Beginner's Guide to Gouache Art with Tin Bejar
If you’re on social media at all you’ve probably seen the rise in popularity of gouache art. Gouache (pronounced “gwash”) is a water-based paint, like watercolor, that is opaque. In many ways it is like watercolor, however, gouache has many properties that make it unique. You can learn more about their differences in our blog post here.
We asked ambassador Tin Bejar to help us create the perfect beginner’s guide to gouache! Read on to learn about the materials and techniques you need to get started.
1. What are your favorite gouache supplies to use?
When painting with gouache I normally create multiple textures, so the brushes I prefer are the ones that aren’t too soft so I can better control them.
I use a Neptune Mottler when painting backgrounds, Heritage and Glacier Round brushes in size 4-6 for creating elements, Mini Detailer series for building textures and the Fan brush for painting botanical details.
For paint, I use Maimeri Gouache. It has a smooth, matte, and opaque finish. They’re great for easy application and dry exceptionally fast.
When painting gouache art, I normally use an artist-grade paper that is either cold-pressed or hot-pressed. My favorite to use Arches Aquarelle paper. I don’t use rough kinds of paper as it makes gouache painting more difficult. The thickness of the paper is essential as you work with multiple layers in painting with gouache. I would recommend using paper in 300 gsm or higher.
I do recommend using ceramic palettes as I find it easier to mix paints and easier to clean too!
2. Why do you love painting with gouache?
What I love about gouache is it can behave either as an acrylic or watercolor paint. Meaning I can play around with different paint opacities to achieve certain textures and effects in my artwork. It gives you the best of both worlds!
And since I consider painting as my therapy for the daily stresses of life, I love how it takes time to paint a single gouache artwork. It takes longer to work with, but I honestly enjoy the process of slowly building up layers, structures, and colors.
My style in watercolor normally requires sketching and heavy detailing so what I also love about gouache art is it enables me to explore painting loosely which allows me to paint freely and less controlled. It makes painting more relaxing and therapeutic for me.
3. What is your process for creating a gouache art piece?
As I consider myself a beginner in gouache, and still in the process of exploring the medium, I prefer painting landscapes. I normally paint in a cottage core aesthetic as it is usually composed of muted colors, plants, botanicals, and a dreamy subject. This is the kind of theme I’m accustomed to in my gouache landscapes.
I do choose a reference landscape photo first, analyze how I will paint the background, sketch elements, and slowly build color and structure. Lastly, I’ll finish my painting with lots of details to show more dimensions and definition of my elements.
4. What are some of your tips for beginners?
- Analyze your reference photo:
- Try to plan the sequence of how you will be painting your artwork. I start first by painting all background elements. I normally start with a darker color to provide more depth to my painting.
- I sketch the structures and elements to paint. I start with building the shape of these elements – start with its shadows and continue with its midtones.
- Next is adding highlights and a pop of color to better show dimension and textures.
- Last are the details. I add it last as I wanted to see how I build my colors and structures first before I finalize them with details. I sometimes use a white pen to further enhance my details too.
- Use multiple brushes and water cups:
- When I do gouache paintings, I always use multiple brushes and water cups as it’s harder to clean brushes compared to watercolor. And if you don’t clean your brushes well, you’d end up having a muddy color because of the various pigments mixed.
- I normally use bigger brushes at the start or my artwork and as I move onto different sections, I transition to using smaller brushes.
- Don’t wash your palettes:
- I don’t know if it’s just me, but I don’t clean my gouache palettes! What I love about gouache is that even if it gets dried up, you can easily activate it with water and it will still be as pigmented as getting paints straight from the tube. Another reason why I do not clean them is because my palettes contains the paint mixes that I normally use as my default colors in my gouache paintings. It allows me to have more time painting rather than preparing the paints that I will be using.
- Enjoy painting loosely:
- In gouache, it’s easier to make mistakes as you can layer as much as you want! As for me, I feel like I have more creative freedom in painting loosely. It’s a good approach for me as an artist because I get to explore a medium wherein, I get to have a different style in painting too – which makes my gouache artworks more interesting.
5. Where can we find more of your art?
Art Account Instagram: www.instagram.com/bytinb
Resin Merch Account Instagram: www.instagram.com/shopbytinb
We hope this guide is helpful to get you started with gouache art! Practice, experiment, and improvise to figure out which techniques suit you best! Share your creations with us on Instagram by using #princetonbrushes.