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5 Tips For Using Gouache in Your Journal

by Guest Blogger 12 Feb 2021 2 Comments

Hey friends, it’s Missy Briggs from @missybriggs on Instagram. You can also find me at I’m here to demystify gouache paints and show you my top tips for adding gouache to your everyday journal. Gouache paint can be overwhelming because it seems like such a pro art supply. Plus, adding water to your pristine journal is intimidating. Fortunately, the 160 gsm weight of Archer & Olive Journals can withstand a lot of paint.

First, a crash course on gouache! There are two types of gouache sold: acrylic gouache and gouache. Acrylic gouache is not water-soluble—that is you can’t add water and dilute—and acts similarly to acrylic paint. The tips below are about gouache that is water-soluble. Gouache is similar to watercolor paint in that you can mix with water, build up layers to create different effects and allow to dry on your mixing surface and reactivate later with water. The difference between gouache and watercolor is gouache contains more pigment. That makes it more expensive. It also has a matte finish when dry.

Recommended gouache painting supplies:

Remember to use my affiliate code MISSY10 on all your Archer & Olive purchases for a discount!

Top tips for using gouache paint:

1. Use a mixing palette

gouache mixing palette
Gouache paints come in a small tube. It’s important to note that once you squeeze it out onto a mixing palette and it dries, you can later come back and add water with your paintbrush and reactivate it. Don’t throw away the mixing palette! Squeeze out a small amount onto the mixing palette and add a small amount of water to start.

2. Find the right gouache paint consistency

Gouache painting consistency

You can paint with gouache right out of the tube. But it will be thick and possibly crack on your paper when dry. Instead, add water slowly with the paintbrush until the gouache in your mixing palette is the consistency between heavy cream and mustard. That’s a good place to begin! Getting the right consistency takes time and practice. Try out the paint on a scrap piece of paper. If you have added too much water, it’s okay. You can paint multiple layers on the page to build up color.


3. Swatch your gouache paint colors

gouache color mixing chart

When I try a new brand of paint, I always buy the primary colors first and try mixing. If I like the paint, then I can go back and buy more… or continue painting by mixing. Here’s a sample color chart for you to try with primary colors. Swatching your colors on paper allows you to see the exact result when dry. Dry paint is always a different color. I’m adding a free printable so you can print this out on watercolor paper or trace it into your journal.

 Download free color mixing chart 

3. Build up layers of gouache

Build up layers of gouache paint

Using water and pigment sparingly is a good way to test how much paint and water your journal can hold. Laying down a thin layer of paint, allowing to dry and going back to add another will make your paint more opaque.


4. Add color and instantly cover mistakes with gouache

cover spelling mistakes with gouacheThe best part about adding gouache to your journaling supply kit is that you can quickly grab your palette and a paintbrush to add color to your design or cover any errors. It’s so opaque that a thin layer will completely obscure any stray marks or um, misspellings in your journal.

weekly page with gouache paint accent

Take a look at how I fixed this error on my weekly journal page. I think we’ve all been there!


I can’t wait to see you try adding gouache to your journal pages. Reach out and say hi or tag me on Instagram @missybriggs.


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25 Aug 2022 jan barriault

waiting for gouache to be delivered! now i can’t wait to try them!!

08 Jul 2021 jill tooley

Excellent intro ty

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