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Old 01-23-2009, 04:13 AM
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maggie latham maggie latham is offline
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Question Discussion: Gouache BRAND COMPARISON

Hello everyone,

Following on from a thread I posted on earlier this week where W&N gouache was getting a blasting, I posted my thoughts and advocacy for W&N products.

However this has gotten me thinking about the real differences between the brands in permanence of pigment, consistency, application etc....and the real difference in price.

Always one to be fair (and in my never ending quest to understand the nuances of different brands of paint) thought I would start this thread to open up a discussion on different brands of gouache from real life experiences with different products.

I have tried other brands in the past, but have an ample supply of W&N at the moment so will not be able to conduct a study of the nuances of different brands myself right now.

If you have any comparison charts, real life experiences or other information sites please post them here.

Maggie
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Old 01-24-2009, 08:49 AM
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Richard Saylor Richard Saylor is offline
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Re: Discussion: Gouache BRAND COMPARISON

W&N has a high concentration of pigment. In fact, they seem to cram as much pigment into the paint as practically possible. I like that, but it does make for differences in behavior from one color to another, since some pigments are more easily incorporated into the water-binder base than others. My main gripe with W&N is their attitude that gouache is basically a medium for designers who wish to have an easy to manage paint to color their dress patterns, kitchen alcove designs, automobile illustrations, or whatever. It is clear from W&N's web site that they are aware of the fine arts usage of gouache, but that's just words, and actions speak louder than words. Pigment information printed on their gouache tubes would be a big step in the right direction.

I use mostly Da Vinci gouache, because I like that fairly recent movie The Da Vinci Code about the Holy Grail. No, actually I liked Monty Python's Holy Grail better. Excalibur was pretty good too, and that Indiana Jones one about finding the Grail.

Richard in NC
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Old 01-24-2009, 10:11 AM
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maggie latham maggie latham is offline
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Re: Discussion: Gouache BRAND COMPARISON

Richard,

You are a hoot!

Thanks for posting your opinion and info.

Maggie
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Old 01-24-2009, 03:43 PM
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Re: Discussion: Gouache BRAND COMPARISON

Maggie, I can't help you with a comparison as regards brands. I only started using gouache very occasionally a few years ago when my friend's mother died and she passed on some of her Winsor and Newton gouache tubes. These must now be many years old - some have dried up in the tubes and some are still usable (i.e. soft enough to be squeezed onto the palette). Since then I have added to the collection with different colours, but these are Daler & Rowney (the only ones I could find locally at the time).

I'm still very much at the experimental stage with gouache - I can't get out of that "watercolour" mindset, but I'm working on it. One of my Christmas presents was a video of American gouache artist Carla O'Connor -very inspiring.

I have only just noticed your Techniques in Watercolour tutorial - I will definitely have to study that in due course.

Keep up the good work!
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Old 01-25-2009, 10:34 AM
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Re: Discussion: Gouache BRAND COMPARISON

If you're evaluating gouache, don't just assume that the label of "designer" means it's poor quality, or that it means it's made with dye pigment, extra filler, or tinted with white, although that's often true. Holbein uses the word to identify sets made to Munsell system colors. Others like Turner or Lukas designer gouaches are very good quality paints. LeFranc has a gouache that used to be labeled designer but now is called "fine" (their "Linel" gouache is a better grade.) Reeves is rather low quality and only use the label "gouache." Essentially, that all means the paint quality for gouache varies wildly. Even with the paints that have high pigment load, you may like others better in terms of handling, so you should test out various brands.

What I like about DaVinci gouache is it's a good quality paint in a tube that's larger in size than most others at roughly the same price. That's a good deal.

Others I give top marks to mainly for treating the medium as a professional artist's grade paint are Schmincke Horadam and M.Graham. Others I like are Holbein, Lukas, and Turner. A brand I've been meaning to test out is Maimeri, since I like their oils. Talens, Sennelier, or Pebeo T7 I'd be interested in too, if I could find them.

There's quite a bit to be said about being easily available and nobody is better stocked around the globe than W&N. That makes it handy if you need a color in a pinch, unfortunately that also means most people use their paints than other brands, and quite frankly it's not the best there is, or hasn't been in my opinion. They seem to be making improvements to their line with colors that are being modified or discontinued. You can get a full listing here at their website.
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Old 01-25-2009, 02:59 PM
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Re: Discussion: Gouache BRAND COMPARISON

This is a very interesting thread. Thanks.
Carol
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Old 01-25-2009, 04:52 PM
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Re: Discussion: Gouache BRAND COMPARISON

Sonia, thanks for your comments. I must look into that video. BTW there is a homework thread with lots more info and members paintings attached to the wet in wet thread.

