Mash Up Tools: My new favorite Turner Acryl-Gouache Paints

Turner Acryl Gouache was an unknown brand to me until I had a chance to visit Lemon Gasui art store in Tokyo. Another friend of mine, the one and only Tuesday Vargas visited the store earlier this year and through Facebook photos, I discovered that there was this awesome wonderland of a place in Ochanomizu station. When I was planning for my first visit to Japan last spring, I knew Lemon Gasui had to be part of the itinerary.

Lemon Gasui is more known as an architecture supply store but they also carry a lot of fine art/painting materials, crafting paraphernalia and paper goods. On the first floor, they display general art supplies like watercolors, acrylic, chalk pastels, colored pencils and paintbrushes. They have a level dedicated to just paper, on the other floors, they carry more specialized materials for dioramas, drafting and  architecture. Browsing their beautiful shelves was an experience in itself. Lo and behold, Turner Acryl Gouache caught my fancy and right then and there, I bought myself a set of 18 colors.

Being a watercolor enthusiast, it took me a while before  trying out my acryl-gouache set which remained unused for months. I was at the start of my notecard design prototyping period and decided to use the pigments after days and days of stalking artists who specialize in this medium. I frequented the feeds of Anna Rifle Bond, Helen Dardik, Lisa Congdon and Marc Martin.

Ugh. I mean come on! Look how pretty!

🐧 for one of our 2017 calendars

A post shared by Anna Bond (@annariflebond) on

Turner Colour Works is a Japanese company based in Osaka. Established in 1946, they developed their paint products and launched the acryl-gouache in 1982. Acryl-gouache is like your hybrid of water soluble gouache and acrylic. It’s both a forgiving and challenging medium to work with but I like it nonetheless. It is important to note though the general characteristics of this medium:


  • Multi-surface usage – Can be used to paint on different supports: paper, wood, glass, plastic or even fabric
  • Flexibility in opacity – you can use the acryl-gouache for transparent and opaque washes so you can apply different kinds of techniques because of this characteristic.
  • Matte to Glossy – Out of the tube, it’s matte by default, but you can also add Gloss varnish with acryl-gouache so that you can adjust its glossiness. However, take note that it will affect transparency.
  • Non-water soluble – Acryl-gouache dries within 5-15 minutes of use. When it is already dry, it does not smudge or get lifted after getting wet.
  • Digital scan color integrity – Turner Acryl-gouache set in particular has the yummiest and vibrant of colors. The colors in the set of 18 was enough for a starter set and I found that when I scan my work, the colors are more vibrant when scanning acrylic vs. watercolor.
  • Smooth finish – the paint glides on smoothly even when using layers.


  • If the paint dries out inside the tube, you can no longer paint with it 🙁 I bought an ice cube container with cover that serves as a makeshift palette so that I can cover the palette in between washes. That way, the paint doesn’t get exposed to too much air. You can also combine the paint with paint retarder to slow down the drying of paint while exposed on the palette.
  • Not very mobile. Again, because of the fact that the paint is no longer water soluble, you cannot pre-create a palette. This means you still have to bring them around in tube containers.
  • May ruin brushes if not washed immediately. I use 2 small buckets for washing my brushes. First bucket to remove the pigment then second to keep the brush from drying.

After my 30 day stint in Japan, of course I had to check out the stores again and see what I can get to add to my 18 color set. And man, did I hoard! Turner Brand has several Acryl-gouache series on top of the 74 original colors: Pearl, Metallic, Luminous, Pastel, Japanesque and Mixing Series, so it was suuuuch a difficult task to choose colors out of the many many options available!

Sekaido had rows of acryl-gouache brands (Sekaido like my Disneyland, seriously) and I got myself a few additional colors from Turner that were not included in the basic set. I didn’t want to buy a different brand to test, but instead just added colors to my existing haul. I got Beryl Green, Olive Green, Rose Pink, Lilac, Grayish Blue and Gold-light.

At this point in my relatively new art practice, I have already established a set of go-to tools for my designs and artworks. Turner Colourworks and Holbein are my favorites so far, together with Sakura Koi . After that splurge-o-rama in Japan, I will probably stick to these brands until I run out!

Turner Acryl-Gouache is available locally at




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