Have you ever wondered why, despite using the best gouache paint on the market, you’re still dissatisfied with the results of your painting? You might not believe it, but the brushes you use can make or break your painting experience. If you enjoy experimenting with shapes, texture, and color, a good set of brushes for gouache is all you need.
You can use short-handled watercolor brushes for gouache. You need round, flat and filbert brushes to start. Synthetic brushes are preferable for gouache as gouache is harsh on bristles like acrylic. The best brushes to start with when painting with gouache are HIMI brushes, Princeton, Silver White and Black, and Robert Simons brushes.
With so many brushes available, selecting the right one for gouache might be challenging. So, whether you want to replace an old brush or get started with gouache painting, this article is for you. Continue reading to learn about guides and product recommendations for your next gouache painting project.
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Best Brushes for Gouache Rated By Artist Upfront
- Best Gouache Brush Overall – Princeton Brushes for Gouache
- Best Gouache Brushes for Beginners – HIMI Gouache Paint Brushes
- Best Natural Brushes for Gouache – Transon Round Watercolor Detail Paint Brushes
- Runner up Winsor & Newton Series 7 Kolinsky Sable
- Best Cheap Synthetic Brushes for Gouache under $10 – Miya Artist Paint Brushes Set
- Best Gouache Brush Set – ZenART Professional Watercolor Brushes
- Best Brushes for Gouache on Reddit – Silver Black Velvet Brushes, Silver White Brushes, Robert Simmons Simply Simmons Value Brush Sets
- Best Travel Gouache Brush – da Vinci Brushes Casaneo Artist Brush
More options I will list below. They didn’t make to my personal top but they are all still amazing gouache brushes! I will talk in details about each one of them below.
What brushes do you use for gouache?
Gouache brushes come in a variety of sizes and shapes and you basically can use same brushes you use for acrylic or watercolor for gouache depending on technique.
If you’re just starting painting with gouache, you can use synthetic brushes of round and flat shapes, sizes from #1 to #6 for detailed and larger work and a separate flat brush for varnishing.
Here are the different types of brushes for gouache to help you decide what will work best for you.
Synthetic brushes can be made of either nylon, polyester, or a combination of the two materials. They work well with water media paints such as watercolors, acrylics, and even gouache. These brushes have a soft texture that allows for greater paint flow. They hold and release a lot more paint and help in paint retention.
- Synthetic brushes are more budget-friendly than natural paintbrushes.
- They tend to be more long-lasting and durable than natural brushes.
- Their bristles are thicker and firmer; they are best for glue or thick paints.
- Synthetic brushes are more resistant to fading.
- They require less special care than natural brushes.
- They sometimes leave a few to no brush marks.
- They can melt or soften when exposed to harsh solvents and too much heat.
- Their bristles can be hardened with fast-drying paints since they bind to their strands.
- Nylon brushes might become soft when used with latex paint for a long time.
- Synthetic brushes do not work well with lacquer or shellac.
Synthetic brushes are ideal for gouache painting. When you’re just starting with gouache, you should, at the very least, have synthetic brushes. Aside from being more affordable, this type of brush is more durable, versatile, and produces a smoother finish.
Read also: Gouache Vs Acrylic: Major Difference Between Gouache And Acrylic
Natural brushes can be made using animal hair bristles or hog bristles. Natural paintbrushes often use animal hairs from sable, badger, pony, squirrel, and ox. These bristles would work better with watered-down gouache. What’s good about this type of brush is that the soft ones are ideal for glazing and layering without disturbing the base coats of paint.
- Natural brushes can hold more oils, mediums, and liquids than synthetic fibers.
- They work well with oil paints since oil conditions the bristles making them more pliable.
- They work well with watercolors, soaking up water and redistributing onto canvas.
- Natural brushes are good for shape retention; they tend to hold shape well.
- Natural brushes need special treatment and care than synthetic brushes.
- They do not work well with acrylics as they can become damaged by such paints.
- Natural brushes are more expensive than synthetic brushes.
- They tend to leave brushstroke marks.
Natural brushes can be helpful for gouache painting, although they may not produce the same results as synthetic brushes. These brushes are more pricey than their synthetic counterparts. They can hold more paint but occasionally leave brushstroke markings.
