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Gouache normally comes in tubes, and you are supposed to squeeze it out onto your palette right when you paint. But what should you do when sketching on location? How do you go about using gouache without the hassle and mess? I get this question a lot. And I've got an answer for you!

I have found the perfect palette, which

  • is portable and compact

  • is airtight and leak-proof

  • prevents gouache from drying (if you know a little trick).


This palette was originally intended for watercolors, but I also use it for gouache. I actually have two: one for watercolors and one for gouache. That's why you see it in all of my Instagram photos.

I love it because it has a large mixing area, has 18 wells for paints, and the lid has a rubber ring which makes it airtight.

This is what it looks like when it's closed. The dimensions are 30.5x15.2x5.1cm. It comes in different colors (but they might not all be available, so grab whichever color the store has!)

bright red Mijello foldable palette closed

This is what an empty palette looks like inside. Ready to be filled with Winsor & Newton gouache:)

What are the toothpicks for? Read on and find out!

Miljello foldable palette with Winsor & Newton gouache tubes around it

Here's my process for filling the palette with paints.

First, squeeze out some gouache, enough to fill the wells about halfway. Smooth the paint in the wells with a toothpick.

Mijello palette filled with bright gouache colors

Let the half-filled wells dry for two or three hours. Then fill the wells all the way, and again smooth the paint with a toothpick. If you don't use this two-step process and fill the wells in one go, the gouache will dry unevenly with air bubbles in it that can cause the paint to dry out very quickly.

a corner of the Mijello palette filled with yellow-red colors
Read this post if you are not sure which gouache colors to buy.

If your gouache becomes too dry inside the tube or on your palette, use some gum arabic. Just make sure to use only a small amount so that your gouache does not become too diluted and lose its rich quality.

One more trick for keeping gouache moist:

Put a small wet sponge inside the palette before you close it. The palette is airtight, so the moisture from the sponge will stay inside, thus preventing the paints from drying.

This fantastic palette is an integral part of my urban sketching kit: it allows me to pack my gouache paints quickly, have them ready when I sit down to sketch and prevent my precious gouache from drying.



I have a collection of gouache classes that are available inside Brave Brushes Studio, my membership for artists and urban sketchers:

  • Urban Sketching with Gouache: Turquoise House by the Pool

  • Urban Sketching: How to Draw a Street with Gouache and Colored Pencils

  • Let's Draw Some Homes

  • Draw with me: Expressive Sketching with Gouache and Colored Pencils


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Hello, I'm Julia Henze.



Art is my passion. Urban Sketching is my love.

My work (and this site) is devoted to sharing ideas, tools, and resources that will help you to find your way in the world of art.

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  • Resource library (classes and tutorials)

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