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
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.