As I said you can use same brushes for gouache as you are using for acrylics. Find out my recommended brushes for acrylics here: The Best Brush for Acrylic Paint on Canvas
Common Gouache Brush Shapes and Sizes
When working with paintings, you’ll need a variety of brush sizes and shapes.
If you’re just starting with gouache, you should have at least three round brushes in various sizes. It is recommended to use one little brush in size 3-4, one medium brush in size 5-7, and one large brush in size 14+.
Here are the other brush sizes and shapes to choose from:
- Round Brush
One of the most flexible brush shapes is the round brush. It is often labeled with a number that denotes its size; a higher number signifies a larger brush diameter.
The #4 brush is commonly used since it can fill in both large and small areas, and the tip may be used to create small outline strokes.
The #8 brush is also useful. It has a fine tip that allows you to paint both thick and thin lines.
- Flat Shader Brush
Flat shaders are used to fill in color areas on the flat side. They work well for laying down washes and creating linear strokes.
Size #10 is a broader, flat brush that is frequently used in blocking backgrounds. Its flat design has a relatively straight edge, making it ideal for geometric shapes.
You can also use size #4. It is used for blocking in tiny areas and for anything with straight edges and corners. Size #4 can only reach the little regions that size ten cannot.
Professional artists call flat brush a brush with longer bristles and bright – flat brush with shorter bristles that give more control. You can use either.
- Fan Brush
A fan brush is a flat brush with hairs spread out flat like a fan, making it ideal for feathering and adding texture to a painting. With a light touch, they can cover a large area.
Like a round brush, a fan brush is designated with a number. A #4 and #6 fan brush are some of the most commonly used. The larger numbers are more widespread and scattered. These are useful for feathering, texture, sketching natural features like trees, clouds, and leaves, blending, and smoothing.
- Filbert Brush
Filbert is one of the favorite artists’ brushes for gouache. A filbert brush is similar to a flat shader brush but has an oval tip. The bristles are flat, but their tips are rounded. It’s great for making soft edges like flower petals.
A #6 filbert brush is widely used for drawing tree trunks, seascapes, and other little details. Filbert brushes offer a smooth touch to your painting because they are narrow and rounded at the top. They’re useful for blending, soft edges, and fine details.
Painters often use filbert brushes for gouache sketches.
- Spotter and Liner Brushes
A spotter brush is a brush with short bristles and is used for fine detail work. Its most popular sizes are #5 and #10, which are useful for putting the finishing touches on a painting. Because of the short bristles, this brush provides a lot of control. It’s almost like drawing with a fine marker.
On the other hand, a liner brush in size #2 is commonly used in thin line details. It offers a soft, refined touch but keeps the lines interesting with a bit of thickness variation.
19 Best Brushes for Gouache Rated By Artist
In one paid course on water-based mediums professional artist recommended Raphael brushes for gouache in bright and round shape and various sizes, but other than her I haven’t seen it as recommended brushes for gouache.
Best Gouache Brushes and Gouache Brush Set Reviewed
Best Gouache Brush Overall – Princeton Brushes for Gouache
Price range: $10-20 for a set
Princeton Brushes are suitable for watercolor, acrylic, and gouache painting. Its handles provide a secure, comfortable grip and good control over broad brush strokes.
The brand makes a few series and they are all amazing, most recommended for gouache are RealValue, Snap, Lauren. RealValue is one of the cheaper yet performant brush sets for gouache, it won’t eat upyour budget if you are a beginner.
If you buy any series you won’t regret.
- Bristles are durable
- Versatile paintbrush
- Comes in a nice range of sizes
- lots of series produced by the brand, it may be confusing sometimes which one is good.
This Princeton paintbrush is undoubtedly one of Reddit users’ and painters’ favorites due to its great quality performance, particularly in gouache paintings.
HIMI Gouache Paint Brushes – Best Gouache Brushes for Beginners
Price range: just under $10
HIMI Gouache Paint Brushes are made of high-quality birch that does not shatter easily. This brush is suitable for a wide range of painting applications, including gouache, oil, acrylics, miniatures, and models. They are long-lasting and portable.
