Expressive Landscapes in Gouache | Autumn Chiu | Skillshare

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Expressive Landscapes in Gouache

teacher avatar Autumn Chiu, Watercolorist & Instagram Artist

Watch this class and thousands more

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

8 Lessons (50m)
    • 1. Introduction!

    • 2. Materials

    • 3. Basics

    • 4. Warm Up

    • 5. Sketch

    • 6. Paint

    • 7. Details

    • 8. Ending! Share your project!

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About This Class

Gouache is a wonderful water-based medium to add to any watercolorist's arsenal!

In this class, you'll learn: 

  • Basic gouache techniques
  • Expressive brush movements
  • Create energetic gradients
  • Push contrast¬†
  • Softening harsh edges

I'm excited to see what you create!

Meet Your Teacher

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Autumn Chiu

Watercolorist & Instagram Artist


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1. Introduction!: Hi, everyone. My name is autumn. I'm an artist living outside Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and welcome to my first skill share class, and this one will be teaching you how to create an expressive landscape using wash at the end of it, I'm hoping that you become more confident and more comfortable with the medium as well as learned how to loosen up when you're painting and creating artwork. If you're interested in creating this painting or something similar to it using wash, keep on watching the lessons and be sure you leave your project in the project section of the class. 2. Materials: you need full class. First of all, we need wash, it comes into form. Typically, it really doesn't matter what brain to use for this class. Whatever you have will work. This is just to get you comfortable in feeling more loose and expressive with wash. So whatever you want to use is fine. I'm gonna be using our Teza M Graham and Daler Rowny. You could also choose to squeeze your tubes out into little pans. This makes it really portable and really easy to use. I'm not going to be using this just because I have the specific colors I need in pan form or in to perform. So that way you don't have to mix my colors to kind of save some time. But this is always an option to. So the next thing you need is something to paint on. You can pain in your sketchbook. This is mine. It's a great way to paint on the go or to have, like, a compilation of all of your paintings over the past couple of months in one place. This is how I mostly work. But because I'm showing you guys this in video format, I think we'll be working in a flatter way so you can work in a sketchbook. This is another sketchbook I have. It actually has drawing papers really thin buckles whenever you use what media on it, but it's pretty good for Gosh, it doesn't really believe through there's the other side, but, um, it's cheap and I don't feel like it's too precious to paint on, Which is why I think it's really great for studies. So if you don't have watercolor paper, that's OK. You can use drawing paper. Just know that some of the techniques might be a little different than if you used it on on watercolor paper. So for some little basic tips that I'm gonna be going over and the next part, I'm going to be using just some scrap paper. It doesn't have to be in book format. Um, I wanted to show you that literally anything you have will work. This is just some scrap watercolor paper I had in a drawer, so I'm gonna be using that to, and this is what I'm gonna be painting. The final image on this is arches. Rough watercolor paper. It comes in this block format, which means it's glued on all the sides and that makes it so it doesn't buckle while you're working. I'm not. I don't see that this is necessary at all. You don't really have to use anything this fancy, but I figured that this lays really flat and would be the best way to show you guys the techniques in a clear way. So that's why I'm gonna be using this. The next thing you're going to need is some brushes. So I find that these ones here, the cheap, synthetic flat brushes are the best ones to use. They're not precious, so you can really scrub the pain around without feeling guilty. Um, they hold a good amount of water, but nothing too much where your paint will be more of the consistency of watercolor. So I really highly recommend just go out, get a really cheap pack of flat brushes to use for this class. These ones here are watercolor brushes. I definitely don't suggest something like this because it will ruin the tip of your brush from scrubbing the paint. It also just holds way too much water. This here is a watercolor brush, but because it's a liner. Really thin brush. It's not gonna hold too much pain. I will say that I've ruined this brush with wash. Um, I honestly don't know what happened to it, but I would just kind of caution you maybe don't get something that's super pricey, like this one are. Teza makes thes really tiny liner brush is which I think would also be good for adding fine details. But and these aren't as important. I think that the main thing you want to get are those