Gouache 101 | A Beginner's Guide | Visual Mind | Skillshare

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Gouache 101 | A Beginner's Guide

teacher avatar Visual Mind, 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

    • 1.



    • 2.

      What is Gouache? Overview


    • 3.



    • 4.

      Colors & Consistency


    • 5.

      Class Project


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About This Class

In this class I'm going to teach you everything that I know about gouache. Whether you're completely new to the medium or know a few things already, my examples and exercises can be helpful to you. I'll show you how to mix colors, get the right consistency and so much more!

Meet Your Teacher

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Visual Mind



Hello there! I'm Melanie.

I'm an Artist and teacher on Youtube and have a big passion for Sketchbooks and Art Journals. I mostly work with watercolor and gouache and create lots of tutorials for these mediums.

I live in Austria, a small beautiful country in Europe. We speak German - in case you were wondering where my accent came from.

I follow my curiosity wherever it leads me. My mission is to inspire others to do the same. Get those paint brushes and start creating. Enjoy every minute of it because life is way too short to do otherwise.


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Level: Beginner

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1. Welcome!: hater and this skill share course I'm going to share with you. Everything that I knew about Wash Wash is really worse. It'll it can be used for a lot of things, and it's a medium that's really underrated, even though it has been there for a while. So in this course, I'm going to share with you the products that I'm using, how you can mix your colors to get the results that you want to have, how to get the red consistency with your pain, how to chief even on fled layers, how to blend your paint and everything else that might be useful to know about wash. So if you want to learn more about this amazing medium, then enrolled to this glass and I'll see you in the next section. 2. What is Gouache? Overview: So before we go a little bit more into all the details, I just wanted to give you a quick overview off what wash really is on how it's different compared to watercolors as well as acrylic paints. So questions pains made off color pigments as well as solid white pigment. And that solid white pigment is the main difference when you compare it to water colors because what are colors are transparent and you want them to be as transparent as possible , whereas with wash it's opaque and you wanted to be that way, you want it to be as opaque as possible. So that's the reason why I quash is also very often referred to as opaque watercolor. It has been around for more than 600 years, which I find very fascinating because I believe the wash is still not very well known. Ah, lot of people still don't know what it is, and I really don't know why, because, in my opinion, it's got the best of both worlds. It's kind of a mixture between watercolors and acrylics on. I think that it really has it's own qualities that the others don't so like. Watercolors wash can be reactivated with water, which is not the case with acrylics, because when acrylics are dry, then they're waterproof. You can't reactivate them again, but with wash, they can be reactivated on your palate as well as on your paper. This brings a lot of challenges, and we will talk about that later on. And what's also important to say is that Wash Dries and Matt. It has a Met finish, whereas acrylics tend to have very glossy finish. And I think that this gives you a very different kind of look and you have to keep that in mind. I think that this looks amazing. I'd looks very soft. I love the wash finish and I think the wash is way easier to control than acrylics. I don't know why, but having a very hard time with acrylics. But with wash, it's way easier. So there's a lot of differences and to make it easier for you, I'm made this over you where you can look at all the differences at a quick glance. There are other differences between the media, but I thought that I would just used the most important ones at first and you can look at this spreadsheet and decide what kind of medium is the best for you. I would just recommend trying to mojo ebbs. Just see what you like most because you might have a preference on those, and the different kinds of media are better for different approaches. You can use squash and acrylics on canvas, whereas watercolors are best used on paper. You can use squash on paper as well. You can obviously use acrylics on paper, but it's just different because acrylics are very thick so they can look really great on a canvas With wash, you'd have a much harder time to use them on a big cameras. Also, because squashes farm or expensive compared to acrylics, especially if you get a very good quality brand. And we'll talk about the specific brands and the colors and everything in a later lesson. So this was just a very quick over you 3. Products: So now let's talk a little bit more about the products that you're going to need, rather than recommending specific brands here. I just wanted