Covering Dark Lines with White Paint in Adult Coloring Books

Covering Black Outlines in Adult Coloring Books: What’s the Best Paint I own?

Testing the paints

I grabbed all the paints I use frequently for this task that I already had in my studio. Here’s the test swatch sheet and below is the breakdown of what my conclusions were in the livestream.

The question I’m trying to answer: Which is the most opaque white paint which will allow me to use color pencil and marker over it?

See the Companion YouTube Video Here

#1 : Dr. PH Martin’s Bleed Proof White Ink

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Dr. Martin’s is great for going over pink or purple pigments which tend to bleed through other conventional paints. However, it did not take the pencils as easily as I expected, and would be best to use with paint over it if you want to dull down the brightness or add color over it.
Opaque, Semi-Matte, and Very Thick.

#2 : DecoArt Americana Acrylic Paint in Titanium (Snow) White

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While not as opaque as some of the other options, I found this to be my favorite budget-friendly option for this task. It went on smoothly right from the bottle with no water required, it’s thin so it lays flat, and it dries in a way that takes all media exceptionally well. For the price, it’s a huge value, and now my favorite paint for this task.
Semi-Opaque, Very Matte, and Thin.

#3 : Liquitex Basics Acrylic Paint in Titanium White

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This was a letdown on so many levels, and not recommended for this application. It wasn’t as opaque as the the other acrylic options, and too thick to be used without water very easily.
Semi-Opaque, Semi-Gloss, Thick.

#4 : Liquitex Professional Heavy Body Acrylic Paint in Titanium White

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While I adore this paint for use on canvas for it’s high viscosity and glossy finish, for this application, it’s terrible! There’s no worse way to struggle with covering lines and trying to color them over than this paint.
Opaque, Gloss, Very Thick.

#5 : Winsor and Newton Designer Gouache in Permanent White

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While this used to be my go-to favorite for covering dark outlines in my coloring books, the over $10 price point for a tiny tube makes it very costly for a hobbyist colorist. I do admit, it’s more opaque than the Deco Art, but it’s a little more smooth textured in finish, which makes some pencils take more effort to go over than the Liquitex Acryla Gouache. This experiment has firmly placed this at my third runner up, and I’m so glad I tried all these media out now! I’ll save my gouache for watercolor paintings.
Very Opaque, Matte, Thick.

#6 : Turner Acryla Gouache

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This is a new acquisition for me, and while it ranks as one of the most opaque out of the lot, the finish was not textured right for layering pencils over it. It’s ideal for tiny white details like stars, eye sparkles and so forth though, and is one of my favorite new paints. But for this work? No thanks.
Very Opaque, Semi-Matte, Thick.

#7 : Liquitex Acrylic Gouache

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I adore this new paint! I love how thick, creamy, opaque and matte it dries. It rivaled the DecoArt in how it took other media over it too! The only downside? At this cost, even in a larger bottle, I’d rather save it for work I can sell, and keep it out of my coloring books.

Still, I can see it being very useful for mixed media application in my own personal work, and it’s a joy to use. So I’m super excited to have it in my collection.

The only downside with this application beyond the price was the thickness of the paint (usually a benefit in some uses) – it was too thick to be able to easily spread right from the tube, and needed to be mixed with water to get a creamy, smooth linework application. This means the opacity will be diluted some, and thus makes it less ideal than the cheaper DecoArt.

Very Opaque, Very Matte, Thick.

The conclusion

I’m ranking these in my order of favorites for this purpose:

Gold Medal: DecoArt Americana Craft Acrylic Paint
Silver Medal: Liquitex Professional Acrylic Gouache
Bronze Medal: Winsor and Newton Designer Gouache

While there’s no right or wrong way, I’ve made my choice based on this experiment! I hope my findings also help you determine what paint will work best for you!