flat brushes. So you're also going to need a palate to make sure paint on. I have this ceramic one, but you can get a paper plate, a ceramic plate. Um, honestly, you can get anything. It really doesn't matter what you use, but you just need a place to mix your paints on. You're also going to need a pencil. Uh, an eraser would be good, too, but, you know, whatever. Um, I'm gonna be using some washi tape to tape off a border to give myself clean edges, but I honestly don't usually do this because I'm really lazy. So if you want to skip that, that's cool. You're gonna need two cups for water, one will have dirty water and one will have clean water. A rag to stop up any paint, um, or extra water to clean off your brushes. And I'm also going to be using a heat gun. This will just help drive a paint quicker because I'm really impatient. You can also use a hair dryer or, you know, if if you have more patients than I do, you can just wait. But yeah, I'll be using a heat gun. So now that you have all of your tools, we can go ahead and get started. 3. Basics: they want to dio when we are going over the basics of washes. Talk about consistency so you can use washing a very liquid state. It will be almost identical toe water colors. I don't think that that's the best way to use it. Just because it's not really playing up to the full advantage of wash Wash is supposed to be thicker. It's supposed to cover a lot of of area. It's opaque watercolor after also, um, but that doesn't mean that you can't use it that way. This here is a very thinned out wash, which I just put a tiny drop of the pain in a whole bunch of water, and you can tell already that it's really similar to watercolors. Um, the next way to use gosh is straight over the to this paint will be really thick. It'll be really concentrated and really dark. You'll see a lot of the tooth of the paper just because it is so thick and it's not getting into the crevices. But this is a great way to add final touches or details that you really want to come forward. But I also think that because this way uses a lot of pain and doesn't cover a lot of ground . It's not necessarily a great way to cover your whole painting. The best way in the way that I think, is the most effective to use squash is somewhere in the middle, so I'm gonna add some wash over here in this little square, and it has a good amount of water. It's almost like a honey consistency, maybe even a little thinner than that. But as you can see by this, it's a lot more vibrant. It's thicker, but it, um it's still covers a lot of ground, so I use it somewhere in between these two states. So the this will be typically my first couple of layers, Um, and then once I really get towards the end, I'll have thicker layers of paint so you can see the brushstrokes. But the next thing we're gonna talk about is what on what, which is when you put wet paint on top of wet pain. This creates a blurred edge, which is a really great thing to use for expressive painting. So I'm going to take some of this purple and, um, lee it right here again, just because that initial wash was almost dry. So I have that I'm going to rinse my brush out, get some clean water and get some of this pink color. It's also what? But I'm gonna lay it right next to it or right on top of it. Um and yeah, so kind of looks right now it looks like a stark line, but as it dries, it will become more feathered. This is a test that I did earlier to kind of show you that, Um Now, the more water you use for this technique, the blurrier the line will be because this pain is pretty thick. It's still becoming a little fuzzy, but it's not nearly as fuzzy is this? So, um, the other thing to think about is how to soften edges. So, um, when you're painting in this kind of expressive way, I find that hard lines whoa, kind of distract from the overall feel, which is okay. If that's something that you like to do, then that's totally fine. But I think it's important to note that you can soften the edges once the paint has dried. So this paint here is already dry. What? I'll do is, um, take a wet brush still has pain on, so you're gonna want to take a wet brush that is not dripping What? But it still leaves a little bit of water on your hands so you'll go over the edge of a dried section. You can use scrubbing motions. You can, um, go across like this, but as you can see, it's lifted up that paint and created a softer edge. Now we do have another edge forming at the top. What I would do is just clean off my brush, dried a little bit, so it's not dripping and go over that edge once again. And you can keep doing this until it's completely blended out. Um, but yeah, that's the basic way to soften your edges. So next we'll go over brush strokes for this style of painting. I like to think of it as dancing like it's really sporadic. It moves around law. It's not really controlled. Um, so what I like to do is grab some pain and I'll be moving in a back and forth kind of swishing movement. So this is how I get a lot of the texture that I really like in gosh painting. Now you can't tell so much with this first layer. But, um, once we add a thicker layer on top or a different color or