Casein paint vs Gouache: What’s the Difference?

Randy Charles
Professional Painter

Randy Charles is the owner of, a website dedicated to providing information, tips, tricks, and news about all things paint. With over 10 years...Read more

Casein paint is made from milk protein and is known for being water-soluble, matte, and quick-drying. Conversely, Gouache is an opaque watercolour using pigment and a binding agent like gum Arabic. It has a bright hue and can be reactivated with water after drying.

Casein paint allows layering and dries without needing fixing agents. It also offers excellent coverage and won’t crack or yellow over time. Gouache is versatile and can be used for blending, wet-on-wet, dry brush strokes, and more. It’s also excellent at creating flat colours due to its opacity.

One downside of casein paint is its limited colour range. However, some brands use synthetic pigments to expand their palette. So, get ready to milk your creativity with casein paint!

Understand the Casein Paint

To understand Casein paint’s properties, uses, and advantages over other mediums, you must explore its details. What is Casein’s painting, and what makes it unique compared to other mediums? By understanding its properties, you’ll know what types of surfaces are most compatible with this paint. Additionally, we will explore the various uses of casein colour to better understand and appreciate its flexibility and versatility as an art medium.

What is Casein Paint?

Casein Paint
Casein paint

Casein paint is a unique type made from Casein, a protein found in milk. Unlike others, it is water-soluble and dries fast with a matte finish. It dates back to ancient Egypt and was often used by the Old Masters. Nowadays, artists prefer it for its texture and luminous quality.

To make the paint, Casein is blended with water and pigment for a creamy texture that can be applied to canvas or paper. It dries quickly due to its water-soluble nature, forming a durable surface that won’t crack.

Plus, it can be reactivated with water – even after it’s dried – letting painters make corrections months or years later. Vincent van Gogh used it in some of his works! Casein paint is unique – it can transform any surface into a masterpiece.

Properties of Casein Paint

Casein Paint has unique properties – it’s made from a protein in milk, fast-drying, and matte-finish. Here’s a summary of its properties:

Properties Description
Colour It can be mixed with many pigments
Opacity Opaque or semi-transparent
Texture Brush strokes show texture
Drying Time Fast compared to other paint types
Durability Waterproof and long-lasting

Casein Paint has excellent depth and bright colours that last. Its adhesion qualities make it great for wood or canvas. The Egyptians used it in ancient times, and the Greeks for frescoes.

In short, Casein Paint gives an excellent overview of colour shades, longevity, and art-making history. It’ll make your colours pop like a newly opened can of soda!

Uses of Casein Paint

Casein Paint is a popular choice among artists and designers. It has a natural matte finish and dries quickly, making it a great alternative to oil or acrylic paints. Check out the table for its versatile uses!

Here are some of its uses:

Mediums Uses
Fine art It can create paintings on canvas, paper, or board.
Decorative painting Perfect for walls, woodwork, or furniture.
Illustration Perfect for books and magazines.
Screen printing Use it as ink on fabric or paper.

Not just that, Casein paint can also be used as a binder in making traditional tempera paint. Mix it with pigment powders to create vibrant and lightfast colours!

Fun fact: Casein Paint was widely used by commercial illustrators in the early 20th century before being replaced by more modern mediums like Gouache and acrylics. Now you know why you should say ‘Gouache, please!’ when it comes to opaque watercolour paints.

Briefly introduction of Gouache Paint

Gouache Paint
Gouache paint

We will briefly introduce the sub-sections to understand Gouache paint with its properties and uses. Gouache paint is a watercolour-based material best known for its ability to display opaque colours and textures. In this section, we’ll explore what Gouache paint is all about, the properties that make it distinct from other paints, and the various uses that make it an attractive medium for budding and professional artists.

What is Gouache Paint?

Gouache paint is an opaque watercolour that dries to a matte finish. It contains pigment, binder, and an added agent, which makes it creamy. Unlike traditional watercolours, it can be layered without bleeding or becoming transparent. It can be adjusted with water for different techniques.

Gouache is great for covering mistakes, and it’s possible to get finer details and precise lines due to its opacity. Light colours on darker backgrounds are more visible because of the opaqueness.

Did you know that Gouache has been used since ancient times? Masters like Matisse and Klee made it popular with their artworks. I once attended an art exhibition where I was amazed by the use of Gouache. The artist had layered multiple colours with different patterns to create dynamic art pieces.

Be warned: Gouache can appear opaque or translucent depending on its use.

Properties of Gouache Paint

Gouache Paint: Composition & Characteristics

Gouache paint is essential to artists seeking a versatile approach. Resin, pigment, and water are mixed, creating a watercolour-like finish with richer pigments.

