Home Drawing Portray With Gouache, 6 Suggestions for Success

Portray With Gouache, 6 Suggestions for Success


Oh, My Gouache!

Study from a watercolor artist’s firsthand expertise and discover out her prime tricks to get began portray with gouache. Right here is all the things it’s essential know to grasp the artwork of gouache!

Simply one of many useful articles you’ll discover within the Summer time 2023 concern of Watercolor Artist, which you could find right here.

In maturity, most of our studying experiences happen exterior of a faculty or classroom. Lately, a lot of the brand new info we absorb is picked up on-line, in podcasts or on social media. In my expertise, nonetheless, nothing can take the place of hands-on studying and experimentation. Particularly in relation to a brand new curiosity or interest, we are able to typically fast-track the method by studying from the trials and tribulations of our friends.

I’m predominantly a watercolor painter and teacher, however not too long ago discovered myself interested in gouache. Its gentle but opaque colours, and the seeming abandon within the brushstroke software with out concern about transparency, piqued my curiosity. I’m excited to share a few of what I realized from my firsthand observations, which is able to hopefully ease the educational curve must you be contemplating a foray into the world of opaque watercolor.

Gouache is a wonderful medium for plein air painters and concrete sketchers. It’s thicker than watercolor, requires much less water and doesn’t drip as a lot.

Gouache Observations

Commentary No. 1

Being the systematic practitioner I’m, I elected to start my gouache journey by portray easy shade swatches. The medium’s creamy consistency requires extra color-mixing effort than watercolor. I shortly labored my approach across the shade wheel, gaining a way of blending and brush software methods. The joy of this experimentation crammed me with childlike pleasure.

I used to be keen to maneuver ahead instantly and put the colour combos to work for a full-fledged portray. As an alternative, I compelled myself to proceed these exploratory workouts by creating a number of 2×2-inch thumbnails in a sketchbook—an thought I borrowed from animation artist Nathan Fowkes. This gave me the chance to familiarize myself with the varied mixes, give attention to the general course of and observe the medium’s drying time.

Via my experimentation, I realized that including white gouache to the bottom pigments produces enticing pastel colours. It additionally turns the brush-cleaning water milky, nonetheless, and milky water used to combine different colours makes the whole portray chalky. This taught me the significance of wiping the paint off the comb on a paper towel earlier than rinsing the comb in water.

Gouache 1
It’s necessary to get a really feel for gouache’s opacity and thickness via color-mixing workouts.
Gouache 2
I painted 24 2-inch sq. landscapes to grow to be acquainted with the medium’s distinctive properties shortly.

Commentary No. 2

After experimenting with the 2-inch squares, I used to be prepared to extend the format dimension—and discover the proper substrate for doing so. Gouache is surprisingly versatile in relation to the portray floor. I began my gouache journey in a sketchbook and have since experimented on mixed-media boards, canvas paper and even desk coasters.

Every dimension and substrate has its advantages. The 8×10-inch mixed-media artboards I used are stiff and don’t require backing, making them excellent for portray on the go. Plus, the boards match completely in glass-free floater frames for a 3D impact. This reduces the burden and the price of the whole portray manufacturing (though the gouache will seemingly require just a few varnished layers for gross sales functions).

Canvas paper and stretched canvas, in the meantime, are made for acrylics and oils, making them appropriate surfaces for gouache. The canvas provides a pretty oil painting-like texture that’s very best for the thicker pigment dabs of gouache initially wanted to seize the tooth. I discovered that if the paint didn’t adhere uniformly to the canvas, pre-painting the floor with diluted paint helped.

As for compactness, I decided that slicing sheets of canvas paper into smaller sizes meant that within the area required for one mixed-media board, I may carry 5 canvas paper sheets.

Gouache 3
Gouache 4

Canvas paper and stretched canvas are very best substrates for gouache.

Commentary No. 3

The subsequent eureka second occurred once I realized that I may use cheap brushes for my gouache work. I grabbed the fundamental stiff interest brushes from my kids’s portray units and have used them ever since. This protects cash—and reduces anxiousness when touring.

Since I exploit a paper towel to wipe my brushes, the water reservoir I carry is as small because the clip-on buckets for oil portray. A sketchbook, an hermetic palette, two stiff brushes (stiffer than conventional watercolor brushes) and a clip-on water reservoir make the package extraordinarily moveable and parenting-friendly.

I additionally journey with an especially versatile and handy watercolor portray package, however the good thing about gouache over watercolor is that it’s much less “drippy.” I’m capable of work on extra portray surfaces with out the fear of dirtying them.

Goucahe 5
A lodge ironing board turns into a makeshift studio area when touring.

Commentary No. 4

Portray a collection permits me to experiment. I wished to learn to management the saturation of colours, so I repeated the scene with full-strength colours and slowly moved them towards grey. I wished my eyes to get used to seeing the various grays in my gouache palette and construct my capacity to intuit how they’d look within the closing portray.

I created the identical pastoral scene a number of instances, working from full-strength shade towards shades of grey, to grow to be acquainted with gouache shade saturation.

Commentary No. 5

Inadvertently, I realized that as a result of I can paint a lighter gouache pigment over a darker one, I can work from bigger shapes to smaller ones. The time gained by that is misplaced, although, within the mixing of the paint. As a watercolor painter, I really feel the time distinction acutely, as transferring from the palette to paper, when portray in watercolor, is a fast occasion, whereas gouache requires extra time. Getting used to this delay was annoying initially, nevertheless it’s simply a part of the method.

Similar to including whites makes enticing opaque colours, including grays of various values
produces enticing darks which might be typically troublesome to regulate in conventional watercolors.

Commentary No. 6

Utilizing poor-quality masking tape can mar the whole portray when lifted, so working with high quality tape is significant. I like to recommend Nichiban artist’s tape.

Inferior masking tape causes post-painting heartache.

Artist’s Toolkit

Your Flip

I counsel you put together a number of substrates of the identical dimension and tape them on prime of each other so you possibly can shortly peel every one off as you full a portray. You’ll get used to gouache’s tackiness, learn to wield brush management and navigate the disappearance of your preliminary sketch as a result of paint’s opacity extra shortly whenever you make just a few fast work in succession.

I’ve arrange a number of sheets of paper so I can shortly transfer from one portray to a different.

Gouache, Darn It

Utilizing an opaque medium received’t refine your clear watercolor abilities, however it may possibly assist you develop and strengthen your portray “muscle reminiscence.” A lot of my watercolor college students wrestle to make thick watercolor mixes on their palettes. I attempt to encourage the muscle reminiscence of blending thick paint and experiencing the required subsequent tackiness.

Gouache, owing to its chemical properties, ensures that artists begin with pigments at most viscosity, which may then be diluted with substantial quantities of water. This course of builds muscle reminiscence within the portray hand—and is one thing that may’t be taught by phrases alone.

Simply one of many useful articles you’ll discover within the Summer time 2023 concern of Watercolor Artist, which you could find right here.

Meet the Artist

Uma Kelkar, from San Jose, Calif., who has a background in engineering, refers to herself as an “artist-engineer combo.” The artist and workshop teacher is a Signature Member of the Nationwide Watercolor Society, the California Watercolor Affiliation and the Canadian Society of Painters in Water Color. She has received a number of artistic awards, and her work might be discovered at umakelkar.com, @umapaints on Instagram and @UmaKelkar on YouTube.

Extra Nice Gouache Content material


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here