- Suitable for various media
- Made from high-quality materials
- Soft painting brushed with comfortable grip
- No shedding
- Perfect as a gift, the colors, the packaging are always on point.
- Extremely affordable
- The smallest brush may still be too thick for detailed work.
These HIMI Brushes are made of premium nylon wool and have excellent water control and friction resistance, making them ideal for gouache painting for beginners.
If you are using HIMI Miya gouache you may already have brushes with your paint set, or you can buy these brushes.
Winsor & Newton Series 7 Kolinsky Sable Watercolor Brush: Best Detailed Gouache Brushes
Price range: from $20 to $215 depending on the size
Winsor & Newton is a high-quality sable brush with a sharp point that holds its shape while in use. The color flows evenly and continuously from the point, indicating strong flow control. These brushes are one of the most recommended for detailed and miniature painting across the globe!
- Maintaining a sharp point throughout use
- Allows for better flow control
- Works well with gouache, acrylic, and ink
- Perfect for smaller painting and details
- A bit pricey since it’s made from sable (for one brush it’s around $20 to $220)
- Gouache may be a bit harmful for natural bristles in long-term
- Sometimes not available on Amazon, please check on Kolinsky 7 Blick Art marketplace (they have better prices also often)
This paintbrush has a very soft bristles that works well with other liquid media like acrylics and watercolors for artworks that need details. Yet natural bristles are sometimes sensitive to harsh gouache nature.
Transon Round Watercolor Detail Paint Brushes
Price range: around $13
Transon round watercolor paint brushes are made of premium nylon and goat hairs. They work well with inks, gouache, and acrylics. These brushes are great for drawing details and thin to thick lines.
- Durable and long-lasting
- Compatible with gouache and other types of paints
- Budget-friendly than counterparts
- They have both natural and synthetic hair – goat + nylon.
- The pointy tips of the bristle may become loose
- Only round brushes in the set, so you will spend extra to get flat or filbert brushes.
This paintbrush is great for painting a variety of subjects as well as watercolor imitation, sketching fine details, and you can get it if you already have flat or filbert brush and looking for a variety of round brushes.
da Vinci Ussuri Red Sable Brush Set: Best Natural Brushes for Gouache
da Vinci Maestro Watercolor Brushes are made from natural Kolinsky red sable hair. It has a fine tip and is suited for use with gouache and watercolors. These brushes are available in sizes ranging from 10/0 to 36 and 50.
- Suitable for various surfaces
- Long-lasting ferrules and rust-resistant
- Has an extra-sharp point
- Amazingly holds water, so it is great for more watercolor style painting and using water.
- Hand-made in Germany but the hair comes from Russian Siberia.
- May lose their points after long periods of use
- natural hair is not always good in long run with gouache or acrylic
This paintbrush is one of the best brushes to use for watercolor and gouache paintings because of its excellent capacity for holding colors and water. It may hold too much water if you prefer deeper colors and less watery coverage.
Silver Black Brush Limited Watercolor Brush
Price range: around $56-86 for 3 brushes set
Silver Brush Unlimited’s Black Velvet Round Brushes are made of premium squirrel hair and black synthetic fibers. Each brush is gentle enough to add color without disrupting previous coats while also being strong enough to lift color as necessary.
Both White and this Black series are highly recommended and used by painters from Reddit.
- Made from high quality natural squirrel hair
- Ideal for drawing thin lines, wide strokes, and fine details
- Holds the right amount of color
- Stylish, nice as gift for your crafter friend
- Too pointy tip for non-watercolor techniques
- Price is on a high end, expensive sets for over $50 for only 3 brushes and individual brushes also expensive.
This brush can be used on both smooth and textured surfaces and works well with various media, but best to use for watercolor-like techniques.
Amagic Fan Brush Set – Hog Bristle Natural Hair
Price range: around $16
Amagic Fan Brush Set include brushes in various sizes that can be used in any kind of paint. These are made of natural hog bristles with excellent quality aluminum crimped ferrules.
