What is gouache paint?
It is a kind of watermedia, very similar to watercolor, but opaque. Used mostly in an opaque painting style.
There are lot more reasons why you should give gouache a try. I will only mention 5, which were very surprising or attractive to me. If you have never tried painting with gouache before, I hope I will convince you to do it. It is really great medium, and it doesn’t bite 🙂 If you have a big experience in using this technique – you can watch how I use them, and what I consider the biggest advantages of it.
I tried gouache in my preschool. It was first painting I have ever used and my experience with it was awful! Not only because I didn’t use to use it. I wanted to paint with them like I drew with color pencils, was so impatient that I tried to paint details wet on wet, and so unhappy that I didn’t create masterpieces with it!
I was only 6 but my expectations were very high 🙂 But I also didn’t like dull, muddy colors of gouache. Didn’t like it at all!
It was one of cheaper paint set so also the texture was terrible.
The first trials with gouache were so hopeless that I didn’t like to use any paintings through my whole school period at all. So many wasted years!
And all that I needed was another trial with better paints…
In high school I gave oils and acrylics a try, in my college years I discovered watercolors again. But poor, forgotten gouache have to wait for their turn till the last year!
I saw a lot of great illustrators and painter using them recently ( Audra, Nathan Fawkes) and, as usual, I felt envy 🙂 Envy can be the wonderful feeling when you can use it in right way (it is the theme for the different post). I thought – ok it is time to face demons of my childhood 😉
5 reasons you should try to paint with gouache
I bought many Talens gouache paints. The colors were very vivid and consistency looked also good. Because I used to paint with watercolors my first struggles with different medium weren’t satisfying, but I caught the drift rather quickly. Now I just love to paint with gouache, and here are the 5 reasons why…
1. You can go wild with the sketch
When I am sketching before watercolor painting I draw very thin and accurate lines. There is no room for mistakes – meshed up lines will be visible under the watercolor paint.
With gouache, there is no need to worry! Sketch can be bold and messy – it doesn’t matter. They are much more opaque – the more paint you will get, the less water you will mix – the more opaque paint will be. It can easily cover all inaccurate sketch lines, so I can make spontaneous sketches without a fear. Also, the sketch lines can look very interesting if you leave it a bit translucent
2. It can behave like watercolors
If the paint will be much diluted with water it will be very watercolor a-like. You can create a lot of transparent layers that way, let different colors spread and mixed on wet paper and creating interesting textures just like watercolors do. But if you use it that way you should also remember of watercolor rule nr 1 9lighter paint won’t be visible on darker). Gouache also is dring much faster than watercolors do.
3. It can behave like acrylics or oils
Everything depends on how much water you add to it. With a lot of paint and only a bit of water, you can create thick opaque layers. That means you can paint with a lighter shade on a darker. Bright details on darker background look so whimsical and interesting!
4. You can ALWAYS fix mistakes
Not only after few minutes, but also after hours, days or months!
Incredible! The water always activates the layer of paint and any corrections can be made easily. This advantage can also be a minus when you are not careful enough and unintentionally activate with water finished area. So be careful!
5. You can draw on a top of gouache!
It is so easy! I often use color pencils to add more detail or make edges shapes more sharpen. You can use also soft pastels, oil pastels, mixed it with other water-based paints like watercolors, acrylics, tempera. Gouache is a wonderful technique for mixed media works!
Painting process of Girl in The Garden
I was inspired by one if Instagram talented girls who sew historical clothes. Vorago Rerum looks so beautiful in her white dress in the garden, that I couldn’t help myself. I just grabbed pencils and paints and did this gouache illustration.
I used light creamy brown paper – the lighter shades look so great on it!
1. I started with the sketch with sepia color pencil
2. I added light layers of gouaches with a lot of water – working similar to a watercolor process. After lighter colors, I added darker greens and left areas which I wanted to be light – without paint
3. I painted darker areas with more paint than water, what made them more opaque and good background for lighter paint which I will add later on.
4. I used my flat brush painting with it in various directions to achieve a variety of strokes and simulate leaves.
5. I used white with a bit of orange and blue for skin and her dress. I didn’t add water much so the paint is opaque.
6. For highlights, I went with a smaller brush and white paint.
7. I added more details on hair and the dress with dark, opaque brown and created more depth on the background with dark green.
8. To make the whole Illustration more detailed I used soft color pencils on a dried sketch.
And that’s it!
I hope you feel more motivated to invite gouache to your workroom!
Let me know what your thoughts and experience with them are!
Feel free to ask me anything.
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And just have fun!