|An older gouache painting using mostly|
Daler Rowney Simply brand with some
help from L&B black and white
Daler Rowney Simply Gouache
As with transparent watercolors, gouache is packaged in tubes and pans, but some brands also offer larger jars of the medium. You can buy colors in sets or open-stock at art shops, and popular web stores like Dick Blick and Jerry's Artarama offer numerous brands. So far, I have only tried Lefranc & Bourgeois (Linel), Daler Rowney and Lukas brands, which I will review below.
|Here is my group shot of all three|
products, which I have reviewed below
Lefranc & Bourgeois Fine Artists Gouache
|pic from Amazon product listing|
Lukas Nerchau Opaque Watercolor Set of 24
According to many fellow artists, Lukas makes high quality oil, acrylic, watercolor, and gouache paints, but I have only used the opaque pan watercolors. They are cheap- I only paid seven bucks for the 24 pan set at Jerry's. As you can guess, they are meant for scholastic use and are not artist-grade; however, that is no reason to pass over these little gems. While they do not lay down truly opaque color like the L&B paints, they layer beautifully, and you can achieve some rather brilliant effects with them. I love the ease and convenience of pan paints, and I have had a lot of fun playing around with the Lukas set.
I made this sketch using mostly Lukas opaque watercolors, along with touches of the L&B white and yellow paints. The pan set comes with a small tube of permanent white for mixing, which is okay, but I had to use the L&B to get those bold white highlights. This is a totally imaginary building, and I had no preliminary sketch first, hence the warped doorway and uninspired architecture. I like the colors, though, and I wanted to show readers how gorgeous these paints look.
Daler Rowney Simply Gouache
I have no art supply or craft stores within 40 miles of my home, and I would have to drive through the main shopping areas in Fayetteville to get to those, so I order most of my supplies online. I can get decent graphite pencils, sketchbooks, and papers from the local Walmart and Office Depot, however. Walmart has mostly Daler Rowney products- all from the cheapo "Simply" line. I like the other DR lines like AquaFine, Georgian, and System 3, but the Simply products are not in the same category as these others. They are cheap and definitely not artist grade, but some items are fine for studies and doodles.
I have a set of Simply tube watercolor and a set of Simply gouache, and it is hard to tell them apart on paper. The color payoff is not bad in most cases, as long as you do not add too much water as the gouache is not really opaque. The upside to this is that they do not dry to a chalky finish like other cheap gouache brands, and they mix well with other paints. However, the Simply paints do not "feel" like real gouache, and I suspect that the company merely thickened their Simply watercolors a tiny bit and then labelled them "gouache". In fact, aside from the writing on the labels, the gouache and watercolor tubes look exactly alike.
One last note on Simply: the burnt umber and burnt sienna tubes exhibit the right shades on the labels, but the paint inside both tubes is the same burnt sienna shade. This anomaly was present in both of my watercolor and gouache tube sets, but my pan watercolor sets from DR do not have the same issue. You can always add some ultramarine or Prussian blue to the burnt sienna shade to create a good approximation of burnt umber. Also, watch out for the "dud" tubes with nasty coagulated paint. I had one in each set, which kinda bummed me out because they were two really useful pigments.
Bottom line: even though the Simply paints are great for the budget, I would not recommend them to artists exploring gouache painting for the first time. I say this because the Simply gouache does not exhibit the properties of a true gouache when it comes to texture and opacity. You cannot get an accurate feel for the medium with this brand. I suggest buying a few colors from a quality line like Lefranc & Bourgeois for a better experience and to save yourself some frustration.