If you’ve been following along with me on my blog or social media, you may have picked up that I have been enjoying playing with gouache. Gouache is an opaque watercolour, and I have been excited to explore the properties of gouache in comparison to my usual watercolours. I’ve mainly been using a tube of white gouache to mix with my traditional watercolours. I use this gouache not only for painting as I have done today but also it is excellent for adding white highlights – I find it much more opaque than a white gel pen for example, and I also love to use it to add white splatters to a background. I was keen to expand my collection and try some colours in tubes rather than mixing my own all the time, and I spotted two sets of gouache from American Crafts (Set 1 and Set 2) in collaboration with Katie Rodgers otherwise known as Paper Fashion, and I’ll be using these tubes of gouache along with the Winsor & Newton Permanent White today. In the video below, I look a little closer at these American Crafts sets and gouache in general. I’ve linked all supplies at the end of this post. Compensated affiliate links used where possible at no cost to you.
Watch below or in HD on YouTube.
SCENE BUILDING WITH GOUACHE
For today’s card, I’m using the lovely New Home set from Wplus9 which has matching dies too. There is a range of different images to build a front door scene. I’ve spotted a few great examples using this set where the door is the focal point, front and centre and so today to mix things up a little I wanted to offset the door to one side and include the bench from the set.
I used Arches Hot Pressed watercolour card for its smooth texture and the Mini Misti to enable me to double stamp each image to get a good impression in the light ink I’m using. I stamped each of the elements, masking them where necessary so that the foremost images appear at the front to those further back. Now, if you want to skip this process, you could stamp each of the images separately and then use the matching dies to cut them out. Then after painting, you could build your scene up with foam tape and such. I do like the dimension that this type of scene creates, but for this card I wanted the images to blend seamlessly from one to another, and so I took that extra time to stamp and mask as required until I finally had a full scene all stamped in the light ink and ready for painting.
I painted the majority of this piece of card, but because gouache doesn’t require you to use lots of water then I didn’t need to tape the card down to prevent it warping, however, I did use the Wendy Vecchi Stay-tion to keep my card in place and prevent it from swizzling around all the time and making those watching the video travel sick!
The painting of this card did take a while, partially because I’m still new to gouache and so I’m working some things out by trial and error and partly because I’m terrible for keeping fiddling with something until I’m happy with it. However, all the time was worth it because I enjoyed myself and learnt a lot from the process and a bonus is that I like the finished card too.
When I’m painting with gouache, I like to get a block of flat colour down first and then go back in and add shadows, highlights and texture afterwards. At this point, it really does feel like colouring by numbers where you have that pale outline as a guide to paint and then adding each colour. However, hopefully, by the end of this card, it will look a bit better than that. That’s what all that fiddling around and adding details does for me, it takes it from a flat image and adds life.
I mentioned earlier that I’m not using much water with the gouache, and I’ve found that the consistency of the gouache is vital. If you don’t use enough water then the mixture will be thick, gloopy and challenging to paint with – lines won’t be straight, not that mine usually are anyway, but it will be harder to get smooth lines. If you use too much water though, you’ll lose the opacity of the gouache, and so it’s the middle ground that is just right, a sort of light creamy consistency that has the opacity but is also easy enough to paint. I do find that as the mixture is thicker than a standard watercolour mix that I need to use a smaller sized brush and I used a size 1 round throughout.
The opacity of gouache was vital in fixing the plant pot on the left of the bench. When I stamped it I didn’t line it up correctly with the bench, and it appeared as if it is floating in mid-air, but once I realised this, I was able to paint over the bench leg to make the pot taller and so correct my mistake. In fact, I quite often painted over areas where I’d gone outside of the lines or didn’t like what I’d put down. Gouache is really forgiving like that. I also added a second flower pot and a plant behind it, and I think these helped to balance the card out more until then the right-hand side was looking a bit bare.
After adding variation over the flat blocks of colour by incorporating strokes of lighter and darker tones and often with a dry brush to get the effect of texture I then sharpened up a few of the lines and bought in deeper shadows with Faber Castell pencils. I will say that I find it harder to be precise with gouache, but I like the more painterly look that I get as a result and need to embrace this looser style more. I finished off the painting with a few highlights with the white gouache and then returned the piece to the Misti to stamp the welcome greeting from the New Home set on the doormat in Versafine Onyx Black ink. The greeting was standing out as a little stark in comparison to the painting, and so I muddied it up a little with some paint over the top.
I stamped a coordinating greeting in clear embossing ink on black card and white heat embossed before trimming to a banner with a ribbon end. I then attached this sentiment strip with foam adhesive to the card front and then attached the panel to a card base cut and scored from a grey card.
You can find links to the supplies I’ve used below; click on the picture or shop icon to get taken directly to the product. Where available I use compensated affiliate links which means if you make a purchase I receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. Thank you! Items marked with an asterisk (*) were provided by a store or the manufacturer. You can read my affiliate and product disclosure here. I genuinely appreciate your support.
Summary of the project which gives all the views of the card in one photo :D I’d love if you pinned and called by on Pinterest :D