- Available in various sizes such as size 2#,4#,6#,8#,10#,12#
- With anti-shedding bristles
- Versatile paintbrush
- Bristles are pretty much straight across the brush edge
- Fab brush in general has more limited use than a round or flat one
Can be a good choice if you are really using fan brushes a lot. Otherwise, you will probably need a round or filbert brush more often.
Miya Artist Paint Brushes: Best Cheap Brushes for Gouache
Price range under $10 (around $6)
Miya Artist Paint Brushes are made of high-quality nylon and are suitable for gouache painting. These brushes are way less expensive than other brushes on the market, but still offer the same good results.
If you are looking for more brushes in one set than in HIMI Gouache Paint Brushes set, than this Miya set with 10 brushes will be best for you.
- Comfortable hardwood grip
- Durable and not easy to crack
- Budget-friendly brushes
- 10 brushes in set that will cover all your painting needs no matter what are you painting – 1 wide brush, 4 fan brush, 3 filbert brush,1 nylon flat brush, 1 liner brush.
- Bristles may fray badly if not properly taken care of
- Not sure if I would need 4 fan brushes, I never use them.
- I get suspicious when I see a 10-pc set for 6 dollars, I would spend a bit more
If you’re on a tight budget, these MIYA paint brushes are a must-try! They are suitable for use with watercolor, oil, acrylic, and gouache.
ZenART Professional Watercolor Brushes – Best Diverse Gouache Brush Set
Price range: around $50
The ZenART Professional Watercolor Brush Set includes high-quality synthetic brushes for smooth flow control and added snap. They’re washable and have double-crimped seamless ferrules to avoid shedding.
- Good shape retention
- Contains all types of bristles, many sizes and shapes, even a palette knife for mixing paint and all it comes in a handy case.
- Meticulously handcrafted
- May become loose after few uses
- Seems pricey (around $50) but you get 14 tools!
These ZenART brushes have excellent water and color absorption, making them ideal full brush set for gouache painting.
Artecho Art Paint Brushes Set
Price range: around $20
Artecho Art Paint Brushes Set includes a variety of paintbrush sizes to meet your painting needs. It is ideal for heavy coat applications as well as detail painting. They are ideal for use with watercolor, oil, acrylic, and gouache.
- Has all the sizes you need, and comes with a case, sponge and a palette knife
- Perfect for various types of paintings
- Made from high-quality nylon material
- Very cheap for 15 brushes and 3 extra items, each item costs less than a dollar.
- Bristles may be worn out if not properly used
- Often not available on Amazon
- I’m again suspicious about quality for such low price.
This brush set is ideal for both beginners and experienced artists. Aside from gouache painting, it can also be used for face painting, nail art, and even miniature and model paintings.
VIKEWE Professional Paint Brushes Set
Price is around $20 for a whole set
VIKEWE Professional Paint Brushes are handcrafted from premium materials to provide you with the greatest painting experience possible. It includes 16 different sizes of paint brushes with various tip shapes.
- Extra sturdy and durable
- Thick handle for better grip and handling
- Contains full set of brushes, sponge, palette knife and a case.
- Too soft for a detailed painting
- I don’t like such cases as often each pocket is small and tight and you cannot reuse it for another brushes.
These brushes from VIKEWE have a high capacity and versatility. It is suitable for oil, watercolor, acrylic, and gouache paintings.
Robert Simmons Simply Simmons Value Brush Sets: Best Brushes for Gouache on Reddit
Price is around $10 for 4 brushes
Simply Simmons Synthetic Brushes are for students, beginners in painting, and professionals as well that are on a bufget. These brushes provides excellent performance and are designed for use with all paints.
- Affordable with great quality
- Handmade by skilled craftsmen
- Made from quality synthetic material
- The brush handles are short
Simply Simmons Synthetic Brushes are one of the best brushes for gouache painting because aside from its superior quality, they are less expensive than other brushes.
GETHPEN Filbert Paint Brushes Set
Price is under $10
GETHPEN Filbert Paint Brushes Set can be used for oil, acrylic, watercolor, gouache, and even art painting, face painting, miniatures, detailing, craft art painting, model, and so on.
- Anti-shedding nylon
- Easy to clean
- Comes in different sizes
- Handles may be too short for some users
- Yes, it is a 12 pc set but they are all filbert! No round brushes or any other shapes. The smallest brush will be too big for fine lines and details.
