Core Skills: gouache

Laura Bi­fano con­tin­ues her se­ries in ex­plor­ing the idio­syn­cra­sies of gouache, ex­plain­ing colour-lay­er­ing ba­sics and how to avoid some com­mon pit­falls

ImagineFX - - Issue 153 November 2017 -

Laura Bi­fano ex­plains colour-lay­er­ing ba­sics and how to avoid com­mon pit­falls.

The won­der­ful thing about gouache is its ver­sa­til­ity. Un­like wa­ter­colour, it can be used in trans­par­ent washes or can be built up in thick painterly lay­ers. But un­like say, oils and acrylics, lay­er­ing can be a bit more tricky.

One of the most chal­leng­ing things about work­ing in gouache is know­ing how colours will be­have when lay­ered on top of one an­other. Like any medium, a bit of trial and er­ror is re­quired be­fore get­ting a grasp on the be­hav­iours of the paint. Not only does the paint dry a shade or two lighter or darker than when ap­plied, but of­ten colours can lift off the pa­per and bleed into each stroke laid down on top. Although it can be more for­giv­ing than wa­ter­colour, if you’re not care­ful then your val­ues can fall into the mid­dle range, re­sult­ing in a chalky-look­ing im­age.

Fur­ther­more, gouache also comes with all the chal­lenges of work­ing in any wa­ter-based medium. Of­ten the mois­ture in both the pa­per and brush –as well as the vis­cos­ity of the paint it­self – will af­fect how each brush stroke falls on the pa­per.

Here, I’ll demon­strate how cer­tain colours in­ter­act with one an­other, some cheats, some com­mon mis­takes and how to avoid them, and the pros and cons of work­ing trans­par­ently/opaquely.

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