something else, you really start to see the brushstrokes. So maybe we'll go in with this pink now. So now you can see all of that texture that we created. It's really easy. All you have to do is not over blend like if you just throw the pain on their it's gonna look expressive, and you're going to see the artist hand in it, which is what we're going for. Um, now, if you have a really hard time to be this kind of chaotic when you're painting, maybe time yourself, I find that the quicker I do it, the more you see the brushstrokes and the more I like it. So, um, if you have a tendency to over blend your pains, maybe set the timer for five minutes and try to get it all done in that time, I think that's also just a good exercise for anyone to dio. If you're not quite sure how you want a final peace toe look, now that we have some basics down, let's go ahead and do a warm a painting 4. Warm Up: So the next thing we want to do is just a little warm up. This is toe help us get a little more comfortable with the pains before we dive in. And we're also going to be looking at our color scheme. Um, it's a lot easier to change things before you start on the final piece. So, uh, yeah, that's why I like to do these little warmups. So the first thing you want to do is sketch it out. If you were like me, you will hate this part. I actually never sketch just because thes are really expressive and kind of intuitive. And I feel like sketching kind of makes me feel like it has to be a certain way. But if you're a planner and you like to do that, then I think that's a great, great thing to do to kind of prep you for the final piece. So I'm going to do it just for demonstration. I'm gonna Markoff where, like the final image would be, Uh and then I know him. I want a block of shadow down here. There's gonna be trees and houses and there's a couple windows that I know you'll be able to see there's gonna be telephone lines and that's about it. Um, I guess I could block off where Want the colors to be like I know I all want lighter colors down here, and then the rest be kind of darker, but you do as much as you need to dio. So I've already squeezed out my paints, and I've mixed up some of them. But I'm gonna just go ahead and start painting. It's important for you to pick your color scheme out before this just so you're not wasting a whole bunch of pain. I know that I want this to be very vibrant. But if you want to go for a more muted landscape than that's cool to, whatever you want to do is fine. I'm gonna start with yellow. I like to start with my lightest colors first, just because it's a lot easier to cover light things, then it is to cover dark things. Now this here is going to be pretty liquidy, Um, because it's the lightest value I kind of wanted to glow, and the thinner the pain is the, uh, the more the light will travel through the paint, bounce off of the paper and reflect back into your eyes. So this will give a kind of glow because it's a lot thinner than the rest of the pain. So that's about where I want the yellow. Um, it is down and where the silhouettes gonna be. But that's not really a big deal, because it's gonna be black, so we can cover all of that. So there's that, um, I think next I'll do this neon pink, and I'm going to start using our dancing brush movements because this pain down here, the yellow is still what? Adding this pink on top is making this really vibrant orange, which I'm totally all about. So, um, that's something to note for the final painting that I'm definitely gonna want to blend these like that. Um, we can go over some of the edges with a damp brush to kind of soften those, but it's just practice, so it's not that big of a deal. Next, I'm going to go in with this like Rose Color. This is gonna be a good transition from that neon pink to the purple that I want to put above it. You can see that this, um, neon pink was a little thin, so I'm gonna add another layer. So that's good. I like that color transition. Gonna add some of this purple blend some of these edges, maybe pull some of this color down further. So it's not all in, like stripes. Um, I'm gonna use a little blue, maybe keep that concentrated over on this end. And then finally for the sky, I'm going to use a little Payne's gray to darken up the top. So I like the colors in this, and they think this will work well in the big piece to I do want to take note that I'm gonna want to soften this edge and maybe not have it such a harsh, like bar of pink and then a bar of blue. Maybe having a little more violent in there will kind of blown that out a little better. This, uh, this is a good thing, though I think that I'm hitting on something that I like and that will reflect well in the final piece. So the next thing I want to do is paint this little, um, silhouette part. I'm just going to use Payne's gray because I already have it out on my palette. But you can use black whatever. Um, because this is just a a simple little warm up. It's not really important what it looks like, but I just want to be able to block in this shape so that I know what the final a full composition will look like. I know I will want trees up here. There's gonna be some telephone