17 gouache painting ideas
Looking for inspiration for your next painting project? Explore these beautiful gouache painting ideas to try at home
Gouache paints are very popular with artists and illustrators and can be used to create beautiful paintings.
Gouache paints are opaque and have a flat look when they dry, so they instantly look like illustrations and have a striking graphical look. Gouache is a very forgiving medium, so it's ideal for beginners to try. They're not too expensive and you can find gouache paint sets in most art shops.
Like watercolour paints, they're water soluble and dry out fairly quickly. Once the first layer is dry, you can paint over the top. These paints can also be used alongside traditional watercolours. They're particularly useful for when you want to add white highlights to a watercolour painting – it's often more effective than using white watercolour paint.
If you're struggling to come up with gouache painting ideas then look no further – we've found lots beginner gouache painting ideas as well as projects for more experienced painters. You could always use these simple gouache painting ideas as a starting point for your own artwork.
If you'd like to learn more about gouache painting, take a look at our best gouache paint set guide and our beginner's guide to gouache. Looking for more painting inspiration? Explore our watercolor painting ideas and acrylic painting ideas for more painting projects to try.
Read on to discover our favourite gouache painting ideas to try…
Featured image by Becki Clark.
Beginner gouache painting ideas
1. Gouache landscapes
Gouache paints can be used to create striking landscape art. In this YouTube tutorial, Jess Chung shows you how to paint a beautiful gouache scene, from painting the sky to building up your own forest scene. We love the dreamy colours she's chosen for the sky.
2. Cloudy night sky
Painting the night sky is a lot easier than you might think! This easy gouache painting idea by Journal Away is an ideal painting project for beginners who want to try out gouache painting techniques.
3. Be kind poster
This fun gouache painting tutorial by Alys Paterson is a great introduction to working with colours and patterns. She's chosen the words "be kind", but you could create your own saying or slogan and decorate it with your own designs.
4. Still life
Create your own still life scene and paint it in gouache. This fantastic painting by illustrator Jessica Smith (@jessica_smith_illustration on Instagram) shows what's possible. Experiment with different colour palettes to see what works for you! Jessica has also written her own gouache painting book, which is packed with great tips and advice. Buy Get Up and Gouache by Jessica Smith from Amazon for £9.48
5. Travel scene
If you looking for beginner gouache painting ideas, it can be fun to recreate a favourite memory of a trip or a place you love. This travel scene in coloured pencil and gouache was created by illustrator Viktorija Semjonova (@vikorijaillustration on Instagram). If you want to learn how to paint like Viktorija you're in luck – she's written a book! Buy The Art of Gouache by Viktorija Semjonova from Amazon for £11.45.
6. Butterfly wall art
Fond of butterflies? This stunning butterfly art project created by Alys Paterson is perfect if you're looking for beginner gouache painting ideas. You can adjust the colours to match the room you'd like to display it in. This gouache painting project is easy enough for kids to try too.
7. Cloudy skies
We love these dreamy gouache clouds painted by Canadian artist Dory (@bigbluetang on Instagram). She has some great videos on her Instagram feed which show how she builds up her paintings one layer at a time – with incredible results. If you love her work, you can buy prints and stationery on her website colordrunk.co.
8. Self portrait
Experiment with a more graphical style and learn how to paint a self portrait using gouache paint. Illustrator Esther Curtis will guide you through the process step by step and you'll soon have your own unique piece of art to display in your home.
9. Gouache flowers
Gouache flowers can be stunning and they're so simple to paint! Discover how to paint gouache flowers with illustrator, author and designer Becki Clark.
10. Gouache foliage
Foliage can be used in all kinds of gouache art. In this useful video tutorial on the Visual Mind channel, you'll learn how to create some beautiful paintings featuring colourful gouache foliage.
11. Create your own palette
Experimenting with a colour palette can help you to create amazing gouache paintings, as Delphine Doreau has done below. Delphine has some great tips for working with gouache paints over on her website: ddoreau.com.
12. Mini Midwinter botanicals
We're big fans of Shayda Campbell's beautiful botanical painting tutorials on YouTube and these gorgeous designs are no exception. Learn how to paint your own lovely Midwinter botanicals with Shayda's expert guidance.
13. Layered colours and shapes
Try painting onto coloured paper for striking results! You can also cut out your designs and piece them together – this is great if you're not sure how you'd like to arrange your picture. You can move all of the different elements around and stick them down once you're happy with the arrangement. Find more tips on the thinkmakeshare.com blog.
14. Fill a shape with patterns
Simply gouache painting ideas don't come easier than this! Paint a circle in gouache on your paper, wait for it to dry then fill it with flowers or your choice of patterns. This creative technique was used by illustrator @spicingcolours – you can find lots of beautiful pictures on her Instagram to inspire you.
15. Monochrome painting
Sometimes it's good to shake things up and try something new. Watercolour paints and gouache work extremely well together – and this monochrome painting project by Esther Curtis shows just how effective combining two mediums can be.
16. Field of flowers
Isn't this pretty? This beautiful project by Jess Chung is a lot easier than you might think and you're bound to be pleased with your finished painting.
17. Illustrative landscapes
You don't have to stick to realistic colours when you're painting a landscape! You can experiment with bright colours and create something truly unique. In this gouache video tutorial, the talented Visual Mind shows you how to make your own illustrative gouache landscape.
We hope you enjoyed these gouache painting ideas! Gouache is a very inspiring medium and we hope you have fun creating your own brilliant gouache designs.
Sarah Orme is a UK-based linocut printmaker, digital editor, feature writer and award-winning podcaster. She's been editing the sewing and art sections of Gathered.how – and before that our sister website calmmoment.com – for over 3 years. She’s the host of Gathered’s We’ve Made It podcast and A Calmer Life podcast. She’s a keen crafter and artist and loves creating DIY tutorials for Gathered. Sarah has previously written features for The Guardian, In The Moment Magazine, Project Calm Magazine, countryfile.com, radiotimes.com and yourhomestyle.uk. She enjoys designing her own unique lino prints and dreams of opening her own online shop. She shares her work @sarahormeprints