Daniel Smith, Gouache

Explore Opaque Colour with Daniel Smith Extra Fine Gouache

Daniel Smith Extra Fine Gouache Paint offers vibrant, matt colour with an opaque finish that’s loved by artists and designers alike. With a smooth, velvety texture these paints offer amazing opacity in one pass, but can also be thinned down to behave more like watercolour. Now available in an extended palette of 72 colours, we put them to the test to see what the range can bring to your practice.

Daniel Smith Extra Fine Gouache Paint in Primary Colours - Hansa Yellow Medium, Pyrrol Red and Ultramarine Blue

Daniel Smith Extra Fine Gouache are the latest addition to the brand’s extensive range of professional colours. With a creamy texture and exceptionally high pigmentation, these paints dry to a flat, matt finish that’s popular with all kinds of artists, illustrators and designers. Their opaque quality lends itself perfectly to artworks requiring a smooth, flat surface, whether it’s fine art pieces or works intended for reproduction. Free from fillers or whites to boost opacity, they offer pure, vibrant colours that leap off the page. Read on to find out what we thought when we put the range to the test.

Who are Daniel Smith Art Materials?

Assorted Daniel Smith Art Materials - Extra Fine Watercolour Paint Tubes and Pans, Extra Fine Gouache and Watercolour Sticks

Daniel Smith are a Seattle-based art supplies manufacturer with over 45 years experience in the industry. After introducing his oil paints in the 1990s, Dan’s catalogue of materials quickly expanded to include watercolours, watercolour sticks, grounds and more. Daniel Smith Gouache is the latest addition to the company’s product offering. Throughout the years, they’ve solidified their reputation as a brand known for reliably providing outstanding performance and unparalleled quality.

What is Gouache?

Traditional Gouache is often thought of as an opaque watercolour paint. Like watercolour, gouache paint made from artists pigment bound in gum arabic. However, Gouache typically also includes opacifying agents that give it its signature matt, opaque finish.

Daniel Smith Extra Fine Watercolour French Ultramarine and Daniel Smith Extra fine Gouache Ultramarine Blue compared side by side
French Ultramarine Watercolour (left) and Ultramarine Blue (right). Gouache has a much flatter, more matt and even finish.

From the tube Gouache has a smooth, velvety texture that sometimes requires a little water to reach a brushable consistency. You can use it straight from the tube or with limited water to make the most of its opacity, but you can also dilute it and it will behave more like watercolour paint.

It’s an incredibly popular medium of choice with designers and illustrators, as its flat, matt finish lends itself well to the process of reproduction. However, its also rapidly gaining popularity in fine art applications. Many watercolour artists already use white gouache to add in highlights or other opaque details in the very last layers of their paintings.

Daniel Smith Extra Fine Gouache

Take a quick glance at a tube of Daniel Smith Gouache and you’ll notice how similar the tubes look to their watercolours. The familiar design gives you all the information you’ll need to know about each particular colour. Each 15ml tube includes clearly printed information about pigment composition. This includes the lightfastness and series number, plus a coloured band to help you quickly identify your paint.

Front of a tube of Daniel Smith Extra Fine Gouache Paint in Pyrrol Red
Side of a tube of Daniel Smith Extra Fine Gouache Paint in Pyrrol Red

The range was first introduced in 2022 in a limited palette of 22 colours, but has now expanded to include another 52 hues. Of a total 74 colours, 41 use single pigment formulations. This is a great benefit for artists looking to avoid muddy mixes. The palette of colours offered includes all the essentials, plus some more unusual colours from the Daniel Smith range. You’ll find a selection of Primatek colours plus some shimmering Luminscent shades.

Daniel Smith Extra Fine Gouache Paint in three Luminescent shades - Pearlescent White, Iridescent Electric Blue and Iridescent Aztec Gold

Each colour is formulated from the same high quality pigments and gum arabic binder as Daniel Smith Extra Fine Watercolours. Daniel Smith Gouache has a unique formula with very high pigment loads. These paints have high pigment density, providing opacity without requiring opacifying agents like white pigment or other fillers.