lines. Yeah, I think, um, overall, I like this color palette, and I think that the darkness down here in the darkness up there really balance each other out. I think that these windows that you can kind of see the light coming from really breaks up the shape, which makes it feel not so much as, like a a single block of color. So, yeah, I would keep these kind of things in mind when you're painting, but a lot of the times, if you're painting from reference, you don't have to think too much about the composition or even the color palette because you're copying what you see. The most important thing is the brush strokes. So make sure that you add this photo of your little warm up painting to the project section of the class so that I can see where you're starting and what your final project will look like in comparison. 5. Sketch: okay in the step. We're just going to go ahead and sketch the outlines for where we're gonna block in the colors. I've already taped off a square. My paper. You can do whatever shape you want. Uh, I also just eyeballed it so I know that it's a little wonky, but this is just to play around with wash, so I'm not too worried about it. If you are perfectionists and you need it to be perfect, go ahead a measure. But, you know, do whatever you want to dio um so just like we did in the warm up, we're going to quickly sketch out just where we're gonna block in the colors. If you want to be a little more precise on where you're putting things, if you're maybe drawing or painting a specific place that you want to really capture the essence, then go ahead. Spend as long as you want on the drawing portion. But for me, it tends to be very quick. So I am just going to walk in this line here because that's where I want to keep the shadow part. I know. I want a house peeking up over here and it's gonna have some windows. I'm gonna have three. Um, I think this here's where I'm going to want the, uh, telephone wire and on that side. Actually, I think I'm gonna move it in a little, and then put a tree here and some other shapes. Um, and that's it. That's all I'm going to draw just because it's not that important. I think that if you have a tendency to over render just really keep it in your mind not to just really be loose and free with it. Um, And now we are set to paint, So I will see you in the next section. 6. Paint: were ready to paint. Um, just like we did in our warm up. I'm going to start with the lightest colors. Uhm, I'm going to be using this big brush like I was before. The bigger the brush, the easier it is to not get too fussy with it just because you can't actually put in a whole bunch of detail with it. So I know that from this warm up that a lot of my paint was a lot more liquidy than I wanted. Um, the yellow is okay to be that way, but I'm gonna keep that in mind for when I'm doing this final image. So I'm just kind of scraping the brush round. Just splash paint. That's okay with All right, So we have that layer, and now I'm going to do the pink. I'm gonna need more paint. All right, so now we're going. Teoh, add the layer of this. This is where we really want to be using the dancing movement that I was talking about before. You don't want it to look to uniforms, so if you find that all of your brush strokes are going this way, kind of like I see here like they're all going. They're swooping down like that. I'm going to kind of mix it up by adding random bits everywhere. So I like how that looks. I do think that it's a little too clean. I think that we need more yellow. But at this point, I don't think I'm gonna worry about it just because I know I'm gonna be adding more yellow later after we put in the silhouette. So this layer doesn't matter too much. Now, for the next one, I'm going to be doing this Rose color deciding water to it so that it's not completely sick , but I think that this might be too thin. All right, there we go. So I'm just continuing with that same brush movement now for this one. I know that I want to blend it a little bit more because I'm not going to be adding more pain up here. Um, some gonna take some more of the pink and start dragging it up and dragging the rose color down. I think I'm gonna pull a little pink down here, okay? I feel like this is pretty thin, so maybe I'll add another layer of this Rose color. I'm actually gonna just add some paint straight onto the paper just a little bit. I know that there's a lot of water on the paper already, and I'm gonna be using water, so this kind of just alleviates having toe go back and forth, but there we go. So the next color I want to use is that purple, Okay. And I want to bring the purple down pretty far on this side. So now this is or I'm gonna blend. So my brush is damp and clean, but not dripping wet, so you can still see all of the texture of the brushstrokes, but it blends in a little bit more. It's not as harsh as this line is here, which will take care of later. If at any time you feel like you don't have the control that you want, you can switch brushes. Um, I just uncomfortable with this, so I'm going to keep going with it. So the next color I'm going to be using is a blue, and I want to keep that over