Posted tagged ‘gouache’

Beefing Up Gouache Palette and Brushes

June 26, 2017

One of the fairly local art supply places has a big sale on so I added four more colours to my gouache palette. While fiddling around doing decorative initials and drop caps on my Manner and Material blog, I realized that it was either too laborious to mix certain colours or mixing used too much white, so I bought these on sale. The Winsor Violet cost a lot but it will be so useful and I felt lost without Burnt Sienna. Opera Rose was an indulgence and the Olive Green is one I use quite a bit in regular watercolours so it made sense to buy a tube of gouache in that colour too.


While browsing Instagram and looking at people’s watercolours, I saw one woman mention the Escoda Versàtil brand of synthetic sable brushes as being great and holding up to lots of mixing. To date, I have only used relatively inexpensive brushes that don’t last very long, but these Escoda brushes were on sale so I bought a #4 and a #6 round. I use those most often and could only afford two so this was my decision. I will take good care of them!






Don’t Struggle With Cheap Gouache!

December 16, 2016

Over the last 15 years or so, I’ve been struggling now and then to use my set of Reeves gouache. It’s great for beginner’s having a fiddle with a medium they aren’t sure about, but they are quite chalky and the colour quality isn’t that great.


Gouache is strange to work with because it dries so fast, but also enticing because of its opaque qualities and coverage. It has a creamy consistency that is interesting and a matte finish which looks and feels good.

So this week I hauled out my tube of white gouache to use on a graphite picture for highlights, and the tube is almost empty, and I said to myself “Why are you still struggling with this little set?” I like gouache, I have plans to use it in my new sketchbook project, and try it out more on darker colours of Canson Mi-Teintes paper which I love, but this grade of gouache is something that’s pointless when I need a better quality of paint that will help me improve my art.

I gave up the struggle and bought a set of ten artist quality gouache tubes from Winsor & Newton. Oh man, I could have picked out 20 individual tubes and got just the right colours, but the cost would have been close to $200, whereas the set was $73 and I bought an extra tube of Permanent White which uses titanium in the mix rather than the Zinc White that comes in the set.


Chemicals in paint: Zinc White mixes well with other colours, Titanium White likes to be on its own, creating highlights and drawing things on Mi-Teintes paper, alone, alone, alone. Who am I to argue?

I hadn’t planned to buy any art supplies for Christmas, but it happened. I’m excited after several months of pain from a shoulder impingement, to gear up a bit and start drawing and painting again. I still have pain but can manage 30 minutes a day as long as I wear a tendon cuff and don’t overdo it.

Sally Warner, in her book Making Room for Making Art, describes herself and others grabbing 10 to 15 minutes of art creation time a day as their lives allow, and creating wonderful art.

I’m with Sally.







Gouache Test Swatches in Stillman and Birn Gamma Sketchbook

April 1, 2013

If I wasn’t convinced before, this will do it. My older sketchbook would have buckled like mad with this amount of paint and water, even though it is slightly heavier paper. As well as laying down test swatches, I did a small side border inspired by a segment of a woven tapestry by artist Jennie Moncur that I saw in a library book this morning.


It took me a while to get used to the chalkiness and opacity of the gouache, and I wasn’t able to mix the colour exactly as I wanted, but I like the whimsy of the illustration. Gouache is way heavier than regular watercolours, but charming for illustrations. I could see myself using it for other borders on sketchbook pages.

And that Gamma sketchbook is pretty neat to work in. I had no idea it was going to be this good. In fact I was a bit disappointed in a “Is that all there is?” way when I first opened it and flipped through to bend open the pages and get it lying flat. There really is an excellent quality to the paper that needs to be worked on to understand. I saw a lot of reviews with text samples in different inks, which is important, but if you’re going to draw and paint in it, you will be amazed at how well it handles, even at 100 lb weight.

The blue/back background of the border is quite dark but there is no bleed through with it either. I did notice when I was inking over the image that my Pitt pen didn’t like going over the gouache. I think the paint reconstitutes so easily that the wetness of the pen moistened it enough to clog the pen action somewhat. If I left it for a few seconds it bounced back, but something to remember for future projects. I could probably do a thin coat of Krylon workable fixative. I will try it tomorrow after it has dried well. Update: I sprayed it lightly three times with the Krylon Workable Fixative and it worked well. Instead of a dry, chalky texture the paint now feels smooth, but it didn’t change the colour or make it shiny.