Hello Experts,

I seem to be confused about poster color and gouache. I used both and they feel the same i.e, they are opaque, dries with a matte finish and both are water soluble. While gouache is very expensive poster colors are easily available and less expensive.

I wondered if poster color can replace gouache and vice versa?

Thanks in advance


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Hi Mridula, not an expert by any stretch of imagination. But spurred on by your question I did some googling. Here's one article I found that goes into it to some depth - third response from the top. Apparently Postercolor is poor man's gouache, although it also has its niche uses. Its low cost, hence the ability to use it in bulk seems to be an important advantage. I knew gouache also has gum arabic as binder, but was wondering if its less watersoluble then postercolor, or watercolor - when dry. I haven't used PC in decades, but I do have a cheapo (Daler Rowney, Simply series) gouache set purchased a few months back. I brought it out to test the watersolubility and did this sketch now, with some test patches on the left.

I was wrong, it took a little bit of scrubbing with a wet brush, but as you can see on the left, the patch did smear out in the end. If you have both sets - PC and Gouache, perhaps you'd share your own experiences. Thanks!

ref image by Chamberstock in DA.

Thank you for such an elaborate and illustrative reply Prosenjit ! I feel there could be a difference in lightfastness. Perhaps artworks done by gouache could have a longer shelf life as compared to poster colors ?? I teach poster colors to kids and I found the camlin premium poster colors have a very high opacity and that made me repent for having bought a much expensive Daler Rowney gouache (of course the cheapest of DR i.e, the "Simply" range)

Poster color, Gouache, Tempera mean the same thing today.

Depending on the brand and how they are available(bottle or tube) the price varies.
Don't be surprised to see a pack of Pebeo paints with the tag Post Colour,Gouache and Tempera all on the same pack :)


Probably the main difference between gouache and poster color is durability. Gouache paints are meant to be more durable than poster colours...however, I used Camlin student quality poster colours from 1992 to 1998 and colours are still there on paper. Camlin has artist grade poster colours (Premium range)...these might be better than the student ones and cheaper option than Pebeo and W&N.



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