Table: Properties of Gouache Paint

Property Description
Texture Smooth and spreads evenly when thinned with water.
Opacity Highly opaque for opaque layers.
Drying Time Dries quickly, producing vivid colours.
Flexibility Easy to use and layer.
Lightfastness Long-lasting colours on the painting surface.

Unique Gouache Paint Features

Gouache has unique features, like high pigment loading capacity, offering the brightest hues. It also has manipulable drying times, allowing for different visual effects.

How to Use Gouache Paint

Mix your colours on a palette using small amounts or follow an analogous-colour scheme. Vary water amounts to create thin or thick layers of paint. Adding white to the Gouache lightens the colours and creates a new flavour palette.

Uses of Gouache Paint

Gouache Paint: A Merge of Pigments and Mediums

Gouache is a highly pigmented medium that can create matte, opaque effects. Illustrators, designers, and artists use it. It can mix with other media, like watercolour or acrylic paint.

  • Gouache can make stunning illustrations and designs.
  • It’s great for posters, ads, and graphic novels.
  • Gouache makes mistakes easy to fix.
  • It looks fantastic when applied thinly on dark surfaces.
  • Gouache dries quickly without dulling the colours.

Gouache’s Color Layering Flexibility

Gouache can uniquely layer multiple colours without muddying the colours underneath. Its clay-like texture, when it dries, gives room for experimentation.

A Personal Experience – Mixing Gouache Paints into Acrylics

I tried mixing Gouache paint into acrylics while making a mural in college. The different pigments clashed, and the product was patchy.

Why choose milk and honey when you can have both with Gouache paint?

Differences between Casein Paint and Gouache Paint

To understand the differences between Casein paint and Gouache paint, you must know their composition, consistency, drying time, colour saturation, lightfastness, texture, and applications. These sub-sections will help you understand which medium to choose for your project, whether you need a fast-drying opaque paint or a versatile translucent one.


Casein and Gouache Paints have different compositions. Casein Paint has milk protein (Casein) as its primary ingredient and either natural or synthetic pigment. Gouache Paint has Gum Arabic as its binder and primary ingredient and uses water as its solvent.

Though they may appear opaque, Gouache is more transparent than Casein Paint. So when working with either of these paints, remember always to keep extra water handy. That way, you can control the opacity and consistency.


Casein and gouache paints have different consistencies that influence their applications. Casein paint is smooth and creamy. It is thick and can be layered with ease. The Gouache colour is more comprehensive and has an opaque finish. It dries to a velvety soft matte look.

Casein paint offers excellent coverage with unaltered colours. Gouache paint looks chalky, ensuring long-lasting art without cracking or fading.

To get desired results with either type of paint, mix it with water as per instructions. Add borax solution 1:20 (borax/water) to casein paints before adding water for perfect consistency.

Waiting for gouache paint to dry takes much longer than with casein paint. It’s like waiting for a snail to finish a marathon while casein paint dries faster than lightning striking a cheetah.

Dry Time

Casein Paint and Gouache Paint have different drying processes. Casein dries quickly, but Gouache takes longer. To alter Casein’s drying time, add more water or Color Extender. Gouache painters can use Retarders to slow the drying or Accelerators to speed it up – but be careful with Accelerators, as they may cause cracking.

My colours? Saturated and ready to pour onto the canvas – just like my emotions!

Colour Saturation

The Intensity of Pigmentation – Why Settle for Less?

Casein paint has a more excellent pigment saturation, creating a more intense hue than gouache paint. This is due to the medium’s adhesive properties that give more coverage, resulting in vibrant colours.

Gouache paint, on the other hand, has moderate pigmentation. Adding water-based binders makes it easier to lift off, dilute and blend during the application, to create slightly muted colours.

For artists wanting bolder shades, Casein paints are usually preferred. But for lighter tints, Gouache paints are ideal for sketches and underpaintings.

Pro Tip: Consider the scope and purpose of your project when selecting between gouache and casein paints. Different styles require varying levels of intensity!


The ability of paint to remain unchanged when exposed to light is known as Colorfastness. It is essential for any artist who plans to have their work on display for a long time. Casein and Gouache Paints show different levels of lightfastness.

See below for the lightfastness of both Casein and Gouache Paint:

Paint Type Lightfastness Rating (ASTM)
Casein Paint Excellent/Very Good
Gouache Paint Poor/Fair

Moreover, Casein tends to be more durable than Gouache, although both are water-soluble. Additionally, note that paint with low lightfastness can cause the colours to change over time.

It’s widely known that the sun’s ultraviolet radiation can cause artwork to fade over time. The Getty Conservation Institute suggests that UV filters help lengthen the lifetime of a painting by blocking out dangerous solar radiation.

