How to Paint With Gouache

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Gouache is a favorite medium among designers and illustrators due to its quick drying time. It can be used thin or thick to achieve many different painting styles. Follow the tips below for painting with gouache.

Things You'll Need

  • Paper
  • Gouache
  • Paintbrush
  • Paper towel
  • Water
  • Pencil
  • Purchase some gouache paint. It can be found for a reasonable price at most craft and art stores. If just beginning, don't invest too much money on a bunch of different colors or the best quality. The difference between low and high quality paints is that the cheaper paint doesn't flow quite as well because it had chalk in it.

  • Use the right paper. Watercolor paper is probably the best. Thick paper like cardstock will work also. Gouache may be painted on colored paper, but works best with light colors or white.

  • Mix the gouache with much water to use thinly for a wash. This is how watercolors are used, but the difference is that gouache is opaque and not transparent like watercolors. Unlike watercolors, gouache comes with a white paint that will need to be mixed to achieve lighter shades.

  • Use gouache as an under-layer for pastels. After sketching a picture lightly with pencil, fill in blocks of gouache for the undertones for chalk or oil pastels.

  • Mix gouache with minimal amounts of water to use like a thick impasto. A small amount of water still needs to be used to allow the gouache to move, but a certain amount of texture may be achieved by using it thickly.

  • Fix mistakes by wetting the area of the mistake on the paper. Wait for a few seconds, and then dab with a paper towel.

Tips & Warnings

  • If gouache is applied too thickly, it will eventually crack.

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