David, this is great info from someone who knows gouache. Thanks. I will definitely have to try out some different brands to see for myself how they compare. It’s funny how you get used to the nuances of one brand….but I am always up for learning about different products.

Carol, hello…this is what I love so much about WC ………..It’s such a great place for learning about art products and techniques by tried and tested artists.

Maggie
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Old 01-26-2009, 04:44 AM
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Re: Discussion: Gouache BRAND COMPARISON

Holbein Acryla Gouache is pretty nice stuff. It uses an acrylic-type binder which make it water resistant after it dries. The matte finish is very gouache-like. I haven't painted with it in years, but here's an old one. It's not a Hobbit hole, but I did steal the idea of the round door from LOTR. It's Mrs. Underhill's dwelling. She's sort of a witch, not a Hobbit.

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Old 01-26-2009, 03:11 PM
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Re: Discussion: Gouache BRAND COMPARISON

Maggie,
I have been experimenting with using gouache in the manner of Sonia's great tutorial "The Ink Resist Technique". I started using WN Designer and then as an attempt at economy I bought a few replacement tubes of DaVinci.
The DaVinci literally "Paled by comparison". WN brand leaves behind beautifully stained colors after being scrubbed/washed back while DaVinci left behind almost nothing. This non-staining quality of DaVinci might be desirable in some applications but not for the resist technique.
Just my two cents.
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Old 01-26-2009, 05:15 PM
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Re: Discussion: Gouache BRAND COMPARISON

I'm delighted to find this discussion and I wish I had more to offer, but as a rank beginner I'm pretty much on a steep learning curve right now.

I started with some very cheap pan Grumbacher gouache that seems pretty wimpy--not much pigment to it, IMHO. It came with a tube of Chinese white that added only a little opacity to the colors. Clearly this set is made to attact the beginner, which worked on me.

I recently got some M. Grahams and I love the rich consistency and deep colors (compared to the above, at least, which isn't far to go.) It really is a bit like honey, which it has in it, I understand. A huge step up for me.

I'll be keeping my eyes open for more here. Thanks for starting it, Maggie!

Deborah
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Old 01-27-2009, 07:32 AM
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Re: Discussion: Gouache BRAND COMPARISON

My own familiarity with gouache is of the airbrush kind, but I know it is a unique and sensitive medium. At the time when I was brush painting with it, I had not the skill or experience to benefit from it's remarkable properties. I have a great deal of respect for the Windsor Newton company- their standards and products are among the best in the world. There is a far greater variety of individual working styles than could ever be accommodated by any or all manufacturers. When it comes to materials and methods, my philosophy is to try it all.
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Old 02-01-2009, 01:37 PM
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Re: Discussion: Gouache BRAND COMPARISON

I love Winsor Newton gouache, and when they recently updated the line to include better permanence and an expanded line of artist-grade pigments, I was thrilled to bits.

I agree that the DaVinci gouache is a good value, however, that it so because it is so much lower in pigment. Much lower. Not even close. Winsor Newton gives me much more bang in my paint, and in gouache you need that if you're using it as an opaque medium.

I've not tried the Holbein gouache, but I'm about to order a few tubes because I like their watercolors, and they are currently lower in price than the equivalent Winsor Newton tubes. I'll report back....

Although Graham paints generally get high marks, because of the honey in their watercolor/gouache binder, I don't use them. As a plein air painter, that means more bees and bugs flocking to my paints as I work. Never a good thing!

Jamie
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Old 02-03-2009, 04:45 PM
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maggie latham maggie latham is offline
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Re: Discussion: Gouache BRAND COMPARISON

Hello everyone,

I am so glad that W&N gouache is getting some good ranking here

It is great to hear all your experiences with different brands. Keep them coming, please!

Maggie
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Old 07-15-2009, 12:40 AM
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Re: Discussion: Gouache BRAND COMPARISON

I hope someone will report back with an update on Gouache brand comparisons. I am getting into gouache and have a few tubes of W&N and a few of Lukas which both seem good to me. I am primarily using the gouache with watercolor or to enhance my watercolor paintings. I need to buy some more tubes but W&N is very expensive. I would like to know if anyone out there likes Holbein or Schmincke too.
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Old 07-15-2009, 06:47 AM
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Re: Discussion: Gouache BRAND COMPARISON

Shari, I have used the Holbein, but my favorite is Winsor Newton. I feel it is the most pigment-packed!

Jamie
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