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Aquarelle vs. Watercolour: What's the Difference?

Edited by Sumera Saeed || By Sawaira Riaz || Updated on October 9, 2023
Aquarelle refers specifically to a transparent watercolor painting technique, while Watercolour encompasses the broader category of painting with pigmented water-based solutions.

Key Differences

Aquarelle and Watercolour are terms used in the realm of art, often interchanged but with subtle distinctions. Aquarelle is a French word directly translating to "watercolor." However, in English, it refers more specifically to a transparent watercolor technique or the artwork created using this technique. On the other hand, Watercolour, an English term, broadly describes the medium of water-based, transparent paints as well as the artwork made with them.
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 09, 2023
Aquarelle emphasizes purity and clarity in the art, where the white of the paper shines through the paint layers. This contrasts with some Watercolour techniques where the paint might be made more opaque or mixed with other mediums.
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 09, 2023
The term Aquarelle might be seen as a subset within the larger Watercolour category. That is, all Aquarelle works are Watercolours, but not all Watercolours are necessarily created using the Aquarelle technique.
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 09, 2023
Brushes, papers, and paints used for both may largely overlap. However, an artist claiming to use the Aquarelle technique would likely prioritize transparency and the use of untouched paper for highlights. Meanwhile, a Watercolour artist might use a broader range of techniques, including layering, glazing, or even adding gouache (an opaque watercolor paint) to the mix.
Aimie Carlson
Oct 09, 2023
While both Aquarelle and Watercolour enjoy widespread popularity, recognizing the distinction can enhance appreciation for the technique, transparency, and intention behind each piece of art.
Harlon Moss
Oct 09, 2023
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Comparison Chart

Origin

French in origin
Generic English term
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 09, 2023

Scope

Specific transparent watercolor technique
Broad category of water-based paints & art
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 09, 2023

Transparency

Prioritizes pure transparency
Can range from transparent to somewhat opaque
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 09, 2023

Technique

Emphasizes untouched paper for highlights
Can use varied techniques, including layering and glazing
Harlon Moss
Oct 09, 2023

Artistic Intention

Highlights the clarity of water-based paints on paper
Emphasizes the broad spectrum of effects with water-based paints
Janet White
Oct 09, 2023
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Aquarelle and Watercolour Definitions

Aquarelle

An artwork created using transparent watercolor.
She admired the Aquarelle for its luminous quality.
Janet White
Oct 09, 2023

Watercolour

Can be made more opaque with mixing mediums.
She added gouache to her Watercolour to achieve a denser look.
Janet White
Oct 09, 2023

Aquarelle

The use of untouched paper for highlights in watercolor art.
Aimie Carlson
Oct 09, 2023

Watercolour

Transparent or semi-transparent art medium.
The Watercolour paints allowed for layering and blending of colors.
Aimie Carlson
Oct 09, 2023

Aquarelle

A transparent watercolor painting technique.
The artist's use of Aquarelle allowed the paper's brightness to shine through.
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 09, 2023

Watercolour

Artworks created using water-based solutions.
The gallery had an exclusive Watercolour exhibition.
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 09, 2023

Aquarelle

Emphasizing purity and clarity in watercolor painting.
The Aquarelle technique demands precision and patience from the artist.
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 09, 2023

Watercolour

A painting method using water-soluble pigments.
The Watercolour landscape captured the light beautifully.
Harlon Moss
Oct 09, 2023

Aquarelle

French term referring specifically to watercolor.
In France, the term Aquarelle is synonymous with watercolor painting.
Sara Rehman
Oct 09, 2023

Watercolour

A broad category of water-based paint techniques.
He experimented with various Watercolour techniques in his notebook.
Janet White
Oct 09, 2023

Aquarelle

A painting done in transparent watercolors.
Sawaira Riaz
Mar 11, 2023

Watercolour

(countable) A water-soluble pigment.
Jim's aunt only uses watercolours to paint her pictures.
Sawaira Riaz
Mar 11, 2023

Aquarelle

A watercolour painting
Sawaira Riaz
Mar 11, 2023

Watercolour

(countable) A painting made by using such pigment.
Jim's aunt paints beautiful watercolours.
Sawaira Riaz
Mar 11, 2023

Aquarelle

A printed picture coloured by the application of watercolour through stencils, using a different stencil for each colour.
Sawaira Riaz
Mar 11, 2023

Watercolour

(uncountable) This kind of painting as a genre.
I'm not a big fan of watercolour; I much prefer oil painting.
Sawaira Riaz
Mar 11, 2023

Aquarelle

A design or painting in thin transparent water colors; also, the mode of painting in such colors.
Sawaira Riaz
Mar 11, 2023

Watercolour

Pertaining to the methods or products of watercolor.
Sawaira Riaz
Mar 11, 2023

Watercolour

To paint using watercolour
Sawaira Riaz
Mar 11, 2023

Watercolour

Water-soluble pigment
Sawaira Riaz
Mar 11, 2023

Watercolour

A water-base paint (with water-soluble pigments); used by artists
Sawaira Riaz
Mar 11, 2023

Watercolour

A painting produced with watercolors
Sawaira Riaz
Mar 11, 2023

Watercolour

Paint with watercolors
Sawaira Riaz
Mar 11, 2023

FAQs

Emphasizing purity and clarity in watercolor painting.