in this corner. I think now, before I had a really harsh line, and right now it's doing that again. So I want to make sure that I'm blending and I think toe blend this one. I'm going to take some more of that rose color. Don't be afraid to go back and forth and and add more colors. And you know all that stuff. It's kind of an experiment. Your just seeing what will work. And sometimes things don't. And sometimes you have to add more, Uh, something else. So that's okay. Maybe I'll bring some of this down just to break up the the distinct lines, maybe even drag some pain. Um, you know that this brush when it's really dry can make some really cool, streaky brushstrokes that I like. I feel like this is a little too far down, but again, we're gonna be adding some yellow, so that's OK. And then the final color I'm gonna be adding to the sky is Payne's gray. There's gonna block in that first and then bringing down in that dancing brushstrokes. Okay. All right. So now I'm going to go ahead and block in this shape here. Um, actually, I think I'm gonna add some more yellow now because I want the edge of the landscape to be pretty blurry. I'm gonna want this paint to be wet or I'll have to go and soften it later. This just seems to be the easiest way because I know I'm already gonna be adding some yellow up here. So amusing, Pretty watery paint. And I flung it again. It's OK. So this is the time I can use to soften the edge of the pink, Maybe bring this yellow up higher. In some places, it can kind of mask that area that came down a little too far. A little bit. Um, if I want to get rid of it completely, I'm gonna have to use a lot more paint. But it doesn't really bother me that much, so I think that's a good blend of colors. Now, while this pain is what you wanna work pretty quickly if you live in a dry place or if it's a really hot day like it is here, Um but I'm going to go ahead and with a slightly smaller brush, I'm going to use the Paynes grey and start blocking in this silhouette. Now I'm gonna work at the base of it first. And as you could see the pain is starting to kind of feather into each other. That's the effect that I want. Um, not too worried about what this edge looks like. I you know, I'm kind of just making it up. Maybe there's multiple houses. Maybe there's just the the one. Um, maybe there's no trees. Maybe there's tons of trees. Do whatever you want to dio. Um but even here, I'm moving my brush around it kind of in that frantic dancing mode, and, uh, that will really help with e brushing us of it. So here I'm adding a tree again. I'm just kind of moving it around like that. Um, I'm gonna go ahead and block in this bottom area, so I'm gonna make sure that I paint around these windows. If you need to use a smaller brush, go for it. Also, I got some paint down here, but that's OK. It's just practice. Kind of like that. They're not, like, straight across. All right, So I have that that yellow that I flung up before I'm gonna blend in a little. So it's not harsh thing, actually, while I'm at it, I might add Cem pink going up here to break that up a little. Maybe you some pink here. Maybe. I just really like this pink. I don't know. Okay, so now what I'm gonna do is drive us with my heat gun. Going to speed this up for you. If you don't have one, just let it dry. Naturally. But you know I'm going to do this because I have it. 7. Details: it's dry. I see that I have a pretty harsh line here, So I want to soften that up. I'm going to use this tiny brush and maybe just use some more yellow and pull it up a little bit. Um, so it's not too harsh. I think that will probably be fine. Now, the next thing I want to do is soften up these edges. Even Mawr, they are feathered because the we use the wet on wet technique. But I think that it would be kind of cool toe have to maybe, like, carve out the shapes more clearly, but also like hazy. Um, I think it will look like a foggy morning. So what I'm gonna do is I'm gonna take some white and mix it in with my yellow because yellow is fairly transparent. Uh, it would be hard to really carve out these shapes with just yellow, so adding white makes it a little more opaque in a little easier to do that with. So I'm going to use my small brush. Um, the pain is a medium consistency, and I'm just going to go over the edges. Not all of them. Just some and um, I think I mostly want to hit this tree. So I really want to do this with, um, edges. I want to be sharper, like this house here wantedto really look like a roof. Um, so I'm sharpening that up a little bit. I think that maybe I'll do a little bit on this side to just counter act the sharpness of that tree. So now that I've done that, I think what I'll do is rinse out my brush and, uh, get this yellow paint into a very liquid state. So just using a lot of water. Now, when I'm doing this, I'm gonna want to, um, go over the edge is to really soften them this because it's very watery. It could pull up some of the black paint, which I'm totally cool. They think that will really help soften things up. So with that wet, um, yellow mix, I'm just going over the edge is a little bit in some areas to soften up the edges. I'm going up into