Squeeze a little colour onto your palette and you’ll discover a thick, creamy paint with a smooth, velvety consistency. It’s worth noting that these tubes are very well filled. There may be a daub of colour ready to escape as you unscrew the lid. With some of the heavier pigments you may find that the pigment separates a little from the binder. However, you can easily rectify this my mixing it together with a toothpick or directly on the palette.

Dipping a paintbrush into red gouache paint on a porcelain palette

The smooth consistency of the paint means you’ll be able to use it straight from the tube with a damp brush. However it’s also easy to temper with water to create a more fluid paint. The more water you add the more it behaves like regular watercolour. It’s easier to create hazy washes and soft brush strokes, although you lose a lot of the paint’s opacity.


Swatches of 22 Daniel Smith Extra Fine Gouache on a Dot Card
Original 22 colours swatched on a Dot Card
Swatches of 22 Daniel Smith Extra Fine Gouache Paints
Opacity of the 22 colours swatched from the Dot Card

Although the Daniel Smith Gouache range claims, like all gouache, to be an opaque medium, there is a lot of variation in the level of opacity you’ll get from each paint. This range gains its opacity purely from the pigment load – there’re no white pigments or other fillers added to make these colours more opaque. Because of this the opacity across the colours isn’t uniform.


As with other gouache paint, you’re best using Daniel Smith Gouache fresh from the tube. However, what sets it apart is its ease of rewetting compared to other brands. The issue of dried paint is a common problem for gouache artists. It can be very difficult, if not impossible, to get the same degree of opacity with rewet paint. Because Daniel Smith Gouache is easier to rewet, it’s much easier to get it close to its original consistency. Spritz or add water to the dried colour and let it soak in. That’s all you’ll need to do.

Artist squeezing a tube of Daniel Smith Extra Fine Gouache in Ultramarine Blue into a plastic half pan

The rewet paint also doesn’t get gritty or crumbly like some other brands, so your colours will apply more smoothly. Although this paint generally offers much easier rewetting, the ease varies slightly depending on the colour. This paint also doesn’t crumble or crack quite as much if you let the colour dry out in a pan.

Experience Flat, Matt Colour with Daniel Smith Extra Fine Gouache

Daniel Smith Extra Fine Gouache Paint Tubes in an artists studio

If you’re looking to work with rich, smooth gouache then these paints could be exactly what you’re looking for. This range boasts all the qualities you’d need in a professional gouache paints. Plus a few extras like easy rewetting and an unusual colour palette. Daniel Smith Gouache offers consistent professional performance, whether you prefer thick, opaque colour or diluted, hazy washes. Plus, with 52 new colours to choose from, there’s the perfect selection of colours for every palette. Have you tried Daniel Smith Extra Fine Gouache yet? We’d love to know what you think!

Written by


62   Posts

Tanith is a Fine Art Graduate with a passion for drawing and watercolour. Her love of art extends beyond her own practice, as she regularly researches and tests new materials for the Bromleys blog. Through collaboration with suppliers, she gains the technical know-how to help troubleshoot artistic challenges, aiding fellow artists in refining their craft. While she specializes in watercolour, her articles span various topics, inspiring artists of every skill level to explore the world of art.
View All Posts
Follow Me :

2 thoughts on “Explore Opaque Colour with Daniel Smith Extra Fine Gouache

  1. Thank you Tanith for this wonderful informative article on Daniel Smith’s Gouache paint.
    My question is, are these paints free of any animal derived ingredients? I thought I
    recently read that they were, but would like another confirmation that they are not
    before purchasing them. Thank you so very much for your help with this request, Diane

    1. Hi Diane! We’re delighted to hear that you found the article helpful. Daniel Smith Extra Fine Gouache paints are free from animal ingredients apart from a few colours that contain the pigment PBk9 (Ivory Black, Payne’s Grey and Sepia). We’ve added them to our vegan art supplies blog post, which we try to keep updated as new products come through. Hope this helps!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *