I love using gouache and acrylic paints in my paintings! Why? Because they are my “mistake erasers.” These paints are great for hiding mistakes and covering up unwanted flaws.

If you’ve been painting with watercolor for some time now – you’ve probably run into a mistake or two that was unmanageable – especially your paint has dried. At this point you have 3 choices – well really 4.

  • OPTION #1: You can lift the mistake or slowly dab the color up with a wet paper towel. But this has the potential to damage your paper and lets not even mention those stubborn staining colors that refuse to budge no matter how hard you try to remove them.
  • OPTION #2: Next, you could glaze over the mistake making it darker in color appearance. But sometimes this to is impossible – especially if you flubbed on a highlight or light area of your painting. Another problem with this is watercolor is transparent – meaning whatever you layer on top has the potential to show the any strange paint strokes or textures below. Think of it like trying to cover up a mistake stroke with a piece of glass.
  • OPTION #3: Is the scariest option of all but sometimes the only one available – re-adjusting your overall vision for the painting. This means changing a color scheme or removing a section all together.
  • OPTION #4: And then their’s the last option – giving up entirely and starting over.


If you get to the last option – chances are you’ve hit rock bottom. But before completely giving up – re-think your painting and open your mind to new possibilities – the possibilities or using acrylic, ink, and Gouache to cover up those dastardly “mistakes.”

And while we are at it – re-think those “mistakes” as opportunities to play around with something new and unexpected. Something that you hadn’t planned on before – but actually might look better in the long run. This is the exact reason I love Modern Watercolor. Because when I’ve hit rock bottom in a painting – I can always re-adjust and add in some unexpected supplies to spice up the painting – covering up the “mistake” as if it was never even there.



The biggest mistake most beginners make when it comes to watercolor is loosing those precious highlights that add so much to your painting. I have three supplies that I use to gain back these highlights depending on how much of a “mistake” I need to cover up. Usually – I’ll mix a hint of of my watercolors in with these paints to tone the white to that precious highlight color. Below is a list of my favorite highlight savers.

Winsor & Newton Designers Gouache Tube Permanent White
FolkArt Gesso
Copic Opaque White Pigment

The next mistake erasers I use are the “Distractors.” These typically are acrylic or gouache paints that are very opaque and can easily cover up a “mistake” with little effort. Sometimes – I’ll even mix these together to create even thicker colorful/iridescent colors for my paintings. Below is a list of my favorite distractors.

Winsor & Newton Gouache Cobalt Turquoise Light
Winsor & Newton Gouache Opera Pink
Winsor & Newton Gouache Cadmium Scarlet
Winsor & Newton Gouache Intense Blue
Winsor & Newton Gouache Raw Sienna

Even some thick watercolors can be used as distractors when used in thick concentrations and have an opaque appearance. Such as…

Holbein Watercolors Shell Pink
Winsor & Newton Watercolor Cadmium Orange
Holbein Watercolors Jaune Brillant No.2
Winsor & Newton Watercolor Cadmium Yellow
Winsor & Newton Watercolor Neutral Tint
So that’s a quick list of some of my “mistake” erasers. Realize you can really use any supply as a mistake eraser as long as it’s a thick concentrate and opaque in make-up. So really any acrylic, gouache, watercolor, and ink will work if they fit into those categories. Hope you enjoyed this and happy painting!
About Author

Hi there! My name is Carrie and I'm a Watercolor Misfit! What's a Watercolor Misfit? Well, anyone who is willing to try new things and not afraid to get their hands covered in paint! So what do you say, are you a Misfit-ian?

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