to tell you what to keep in mind when it comes to quash, and maybe you already have a few products at home, and I'd rather have you try it with those first than just by specific brands that I like. So I just wanted to tell you what to look for and then also tell you the kinds of friends that I'm currently using. But I haven't tried them Also, there might be better ones out there, and I don't know it all. When it comes to brands, I just know what to look out for when you are looking for the products that you're going to meet. So when it comes to paper, it's very similar than with watercolors, because wash is a wet medium and you want to be able to use a lot of water with it, and therefore, watercolor paper will be best dog washes a little bit more forgiving compared to water colors, so you can use mixed media paper or just paper that's a little bit thicker than your regular printer paper. Please don't use printer paper. Just don't. You won't be happy with the results. Unless you're just messing around on not expecting anything, then it's OK. But don't expect professional looking results on printer paper, because, especially for beginners, you're just making it harder for yourself. Get yourself some really good quality paper. Don't forget about it. It's no coincidence that the paper is the first thing that I'm mentioning here because very often the paper is the most important part when it comes to painting. And that's not just a case with watercolors. It's also the case with quash, and it's best to really get yourself really good. Watercolor paper. There are different kinds of watercolor paper. You might want to try out different kinds and see what you like best. I personally really like Hana Mueller watercolor paper. I also love my mole skin watercolor sketch book, and I used wash in that one all the time and it works really nice and it's really good. You don't need the absolute best paper, but just make sure that you have paper debt can do with a lots off water or else you will be limited to how you're going to be able to use your wash, so when it comes through brushes, this is different compared to with watercolors, because with water colors you would want ah, brushed. It's really big and not on, and natural fibre brushes are really great, even though I don't use them because I want to keep my brushes begin. And there are amazing vegan alternatives. But with wash, you really want to have synthetic precious you want if Russians that don't hold as much water, which might sound a little bit counterintuitive if you're used to using watercolors and you want to have brushes that hold a lot off water and be amazing at that. But it's a way harder to control wash if you use too much water and therefore, I'd say, used slightly smaller brushes and maybe try going for synthetic brushes. There. They way cheaper anyways, so just try different kinds. There I get my synthetic brushes at a store called Mula, which is a story that we have in Austria as well as Germany. So if you're at a police that has this kind of store, I really recommend the brushes that they have there, but otherwise maybe tried the Vinci brushes, but you really don't need expensive brushes. Just make sure that there really workable and that you like them. Just try different kinds dare. So when it comes to the brand's off paint, that's probably the most fun thing to buy for you because it's colorful and fund and everything, and I get it. But I would say, Don't get a huge set of colors. I have this Artie's a 60 colors set, and while it's a lot of fun to play around with all the colors, and they're really not too bad off quality, but they're just it's just too much. If you're a beginner, you don't need 60 colors. You really, really don't, UH, just get yourself. Ah, set off less colors but more quality. I have the Windsor and Newton designer squash, and it has the most important colors in there. Make sure that you have, ah, to yellow tones, a cool and the warm yellow tone, as well as a cool and a warm red tone and the cool and a warm blue tone so you can mix all the colors that you need. And I'd say with wash. You also need a black and a white paint, and also the white paint is probably the most important one. You'll need that a lot, because if you're anything like me, you're going to mixed it in with all your other colors, and you're going to need that one the most. So if you can't afford a really good set, maybe get a cheaper set off wash but get really high quality white paint so that you have that because when you mix in the white paint, you will get a more opaque result, and it will be less streaky because, like I said before, wash has this white pigment. And obviously the white paint has most of that. So if you add white paint, you typically get a more opaque result. At least that's my experience with the kinds of pains that I've been using. So I'd say, Just get yourself, Ah, high quality white or just a white tone that you like working with with Quash Stairs Thea opportunity to buy bigger and smaller tubes. And I'd say Just get the small tubes at first and see if you like the kinds of friends because they have very different consistencies, and they have different capacities, and you might prefer a different consistency than other people might. So