Aron Kravits - Artist Website
Aug 18

Gouache painting – types, properties and important tips

Gouache painting

Have you ever seen excellent gouache painting of famous artist? Or maybe you even want to try yourself and to create some paintings? Most of us are accustomed to apply to gouache lightly. It is believed that this material is only suitable for the decoration the works and children’s creativity and to consider it as a serious material for painting can’t be normal. Although in the Middle Ages in Europe, this material was widely used in the writing of the thumbnails, not just for the preparatory and sketch works. In Russia, in the late 19th and early 20th century, gouache was used for creating major works of easel painting. It was the period of development and establishment of gouache.
Artists who could deal with this “not serious” material created wonderful, elegant, unique, velvety artworks. Particularly remarkable, that using gouache, it manages to convey a unique atmosphere of dusk and dawn misty landscapes.
In principle, gouache – is an opaque watercolor. To work with gouache it has no need for special thinners and drying accelerators, like when working with oil. Drawing with gouache, there is no need to think about the different aids (such as drying retarders, modeling pastes, paints, etc.). Gouache is a universal art material that allows, with paint, water and paper to learn art techniques which are common to other materials. You can draw highly diluted gouache watercolors, and can master writing techniques which are peculiar to the noble oil. Painting gouache is comfortable, it has no odor, does not require working process with solvents, it makes it easy to make changes to the drawing, and does not require any special surface for painting (canvas, primer, etc.). That is why it is very popular in the children’s creativity and is widely used by beginning artists. Landscape gouache was painted by everyone of use, wasn’t it? Gouache is good as for beginners and for the professional artists as well.

Types of gouache

• Art gouache is a powdered pigment with the addition of distilled water, whiting and gum. This gouache has excellent opacity, matte, velvety and perfectly fits to the art surface. For this type of paint ideal work surface is watercolor paper, stained paper. The first coat of paint is absorbed into the surface of the art, creating something like the ground. This allows you to paint a better hold on the working surface.
• Poster gouache is a conventional gouache with the only exception that instead of white paints kaolin is used. This makes the paint more vivid and dense.
• Gouache for children’s creativity contains gum instead of expensive PVA glue. This makes the paint to be less plastic and it dries quickly. However, this makes it more resistant for shattering, and abrasion. The paint is suitable not only for paper, but also for plywood, ceramic and linen, which cannot be primed with special primer (as in the case of art gouache). PVA in the composition becomes excellent gouache fixative and successfully replaces the special soil. Child’s gouache painting pleases the eye and the heart of the parents.
• Some manufacturers, with the advent of acrylic art, began to produce acrylic gouache. This gouache painting is suitable for any surface, and after completed process of drying it is not washed off with water.

                                                                                                       Properties of gouache and features of colors

Many people consider that gouache is not easy to draw. If you previously painted mostly in watercolor, then you need to remember a few rules to get the same amazing result when working with gouache to get wonderful gouache panting.
Gouache is not transparent and contains white. This means that you need to paint from dark to light, and not vice versa. That is, to determine the composition and the color scheme, you need to start with a darker paint colors and light patches and dark color accents are placed at the end of work.
In order to avoid confusion in the possibility of mixing colors and shades, as well as not to bungle the color for the shadows, it is better to have an idea of the color circle, which is used by the artists. Colors which are lying in adjacent sectors of a circle are mixed with each other without formation of sludge and to take better color shades of the opposite sector. This color is added in the required amount in the fundamental tone. Most often, an image shade blue, green or purple tones are taken. Black tone can’t be added to the image of shadows anyway. You cannot use the black for a darker tone of the same color; you do not darken the tone and get the dirt.

One more tips

In addition you should know that gouache dries quickly. If you make a mistake, you cannot correct it until gouache does not dry out. In case of violation of this rule you will get smeared smudge. To make changes and corrections to the drawing you need to wait for the complete drying process of the layer of gouache. Typically, the drying time depends on the thickness of the layer gouache; it ranges from 30 minutes to 3 hours. When gouache dries out, the process of making the changes is easy. We just need to wet the brush in warm, clean water from the pigment, gently squeeze it with a dry rag and lightly wipe the paint in place of the mistake. Similarly, you can feather too-clear outline of the drawn object.

While mixing colors is necessary to take into account that the wet gouache is brighter. Once it dries, it becomes whiter due to the presence therein of chalk. Therefore, you should always choose the colors more vivid than the ones you want to see in the final work. Only in this way you will get really professional and beautiful gouache painting.

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