Pantomime, by Mabel Lucie Attwell, 1913
The way for all, by Alfred France, 1911
This is a type of paint consisting of pigment suspended in water however it is different because the particles are larger, the ratio of pigment to water is much higher, and there is also a white pigment such as chalk present. Like all water media, it is diluted with water but like watercolor has a binding agent called Gum Arabic. This agent makes gouache heavier and more opaque, with greater reflective qualities.
Gouache comes from an Italian word a “guazzo,”
and is preferred by art historians. It means water paint or splash and 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 water media in the 18th century in France, although the technique is significantly older. It was used as early as the 14th century in Europe.
Gouache generally dries to a different value than it appears when wet the lighter tones usually dry darker, while darker tones are prone to dry lighter. This 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 direct techniques than watercolor. It is used most by commercial artists for works such as comics, posters, illustrations, and for other design work.