there's no general rule of what kind of pain is the best. It's more of a thing like, What's the best paint for you and will. We're going to talk more about the consistency later on, so that's something to keep in mind. I have this Windsor and Newton designers were set that I really like. I just don't like the consistency of the white paint. So I use some white temporal color, which is, according to other artists, really, really bad thing to use. But I somehow like it. So it's just what you prefer. And, yeah, the art easa Gosh, pains aren't the worst really nice and fun to play with. But a set of 60 colors. I think for beginners. If you're just starting out and buying your first set, it's ridiculous to buy 60 colors because I paint a lot and I don't use them. Also, just get yourself the most important colors there and just buy quality rather than quantity and focus your most money on the paper because in this case you're going to need really good paper. It's not as bad as with water colors, but get yourself some really good quality stuff. But if you don't have a lot of money, or if you just want to try things out, get started with it obviously used the kinds off things that you have at home. If you already have paper lying around brushes that have been neglected, just start using them. Start painting, dry everything out. But keep in mind if you have low quality supplies, you might not achieve the same result. And I don't want you to get frustrated just because of that, because lower quality supplies are harder to control, whereas the higher quality supplies are a bit easier to control. I know that a lot of artists were by whole Bank Wash, and I really want to try it at some point. It's supposed to be one of the best wash types, but it's sold out everywhere, and I just don't know where to get it at the moment. So I haven't tried that yet, so I really don't know what the best brand is there. I just say get a small set, maybe get the Windsor and Newton design your squash because I really like it 4. Colors & Consistency: in this section, we're going to talk about consistency and colors. So, first of all, since some of you might be wondering, you can put wash into palettes like this one. But, as you can see with the red color, day might crack. And it might also not be the easiest to work with if you're a beginner and I will show that to you in a minute. So at first to reactivate already dried up wash, I'd recommend putting some water in there, waiting for a bit and then mixing it in very, very Serra Lee. You can use a big brush for that to mix all the water with the paint, and you're going to need to really do a thorough job on that so that your pain can be as opaque as possible. But it is harder to work with compared to if it comes straight out of two. I mostly used wash when it is reactivated with waters, so it's totally workable. It's totally doable, so if you mix too much pain or have it on any kind of palette, it is totally possible toe work with that. But if you're a complete beginner with wash maybe start with some pain that comes straight out of the tube, especially since it's more opaque and it's way easier to get the consistency right. You can see here that I did very thoroughly mixed, Ah, water with the paint, but you can see that once I painted. It looks really streaky, and that also depends on the quality of the painted you're using. Absolutely. So this pain isn't the best quality that I'm using here, and you can totally see it. It's super streaky, but there is a way around that, and I'm going to show you that in a minute. So here, also with the red tone, I tried to apply it as a little streak. Yes, possible here. It worked a little bit better. And here also with some white paint, you conceded it's quite hard to reactivate its very different with different brands. It works best if you let it sit with the water for a bit, wait patiently and then reactivates the paint with the water that's already on there. But you can totally reactivate it. It's just it might be a little bit harder than to use the paint that comes straight out of the tube. So here, in comparison, I used some paint that's straight out of the tube, and in this case I used some Windsor Newton designer squash, and the white paint is very thick, so you kind of have to use a little bit off water with it. If you don't do that, it's really hard to control it. And with the consistency here, it's already a little bit too thin. It's not too bad, but it's It might be a little bit too thin. I might have used just a little bit too much water, but you wanted to be super creamy and workable, but not very thin. It's like a thinner kind of mayonnaise consistency. It's hard to describe, and you have to play around with it to really get the hang of it. But you can see it here. I used to paint the same pain as before, but with white, and now it's not streaky anymore. That's the reason why, with wash very often, people will mix in white paint, especially if you have higher and white paint and cheaper other colors that really works amazingly well. You can really get rid of the streaks Also, the rep tone that came straight off the out of the tube looks way better than the utter paints. So here, talking a little bit about all the colors, I just decided