The texture differs for each painting – it can be as soft as a baby’s bottom or as rough as a hangover.


Casein Paint and Gouache Paint are two distinct experiences. Casein usually results in a flat and even finish, while Gouache produces a more textured, grainy look. The paint’s texture depends on the medium used to dilute it.

Casein Paint can handle various brush strokes, yet the texturing will stay minimal. Gouache Paint, on the other hand, can be layered with bumps and indentations to make the artwork more interesting. It’s essential to know how these paints interact with water or other mediums to gain control of texturing outcomes and prevent issues like blending or flaking.

A friend once shared her story of choosing a paint type she liked texturally but needed more skill to use than she expected. This shows how texture preference can impact the overall painting experience.

Casein and Gouache Paint have you covered for any art project, from masterpieces to stick figures.


The core of this section: Casein Paint and Gouache Paint. Let’s look at how they’re used.

Here’s a table for comparison:

Paint Type Usage Mediums Characteristics
Casein Paint Walls, terra cotta, paperboard Non-fat milk, Baking soda mix High opacity and lasts longer
Gouache Paint Paper, illustration board, parchment Water Less resistant to light, fades over time

Casein Paint needs non-fat milk, Baking Soda mix as a medium, while Gouache Paint needs water. It is essential to explore individual characteristics and experiment with differences in these types of paint, which are similar but still different.

So, while comparing apples to slightly different apples, you might create a stunning masterpiece!

Casein Paint
Casein paint

Similarities between Casein Paint and Gouache Paint

To understand the similarities between casein and gouache paint, turn to the section covering these two stains. Both casein paint and gouache paint share commonalities that you should know about. These include water solubility, opacity, and ease of cleaning.

Water Soluble

Casein and Gouache paints are both water-soluble. This makes them easy to work with and clean up. Mixing with water spreads the pigments evenly. Thus, both colours are excellent choices for artists needing a wetting agent.

These paints have similar features, like opaqueness, flatness, coverage, and colour vibrancy. However, Gouache is often used as an underpainting for oil paintings, a paper layer, or an illustration board. Casein is applied directly to surfaces such as wood panels due to its durability and adhesiveness.

Their history is equally fascinating. Gouache was used by Persian miniature painters in the 14th century before arriving in Europe. Meanwhile, Casein was used by ancient Egyptians over four thousand years ago! So, why not use Casein and Gouache paints’ beautiful, opaque finish?


Casein and Gouache paint have one significant trait: they’re highly opaque. The hue of Casein may make it slightly more transparent than Gouache, but they both offer an outstanding opacity.

On top of that, these paints have other shared features. They both have a matte finish on any surface they’re applied to, and they dry quickly – so you can build up layers without much waiting.

Knowing how each piece of paint works is essential to make the most of them! You’ll decide which one to use depending on what you’re creating, your supplies, or your preferencesUnderstandingng Casein and Gouac allows you toan unleash your creativity and explore various possibilities. So, don’t miss this chance; jump into these excellent paints today! Cleanup won’t be a problem – unless you spill them on your carpet, you’re in for a paint-filled mess!

Easy to Clean

Casein Paint and Gouache Paint are easy to clean due to their washability. Soap and water can take off any surface paint, like from brushes and trays. For tougher stains, rubbing alcohol or gentle solvents can help with removal. These paints are water-soluble, leaving no residue or marks on surfaces. Warm water works best when cleaning thesecolourss, dissolving residue more effectively. Clean up any spills or splatters quickly to avoid permanent staining. In the end, cleaning these paints saves time and money while keeping tools in excellent condition. Ultimately, the choice between casein and gouache paint is about personal preference and occasion.

Pros and Cons of Casein Paintvs. Gouache Paint

To weigh the advantages and disadvantages of using Casein paint versus Gouache paint, you will need to know the pros and cons of each. This will help you choose the medium that best fits your specific needs as an artist. In this section, we’ll explore the pros and cons of caseicolouror, gouachcolouror, and the cons of gouache paint to help you make an informed decision.

Pros of Casein Paint

Casein Paint: Advantages and Benefits

Casein paint is gaining popularity. Here are its advantages:

  • Fast-drying – 30 minutes to an hour.
  • Affordable compared to Gouache.
  • Lightfastness – resistant to fading.
  • Versatile – easy blending.
  • Ease of Use – thin consistency.
  • Durability – water-resistant.

Unique aspects? Glazing, creating textures without adding mediums, and working larger pieces without warping.

Know how much medium to use. Don’t rewet the dried layer. It may smudge it.

Explore Casein! Create new techniques that fit your sensibilities. Experiment now! Not with rocks – but with Casein paint.