Good brushes of most popular shape – filbert – for gouache painting. If you are only looking for this shape, this set is a must as it has sizes from #1 to #12.
da Vinci Brushes Casaneo Artist Brush – Best Travel Brush for Gouache
Price is around $55
The da Vinci Brushes Casaneo Artist Brush has a delicate feel but comes to a perfect point. They are great for watercolor, gouache, acrylic, silk painting, calligraphy, ink, and sketching projects.
They are not the brushes in its common sense – these are the brushes you can travel with as the bottom part becomes a nice lid for the brush head to keep it safe.
- High color absorption
- Suitable for various paint media
- Certified green manufacturing, vegan
- Compact, Perfect for travelling!
- Expensive – it is only one shape and size for this price
With its high quality materials, these brushes by da Vinci are one of the most trusted brushes to use for gouache painting while traveling. Yet for home use it is rather excessive and expensive.
Artify Paint Brushes
Price: around $20 for the set
Artify Paint Brushes are long-lasting, durable, and affordable brushes. They provide good water absorption and will not deform even after extended use.
- Made from high quality nylon material
- Ferrules don’t come off easily
- Comes in various shapes and sizes (15 brushes, plus sponges and a palette knife in a portable case)
- Affordable, good value for money for beginners. It was one of the cheap recommendations on Reddit as well.
- These are simple, cheap brushes, they are not suitable for professionals.
These synthetic brushes can be used on different paint types such as watercolor, oil, acrylic, and gouache but it is only good for compete beginners.
More recommendations from Reddit:
Jack Richeson Grey Matters
Price around $40
This is a set of good quality 6 brushes for plein air, mostly oils, but artists use it for gouache successfully! Brushes have long handles and come in 3 shapes (just as you need for gouache) – round, flat and filbert.
Silver White Brushes
Price is under $20
As Silver Black Velvet series, Silver White series is one of the top choices for gouache. Basic set of 3 brushes, high-quality Japanese synthetic bristles that imitate natural bristles but are better with harsh mediumds like gouache or acrylics.
Creative inspirations durahandle
Price: under $15
Cheao and durable set of 5 brushes for beginners in gouache painting. They paid extra attention to make very durable handles. The brush hair is synthetic – taklon.
They maybe too big for very detailed work.
Price: around $60
A full set of 12 brushes of most common shapes and sizes for beginners and pros working with acrylic or gouache.
They are rather expensive for beginners, but the price is justified by the fact that these brushes are recommended by watercolor artist Joseph Zbukvic.
They are handmade synthetic brushes which also makes them great for gouache or watercolor.
How to choose the best brush for gouache?
There are numerous brush types available in a variety of shapes, sizes, textures, and pricing. Such factors should be considered when choosing the proper brush for gouache for you to obtain the desired results. Here are a few things to think about before purchasing one:
Shape and Size
Though you are free to experiment with different brush shapes and sizes, we recommend that you have one large round tip, one small round tip, and one broad brush for large areas. A flat brush may also be required to work on smaller areas or to create lines.
To buy: round, flat, filbert, sizes 1,4,6. 10 for large backgrounds. Smaller than #1 if working with details.
Round brushes tend to hold more water. I use mainly flat brushes and I’m happy with them.
Get a separate large flat brush for varnishing gouache paintings, as I don’t recommend using the same brush for varnish and paint even if you will clean it well.
The handle material is one of the factors you can consider because it might affect your performance and comfort as an artist. Handles are made of plastic, rubberized grips, metal, or wood.
Choosing one is entirely up to you, although wood is the most recommended since it gives an excellent grip for the user and does not allow the brush to deform when wet.
Long handles is better and easier to hold if you paint with an easel and want more freedom while painting standing. For gouache and acrylic I prefer short handles for more control and it is just more convenient for me as I mostly sit and paint.
Brushes are available with either synthetic or natural bristles.
Synthetic brushes have a smooth touch with no brushstrokes, and are ideal for watercolors, gouache and acrylics. Easy to clean and much more affordable than natural hair brushes.
Natural hair, on the other hand, retains shape well and is ideal for oil painting.