to paint this color wheel. It's a similar one compared to the one that I did in my claws with watercolor practices for beginners. And here I just painted a color wheel with Wash, and I recommend you doing this. This is not the class project, but if you want to practice colors a little bit, ah, color wheel might be a cool starting point. Also a reference for later. If you want to look it up because it shows you all the colors, how they are in contrast to each other, you can see that some of those are mixed by using the utter tones, and some of them are opposite colors, so you can really look all that up. If you want to have a high contrast piece, for example, you could use purple and yellow orange tones, so that would be a very, very high contrast peace, but also, if you mix purple and yellow directly, you might get super Mahdi colors. Ideally, you'd get a black tone, but you're probably going to get some kind of brown tone. And if you want to have Super Weibring colors, you should mix does colors together that are very close to each other on the color wheel. So to show you that wash can be reactivated with water, I did those circles, and I already pain that half of them, and those were completely dry. And then I went over it with some water and depending on your brand off wash and also the sickness off the layer that you've already applied. This might give you more or less color, and you can see here that it's not completely reactivated. But there is color on there, so you can clearly see that it is able to reactivate. And if I had put on a thicker layer, this would be even more visible so you can play around with that a swell just to practice and getting to know your pains. And here on the bottom left, I tried to do some Grady INTs from different colors, and at first I just put down a few colors in a rainbow order in this case, and then later on. Once it was dry, I went back with a wet brush and I maids those Grady INTs. Even I blended them even more. You can see it here. You can do that with wash once your paint is dry or even if it's still wet. The red one was a little bit wet. You can go back and blend this. Just use a clean brush with a little bit of water. Not too much water, just a little bit. And you complain. Blend those colors. We will see this blend ability later on with the class project. So here I did purple tones and some more into blue tones, and I basically did the same thing. I was just playing around with different colors and different radiance. And if you're not so familiar with your products yet, I recommend doing some kind of practices like this. Like I said, this is not the class project. But if you're a bit beginner, I think that those exercises are really useful for you, because you will get to know your specific brand and how it will be reactivated with water and really get to know your product. And here on the bottom one. I did those lines in different colors again in rainbow Order, because those colors are just very pretty once dear blended, but you conduce all kinds of create radiance. You could do purple to yellow, and you will probably get a brown tone in the middle. But you can totally try this if you want to see what results you're going to get. This exercise is just for practice and so that you can get you know, your paints. So here you can see again that I used dis white color and here I got the consistency quite right. You can see it here. It's quite thick, but it's still very workable. But it's really hard to describe this to you. You really have to get the hang of it and really practice it, and it's really different with different kinds of squash with different brands. So here I decided to paint a few stripes on there, and I wanted to get these to be as opaque as possible. So this is a really good exercise because you don't want to re wet the layer that you already put on there, but you wanted to be as opaque as possible. So you will see just what's the right amount of pain that you're going to need? And on the bottom one, I decided to blend all this with water so that I could see just how much this would be re wedded. And then I had some space left, and I decided to just play around with it randomly. You can always do that, especially with new supplies. Get yourself some scrap paper that you don't necessarily need or the first page of your sketchbook or wherever you have some space left and just doodle mindless stuff on there and mix different colors. It really doesn't have to be pretty. I was just really messing around here. And then I put some of the white wash on there again, trying to get it to be opaque, and I was blending all those like crazy, really just playing around with it. So here you can see all the practices did I did in this section, 5. Class Project: Now let's move on to our class project. So at first I put down some washi tape on the borders of my mole skin watercolor sketch book, and I made these four sections, and I already put down some very simple sketches. I did some lines on the right piece here and a very simple landscape on the bottom. Left. It's just a circle, some mountains and this river in front of it, and I just did a moon on the bottom left, and that's it. There's no sketch on the bottom right one. And then I started to mix my