Comprehensive Holbein Acryla Gouache Review (12 Colors Set)

Last Updated on November 21, 2023 by Masha Eretnova

I was contemplating the purchase of Holbein acryla for a while – it is quite pricey after all and what if it isn’t worth it?

I did it finally when I was in Japan – it felt right to buy Japan-made paint there and it felt very special. So I bought their regular gouche and acryla along with Turner acrylic gouache to compare.

I’ve been painting since 2018 with oils, acrylics and gouache and I truly enjoy reviewing art supplies I buy 🙂

Let’s see if that was really worth it!

Holbein Acryla Gouache Lesson Set Of 12 20Ml
  • Holbein Acrylic Gouache – Lesson Set, Set of 12 colors, 20 ml Tubes
  • Lesson Set
  • 20 ml (0.68 oz)

My Holbein Acrylic Gouache Review

Holbein Acrylic Gouache Review

My general takeaways for Holbein Acryla Gouache:

Good Takeaways:

  1. Color Vibrancy: I love the vibrant and rich colors offered by Holbein Acryla Gouache. The pigments are often described as intense and long-lasting. The color vibrancy and opacity are closer to those of good gouache. The color range is also outstanding – 100+ colors are available.
  2. Opacity: Nice high opacity, allowing for excellent coverage. Easy to achieve solid, flat layers for building up a painting or for flat colors.
  3. Relatively reactivatable: Even though once completely dry you won’t be able to rework acryla but while it is still drying, you have a chance.
  4. Consistency: The paint is smooth and easy to work with!

Something you and me may not like:

  1. Cost: quite obvious, this paint is quite expensive which is not beginner-friendly.
  2. Tube Design: Sometimes the large hole in the lid makes it challenging to dispense the exact amount of paint needed, leading to potential waste.
  3. Availability: Depending on your location, availability might be a concern.

Let’s address some details.


The set comes with 12 tubes (20 ml each), they are sturdy but plasticy. Easy to use, good airtight lids.

Holbein acrylic gouache tubes from my set


In my set I have 12 colors, however Holbein acryla has a total color range of whooping 109 colors!

  • Carmine
  • Scarlet
  • Deep Yellow
  • Lemon Yellow
  • Viridian
  • Light Green
  • Ultramarine Blue
  • Sky Blue
  • Violet
  • Burnt Sienna
  • Jet Black
  • Titanium White

All colors are very opaque and velvety and easy to work with a brush. Here is my swatch for Holbein acrylic gouache:

holbein acrylic gouache color swatch

Lightfastness and Permanency

According to Holbein, acrylic gouache with rate 1 and 2 is only for indoor use, and rate 3 or 4 can also be used outdoors.

  • Lightfastness is how paint colors are resistant to fading over time
Permanency label on the back of the tube

The 4th grade is the maximum and yet the most permanency grade for acryla is “almost permanent” which is this grade 4.

If there is 0 it means the color is fugitive and not permanent at all.

  • Carmine, 2/4
  • Scarlet, 2/4
  • Deep Yellow, 2/4
  • Lemon Yellow, 2/4
  • Viridian, 3/4
  • Light Green, 2/4
  • Ultramarine Blue, 3/4
  • Sky Blue, 3/4
  • Violet, 0
  • Burnt Sienna, 4/4
  • Jet Black, 2/4
  • Titanium White, 4/4

Finish and coverage

Water-resistant once dry and cannot be reworked unlike traditional gouache.

holbein acryla gouache review

Unlike semi-gloss acrylics, acrylic gouache dries to a matte finish like traditional gouache.

Drying time is said to be 5 to 20 min, I felt like they are quick-drying but not as fast as regular acrylic.

Covers well any surface except for oily surfaces, including fabric and rock painting.

But if you compare to acrylic or oil paint, acryla has less adhesion to the surface so make sure the canvas is well prepared with gesso.

To protect the painting made with Holbein acryla, the brand recommends using regular varnish like for acrylic paint.


Non toxic for hobby use, but if you are using it as a professional, make sure you don’t inhale or swallow paint accidentally because pigments use raw materials and some of them are safe to paint with but not safe to ingest.

Jet black has copper however, but it is in tiny amount – it is still 100% safe to use.

Holbein Acrylic Gouache Review
Black color has a warning regarding copper it contains

These paints are not recommended for children. Use safer alternatives for kids painting sessions.

Holbein Acryla vs Holbein traditional gouache

First distinction is the packaging – traditional gouache by Holbein comes in black box while acrylic gouache in a grey-red one.

The major difference though, invisible in terms of consistency or first application is the composition.

Acryla has additional binder that gouache doesn’t have – acrylic polymer binder that makes it acrylic gouache.

The difference between the two paints becomes visible once two painting will dry – the one you did with traditional gouache can be corrected, reworked as regular gouache stays sensitive to water.

Holbein traditional gouache:


Holbein acryla:

Acryla on the other hand dries to a film that you will have no luck reactivating. Which means Holbein acryla is less forgiving and it will be much harder to correct mistakes especially if the paint has dried.

The colors of regular Holbein gouache may also seem slightly flatter than acrylic gouache.

Holbein Acryla Performance Verdict

Holbein Acrylic Gouache Review

I absolutely loved working with Holbein acryla for this little beach painting (I followed this simple tutorial).

Holbein acryla dries a bit darker, like acrylics, so you need to keep that in mind and let the layer dry before you will adjust the color.

Layering and thinning the paint helped make beautiful foam on the shore.

Fun to mix, layer, blend, add details, easy to work even when diluted, beautiful colors!

They are trickier to blend of course, as they dry super fast. If you are not familiar with blending yet, I suggest slow-drying acrylics or gouache to master it.

Last update on 2024-07-20 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API