wanted.
The label contains all of the important information on the product including color name, pigment, lightfast, and opaqueness information. This appears in English, French, and Spanish. I’m always a big fan of art supply companies providing information in other languages on their product and I imagine there is a cost-saving from a production perspective to not have to make special labels for countries that have high populations that speak those three languages.
The lid has the Liquitex Professional logo embossed on the top and houses the nozzle the paint comes out of underneath. When you purchase this paint brand new there is a seal over the top of the opening which you need to remove before paint will flow out. The flow comes out pretty good and we would err on the side of starting with less than pouring yourself a large amount at first. Because of the opaque qualities of this product, you don’t need as much to get full coverage as you would with acrylic paint.
TIP: When you start to run low on a certain color store it upside down so you don’t have to wait for the paint to come to the top. You can also remove the nozzle and dip your brush inside the container once it is nearing the end. I like this feature unlike a traditional tube because you can really get all of the pigment out easily without having to cut the tube and scrape it out.
I would highly recommend when purchasing these open stock in-store to check to make sure that seal is intact. Whether through issues at the factory level, in transit, or due to other customers opening them, you want to make sure that air has not been exposed to the paint. This can be an issue if the product sits on the shelf for months and months, and without the black lid/nozzle properly sealing the paint. When I purchased the essentials set one of the colors appeared to have been exposed to air at the factory level since when I opened it the paint was not completely dry but definitely a thicker texture. It’s still useable but I need to add a bit of water to it and it doesn’t have the fluid and creamy consistency it should have.
Another word of warning is that this paint tends to kind of explode out of the top when you open the seal. In other words, don’t open them on a surface you don’t want to get paint on, and expect to get some on your fingers. Every single bottle I opened apart from the one did this. Not exactly my favorite aspect of this product because I really hate wasting paint, especially when it’s expensive. I know it likely has to do with changing temperatures and air pressure in transit but, either way, be careful when opening these.
TEXTURE & FINISH
I absolutely love the feel and finish of this product. The paint is creamy and smooth and doesn’t need watering down until that is the look you are trying to achieve with it. Some colors are definitely more opaque than others so they may require, more layers for full coverage. Generally speaking, though coverage isn’t an issue. Each color is labeled on the bottle as to whether it is opaque or semi-opaque. I would recommend doing some tests or even creating a color chart for yourself before you create a piece to get a handle on this ahead of time.
A couple things to note about this product is that while for the most part brush strokes don’t show, in thicker or uneven applications you will see evidence of the brush or at least the uneven application of the paint. Otherwise, the claim the company makes on this is true in my experience. I also have not experienced any cracking of the paint on any of my pieces which is a great feature as well. I’ve included a couple more examples from my Foodlustrations series below to show the vibrancy of the colors and finish.
People who live in drier climates do have to work quickly with this product as I find it dries quite quickly. This is also another reason to not put too much on a palette initially. It’s important to smooth out your paint layers right away because if you think you can come back to it even a couple minutes later it might be too late and may be already partially drying. This can lead to splotching or uneven surface applications.
MIXED MEDIA COMPATIBILITY
Liquitex markets its products as intermixable, essentially meaning that products across their catalog can be successfully paired or mixed with one another. For more information on that, I would recommend reading about it on their website HERE
For my purposes, I’m more interested in how this medium will pair with an ink pen or markers. In a few of my pieces from my Travel Thru Art Series I tested this out with Faber-Castell Artist PITT pens. My goal was to see how the pens performed over top of the dried paint. In my more illustrative pieces, I like to use this method often but have found with acrylic paint that the pens often don’t seem to perform consistently. On this surface, however, I didn’t have any issues and the flow was smooth and consistent. In my opinion, this has to do with the matte finish of the paint giving the pens a better surface to perform on.
PRO’S AND CONS OVERVIEW
Overall, I really like this product and would recommend it to anyone who wants this hybrid of gouache and acrylic paint for their work. For me, the main selling points of this product are definitely the fact that it’s opaque, matte and that your layers don’t lift when they are dry.
As with any product, there is always room for some improvement so let’s look at a quick recap:
– matte and flat finish with minimal to no brush strokes
– no need to dilute out of the bottle
– intermixable with other Liquitex products
– great opaqueness
– similar clean up to using acrylic paint (soap and water)
– layers are permanent and waterproof when dry
– less expensive per bottle compared to a designer’s gouache
– easy to use all of the paint to the last drop with an easily accessible container
– price per container might be pricey for some and varies by color
– initially, the opening of the seal on the bottle can be messy
– dries very quickly, especially in drier climates
– not all colors have the same level of opaqueness
For more information on Liquitex Acrylic Gouache visit the LIQUITEX WEBSITE