Today many brands create high-quality fake natural bristles that work great for gouache.
Brush prices vary depending on their material and quality.
However, the most common price range of paintbrushes is from $5 to $20 per set for budget beginners set, around $50-60 for more advanced sets.
Synthetic brushes, for example, are less expensive than natural hair brushes. Though they both provide amazing results, you don’t need to purchase the most expensive brush, especially if you’re just getting started.
Natural hair brushes can individually cost up to $220 (for a big size of course).
Can I use acrylic brushes for gouache?
Yes, you can use acrylic brushes with gouache. Brushes designed specifically for gouache are rare to find. However, as long as the brush is labeled “for watercolor, acrylic, and mixed media,” you should be fine.
For instance, synthetic brushes are ideal for acrylic painting, and we have just learnt that gouache painting is best done with synthetic brushes. One of the best brushes for acrylic painting is the Princeton Acrylic Paint Brush, and Reddit users also recommend the same brand for gouache paintings.
Can I use watercolor brushes with acrylic gouache?
Considering gouache is just opaque watercolor, you can use watercolor brushes with it. Since gouache works similarly to watercolor, the tools required are practically similar. You should also know that watercolour brushes and papers can be used with gouache. So, if you’re just getting started with gouache, use a soft watercolor brush with flexible bristles.
To learn more about mediums differences: Gouache Paint vs Watercolor: How do they differ and which is best?
Can you use oil brushes for gouache?
Although oil brushes can be used for gouache, they will not yield the best results. Oil brushes are more rigid and less flexible. As a result, I recommend that you use watercolor brushes instead. Watercolor brushes are all-purpose water-based paint brushes that also perform well with gouache.
How do I get a smooth finish with gouache?
Brush marks on a painting depend upon a lot of factors. In this section, we’ll discuss some tips on how to avoid brush strokes.
More tips on working with gouache: 23 Top Gouache Painting Tips & Secrets From Pros
Use a high-quality brush
Your painting will have a cleaner finish if you use a quality paintbrush. The brush should be maintained clean at all times. Its bristles shouldn’t contain any dried paint as this would cause the bristles to stick together and make it more difficult to prevent brush markings.
Furthermore, you can have a harder time achieving the desired smooth finish if you use cheap paint brushes.
Thin the paint properly
Brush strokes can occur when painting with unthinned paint. To avoid this, use a soft brush and ensure the paint is properly thinned out using the appropriate, slow-drying, thinned paint.
Acrylics, for example, must be thinned to perform better. Thinned paint is easier to manage, dries faster, and produces equal layers and a smooth surface.
Prepare the surface
To avoid teething with the bristles of the brush, the canvas should be carefully prepared with gesso and polished with fine sandpaper. Always keep sand paper ready to repair strokes or sand paint layers.
In application gouache is very similar to acrylic, you can use one of those tips to avoid brush strokes.
How to Clean & Store Gouache Brushes
Always remember to cleanse your brushes after using gouache. If it dries and sets, the chemical used to make it opaque might harm brushes. Treat your brushes as your investment and your working tools.
After each use, wash natural hair brushes in warm water with light soap. I recommend (and pretty much everyone) The Masters Soap for cleaning the brushes. Synthetic brushes, on the other hand, can be cleaned with white vinegar or synthetic brush cleaning but normally it is not necessary at all. Before using the brushes again, carefully rinse them and allow them to air dry.
Do not leave gouache brushes sitting head down in water for long time (never overnight!) and try to gently dry them off with a towel after you rinse them. After that just slide your fingers to sort of bring the shape back.
Another key factor to consider is how you will store it after cleaning it. To avoid damage, keep your brushes dry and facing bristles up using this brush storage from the U.S. Art Supply.
To Sum Up
Gouache is an excellent medium for both beginning and experienced painters. Having the right materials will allow you to have the best painting experience possible. Aside from the papers, the brushes you use can even influence the outcome of your painting.
Finding the best gouache brushes can be challenging, but once you’ve found the ideal one, you’ll enjoy gouache painting even more. If you haven’t found the perfect set of brushes for your next painting project, we highly suggest you to try one of the products we recommended.