Cons for Casein Paint

The Limitations and Drawbacks of Casein Paint

Casein paint isn’t without its cons. Here are a few to consider:

  • It dries quickly on non-porous surfaces.
  • Blendincoloursrs or creating gradients can be complex.
  • Reworking areas is challenging without damaging the painting. Colours can shift over time.

Also, some stains may need multiple layers for full coverage.

One artist noted their frustration when attempting to rework an area. The quick-drying nature of casein paint prevented them from fixing the mistake without affecting the surroundings. Despite the vibrancy of the pigments and its egg-like texture, they decided it wasn’t ideal for their style and needs.

Gouache paint, however, is excellent for artists and toddlers alike. Its vibrant colours,s and ease cleanumakeske it a great option!

Pros for Gouache Paint

Gouache Paint: Benefits & Advantages!

Gouache paint is a popular and versatile art medium. It offers unique benefits for artists. Here are some of them:

  • Opaque Finish: Gouache paint gives a bold, expressive look.
  • Water-Soluble: Easily thinned with water. Perfect for glazing or layering.
  • Flexible: Use on paper, cardboard, or illustration board.
  • Dries Quickly: Still workable after drying.
  • Bright Pigmentation: Intense and vibrant colours.

Non-toxic, high-quality gouache paint is perfect for delicate subjects like portraits.

Pro Tip: Mix with watercolour to achieve transparency. Then, watch as it disappears before your eyes – like solving a mystery!

Cons for Gouache Paint

Gouache Paint – Disadvantages of Using It

Gouache paint has been a beloved choice of artists since the middle ages. Yet, it has its drawbacks.

  • It dries quickly, making blending colours and working with the painting hard.
  • It has a matte finish, which may not be desirable for some.
  • It can crack or peel if not used properly, especially on unprepared surfaces.
  • The intensity of the colour diminishes when water is added, making it tough to blend multiple layers.
  • Unlike Casein paint, Gouache dries more brittle, making it less durable.

Moreover, using Gouache requires practice and expertise as it’s mostly opaque. Errors must be managed before it dries out.

I created a piece of art with Gouache paints a few years back. But over time, I saw the colours fading and certain parts cracking, making me unhappy. So now I prefer Casein paints over Gouache, which works better when applied on most surfaces.

No matter what you choose – remember: a poor paint job is a thin line between art and a crime scene.


Casein Paint and Gouache have striking differences. Casein has a matte finish, while Gouache looks more pliable and smoother. Plus, Casein is water-resistant, while Gouache will reactivate when exposed to water. This is why it’s crucial to understand the requirements of your artwork before selecting a suitable medium.

Professionals discovered that casein paint and Gouache have varying applications. Gouache is intense and vivid but needs multiple layers for opacity. At the same time, Casein has good coverage and dries faster.

It’s essential to consider the effects one wishes to have in their artwork. As Vincent Van Gogh said, “Incredible things exist for those who have studied mathematics.” Likewise, each artist’s preference for either Casein or GGouache is based on their artistic style and expected results.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the difference between Casein Paint and Gouache?

Casein paint and Gouache are water-based mediums that can be used for painting, but they differ in composition. Casein paint is made from milk protein, while Gouache is made from pigment, water, and a binding agent like gum Arabic. Additionally, casein paint dries to a more matte finish than Gouache.

Is Casein paint more durable than Gouache?

Yes, Casein paint is generally more durable than Gouache because of its milk protein base, which creates a stronger bond with the painting surface. However, like with any painting medium, durability also depends on the quality of the paint and the conditions in which the painting is stored.

Which medium is more opaque: Casein paint or Gouache?

Gouache is generally more opaque than casein paint because of its higher pigment concentration. However, casein paint can be layered and applied more thinly to create a more opaque effect.

Can Casein paint and Gouache be used interchangeably?

While water-based mediums can be used for painting, casein pain and Gouache have different properties and should not be used interchangeably. Additionally, some pigments used in Gouache are not compatible with casein paint.

Which medium is more versatile: Casein paint or Gouache?

Both casein paint and Gouache are versatile mediums that can be used for various painting techniques. Still, Gouache is known for its versatility due to its ability to be applied in different ways, including diluted with water or used in a thick and opaque manner.

Are there any safety concerns when using casein paint or Gouache?

Both casein paint and Gouache are generally considered safe to use, but some people may have allergic reactions to the milk protein in casein paint. Additionally, always use these mediums in a well-ventilated area and avoid getting them on your skin or ingesting them.

Randy CharlesProfessional Painter

Randy Charles is the owner of, a website dedicated to providing information, tips, tricks, and news about all things paint. With over 10 years of experience in the painting industry, Randy has become an expert in the field and is passionate about helping others learn more about painting. He has written numerous articles on the subject and is committed to providing accurate and up-to-date information to his readers.

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