where the background is and down into the silhouette. Um, at some point, you may need to clean off your brush a little bit, but, uh, This was just kind of ad Ah, more brushy textured book to it. You can continue with your little dancing motions, but in a much smaller controlled way. And Godal make it look more fuzzy and hazy. And I think that I might even need to do another layer of some black down here. I've missed a couple areas around the edge, but, um so if you pull some yellow down too far and you don't like it, you can always cover it up. It's the best thing about an opaque medium. You can kind of mess up as much as you need, Teoh, and couldn't keep covering it up. But I like how that looks. I really like this tree. Um, I might even add a couple of yellow areas into this so that it really looks like a Trias. Well, get that same kind of effect blending this out with a damp brush. All right, I think that's good. So the next detail we want to do is make thes windows hazy. So we're gonna be doing the same kind of thing I'm going to add, um, some of that yellow paint in there and the really liquidy one. Clean off my brush a little and just make some round movements around it. They look a little harsh right now, but all we have to do is clean off our brushes. Um, so it's what? But not soaking and soften the edges again. So I know here I lost kind of the shape of the window, so I'm going to drive this in, added beckon. So now that it's dry, I can add a crisp villa window, but they still have that hazy effect. So I think that I want to add some more pink in here. Um, this is the part where you can add some final details. Um, kind of per perfect things before we do. The telephone wires in fresh is a little black, but that's that's okay. Let's see where that goes like that. But so when I put the paint directly on the paper, I make sure that I completely dissolve it. If you leave the paint to thick, it's going to eventually crack. Um, if it's practice, not so you know, big of a deal. But, um, you don't want to get into the habit of applying the paint too thickly. That the the paper or the paint will chip off the paper. All right, so let's try that and see what it looks like. So I think that it might be a little too money, so I'm going to ad more of that pink. But I think I might add some way to it to kind of cover up some of the black because the white makes it a little more opaque, just like the yellow at some water into it. So it's not to sick cam rinsing my brush. So it is now wet but not dripping. And I'm going to blend these edges, doing that back and forth. All right, I'm going to drive this. So the last thing to do is to add the telephone wires. So I'm gonna take my liner brush, going to pick up some black paint, but I'm going to make it pretty runny. I want this to be hazy as well, and I don't want it to be too, um opaque and like standing on top of the painting. So I'm going, Teoh, use it in a watery form. So I'm going to just quickly sketch inthe e lines and because we're going to be blending some of this out. It's OK if it's not perfect. It's OK if it's not straight. Um, you know that I want to Adaline here for it. The actual wire. I'm gonna tilt my my painting a little bit just because it's a lot easier to pull straight lines down and towards you. Then go. Been trying to do it like a cross like horizontally. So, uh, going to try that? It's OK. It's not completely straight, and it doesn't even connect at the end. But again, we're going to be, um, feeding them out so that one, like, goes way above, but no big deal. And I want ones that are thicker and go across to make it look like there close by, um, here, too. All right, so now we're gonna want to soften some of these. So this is a great way to mask any issues you had. So my brushes clean and what, but not tripping. So I want to kind of buff this area out a little bit just because, um, I kind of had a wobbly hand when doing it, which, um it's OK. Just kind of faded out, maybe fade out a couple of other parts, so it doesn't look too odd that one part is faded. That would be good. And then I know that I want to do it down here a swell. And they keep cleaning off my brush because some of the black is lifting up and I don't want to deposit that color. Um, you know, too far. It's not that big of a deal, because it just adds to the hazy look, But, um, I don't want it to be too harsh. I think that is good. I think we should dried and then look at what we have. 8. Ending! Share your project!: So the last thing to do is just take off this tape. Um, which is the most fun part? While I'm doing that, I want to thank you for taking my class. I'm definitely going to be having more water color and wash classes in the future, as this is just my 1st 1 But if you would be so kind, I would love to see what you created from this lesson. So definitely add your project in the project section of the class. And I really look forward to chatting with you and giving you feedback on your work and how , um, how you're painting looks. So yeah, uh, feel free to contact me. I'm always available to chat. And I really enjoy this our community that we have. So Yeah, thank you so much. By