The Aquarelle technique demands precision and patience from the artist.
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 09, 2023

An artwork created using transparent watercolor.

She admired the Aquarelle for its luminous quality.
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 09, 2023

A transparent watercolor painting technique.

The artist's use of Aquarelle allowed the paper's brightness to shine through.
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 09, 2023

Artworks created using water-based solutions.

The gallery had an exclusive Watercolour exhibition.
Sara Rehman
Oct 09, 2023

French term referring specifically to watercolor.

In France, the term "Aquarelle" is synonymous with watercolor painting.
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 09, 2023

The use of untouched paper for highlights in watercolor art.

The Aquarelle approach lets the artist utilize natural paper whiteness for bright areas.
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 09, 2023

A painting method using water-soluble pigments.

The Watercolour landscape captured the light beautifully.
Sara Rehman
Oct 09, 2023

A broad category of water-based paint techniques.

He experimented with various Watercolour techniques in his notebook.
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 09, 2023

Is Aquarelle a French term?

Yes, Aquarelle is French for "watercolor."
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 09, 2023

Are the materials for Aquarelle and Watercolour similar?

Yes, brushes, papers, and paints often overlap, though techniques and intentions can differ.
Aimie Carlson
Oct 09, 2023

What is the key characteristic of Aquarelle?

Aquarelle emphasizes purity, clarity, and the use of untouched paper for highlights.
Aimie Carlson
Oct 09, 2023

Can I call any Watercolour painting an Aquarelle?

Not necessarily. While all Aquarelles are Watercolours, the reverse isn't true due to the transparency associated with Aquarelle.
Harlon Moss
Oct 09, 2023

Transparent or semi-transparent art medium.

The Watercolour paints allowed for layering and blending of colors.
Janet White
Oct 09, 2023

What is Aquarelle in the context of art?

Aquarelle is a transparent watercolor painting technique or the artwork created using this method.
Aimie Carlson
Oct 09, 2023

How does Watercolour differ from Aquarelle?

Watercolour is a broader term for water-based painting, while Aquarelle specifies a transparent technique within this category.
Harlon Moss
Oct 09, 2023

Why might an artist choose Aquarelle over other Watercolour techniques?

For its transparent qualities, allowing the paper's brightness to shine through.
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 09, 2023

Is Aquarelle more challenging than regular Watercolour?

Both have their challenges, but Aquarelle requires precision due to its transparency.
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 09, 2023

Can I use gouache in Aquarelle?

While gouache can be used in Watercolour, it might detract from the pure transparency associated with Aquarelle.
Janet White
Oct 09, 2023

Do Watercolour paints vary in transparency?

Yes, Watercolours can range from transparent to somewhat opaque depending on composition and technique.
Janet White
Oct 09, 2023

Which is more popular, Aquarelle or Watercolour?

Watercolour as a broader category is more widely recognized, but Aquarelle has its dedicated followers for its specific technique.
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 09, 2023

Can Watercolour be opaque?

While traditionally transparent, Watercolours can be made more opaque, especially when mixed with mediums like gouache.
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 09, 2023

Is there a specific paper for Aquarelle?

While specific papers might be preferred, most quality Watercolour papers work well for Aquarelle.
Sara Rehman
Oct 09, 2023

How did Aquarelle come to represent a specific technique in English?

The term was borrowed from French and became associated with transparent watercolor techniques.
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 09, 2023

Can Aquarelle be mixed with other painting techniques?

While possible, mixing might compromise the transparency and purity characteristic of Aquarelle.
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 09, 2023

Is Watercolour always done on paper?

Mostly, but there are variations, like Watercolour canvas, that allow for this medium.
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 09, 2023

How can I differentiate an Aquarelle from other Watercolours?

Look for the transparent quality and use of untouched paper for highlights as hallmarks of Aquarelle.
Sara Rehman
Oct 09, 2023

Can an artwork be both Aquarelle and Watercolour?

Yes, all Aquarelles are Watercolours, but not all Watercolours are Aquarelles.
Sara Rehman
Oct 09, 2023

Can be made more opaque with mixing mediums.

She added gouache to her Watercolour to achieve a denser look.
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 09, 2023

Are Aquarelle paintings always transparent?

Aquarelle as a technique prioritizes transparency, using the paper itself for bright areas.
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 09, 2023

How does the term Watercolour vary globally?

The term and its spelling can vary, but its core meaning remains consistent as a water-based paint technique.
Harlon Moss
Oct 09, 2023
About Author
Written by
Sawaira Riaz
Sawaira is a dedicated content editor at difference.wiki, where she meticulously refines articles to ensure clarity and accuracy. With a keen eye for detail, she upholds the site's commitment to delivering insightful and precise content.
Edited by
Sumera Saeed
Sumera is an experienced content writer and editor with a niche in comparative analysis. At Diffeence Wiki, she crafts clear and unbiased comparisons to guide readers in making informed decisions. With a dedication to thorough research and quality, Sumera's work stands out in the digital realm. Off the clock, she enjoys reading and exploring diverse cultures.

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