Using Gouache

April 28, 2020

Jane recommends trying Gouache – saying “Gouache is a great medium not to be overlooked or passed by. Have a go and see what it’s like for yourself.

Designers Goauche

Designers gouache, now when I first used this medium I was doing graphic design at Loughborough College of Art back in “the day”.

I’d never heard of gouache before and I learnt all about it during our typography lessons.

What is typography?

Typography may be defined as the theory and practice of letter and typeface design.

So it’s an art concerned with design elements that can be applied to the letters and text on a printed page.

This picture is an example of typography.

typography example

What is gouache?

Gouache is an opaque version of watercolour and can be used like watercolour by diluting with water to use as washes to give a softer more translucent colour. You can also use gouache like acrylic by using it straight out of the tube without thinning and you get a much stronger opaque colour.

Gouache has good coverage thanks to the fact that is opaque.

This example shows the depth of colour when the gouache is used like an acrylic straight from the tube.

gouache used like an acrylic

Opaqueness of the paint

The reason why we used gouache is because of the opaqueness of the paint and the flat finish. For one of our projects we had to design a pub sign and all the letter heads by tracing the letters individually to create a design and then paint in gouache.

This example is a design for a radio 5 logo using typography and gouache.

typography and gouache

Gouache on cartridge paper

Once I discovered gouache I went on to use it when I started a illustration course in Leicester after finishing at Loughborough college and used gouache on cartridge paper for this painting of a house.

gouache on cartridge paper

Watering down Gouache

In this book illustration I used gouache watered down for a softer effect as the picture didn’t need stronge colours.

gouache watered down for soft effect

Lastly, this bear was painted using gouache watered down for the slightly soft effect for the fur although it still has a strong colour and works really well with the fur.

teddy painted with watered-down gouache

Gadsby’s sell Designers Gouache from both Winsor & Newton and Daler Rowney. The paint comes in tubes of two sizes 14ml and 36ml and prices for the smaller tubes start at around £5.75 with the larger being £10.85  (prices correct at time of publishing this article).

Jane is a member of the Gadsby’s team. She has a wide knowledge of the arts & crafts products and materials sold by Gadsby’s both from the perspective of an advisor in the shop and, for many of the products, from personal use too.

Please note that this is not a service that Gadsbys offer to clients – just an example of the private work done by one of the highly skilled and knowledgable Gadsby’s team shown for your interest.


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