colors. I used a mixture off, re wetted, rerouted paint and knew straight out of the tube wide paint that's most of the time, the way that I'm working with quash. So I just did a very simple pastel rainbow on this one. It's a very good exercise to getting to know your pain's getting to know how to mix the colors. And what I forgot to mention in the previous section with colors is that your wash paint will dry differently from the way it looks before, so your lighter tones will dry darker and your darker tones will dry lighter. That's just, Ah thing that you have to keep in mind when you mix your colors. And I think that this little exercise really helps you getting to know that and see how they dry compared to how you've mixed them. I personally find that this isn't too much of an issue when painting whisk wash, but it's certainly something to keep in mind because your end result will be a little. It will have a little last contrast, then the colors that you might have anticipated. But I personally really like this look. I like the soft finished wash gifts you because of that reason. But just keep in mind that it's also really hard. Teoh. Mix your colors again if you don't mix enough paint so always tried to mix enough paint beforehand. I very often fail at this and mixed too little pain, and then I have to go back and try to get the same color again. You will see me fail at this with this specific painting. I think I failed with one of those stripes. I also had to go back with some of them because they did look a little bit streaky, and sometimes you just need more than one layer. So please do as I say and not as I do, and just mix enough pain already. And don't just move onto the next truck and totally get rid of the color that you have been using before, because it's really hard to go back and do a second layer if you don't have your paint still on your palate. But I very often will just use my colors to mix the next pained. While I do this, it's not the best thing to do. Just prep your colors and be careful with them and keep them on the palate just as they are until you're finished with a particular section. And like I said, sometimes you will need more than one layer to get a really clean finished result. And this also depends on the paint Brandt that you using. I'm sure that there are pain. Stead are so nice that you only need one layer, but with the ones that I'm using, you can see the mess up here on the orange stripe, but it wasn't too bad with the ones that I'm using here. I often need a second layer or even 1/3 1 But that's not too bad. And you probably don't have the most high and products, especially if you're a beginner and didn't want to buy super expensive supplies yet. So that's okay. I mean, I said rather buy quality and quantity, but we still don't have the absolute, most expensive things here in this video. So I don't have yet here with the next one. This is just a very flat layer off color at this point, and here I made the mistake again that I didn't prep enough color, and I needed more of it. So I made sure that for the second layer off this I pay, I mixed way more color than for the 1st 1 just so that I would have a very, very clean wash of color here. Because with that one, we're aiming for just one very, very flat layer. And in order to achieve that and not have it be streaky, you will have to use a lot of pain and not too much water, because that way you will have a more opaque result and you will have ah cleaner finish and also mixed in just a little bit off white to get it to be even more opaque. You can see me here trying to reactivate more and more off the paint so that I have ah rather thick layer off paint. And now you can see that I have very, very clean finished result here and very uniform layer without any streaks. It's harder to work on that, though, because you will reactivate the paint once you paint on it, and we will see that later. It's something to keep in mind, but here's just a disc player, and now we're already moving on to the next piece because this layer has to completely dry before we can move on to the next step. And in the meantime, we're going to paint the next piece and just use our time wisely. And I mixed a very light blue tone, and I pain that this guy of this piece, you can change up the sketch that I did hear doesn't have to be exactly the same thing that I did here. But the basic thing with this painting is just that it's a circle for the sun and some mountains and the River, and that's it. It doesn't have to be super complicated. It's just a very, very simple painting. And we want to have evenly painted layers on this one as well. And you can just practice to get as even flat layers as possible with this piece. And I think that that's probably the hardest thing with wash to really get it to look, not streaky head all. And therefore we are practicing that in this course, even though it might be a bit harder than using wash in different ways. I'm going to show you another way on the bottom left piece in a minute. So here you can see that I am mixing another color. It's a slightly darker blue compared to the one that already used. And please don't do that because I got rid off my lighter blue tone, and I'm going to need it again very soon. So don't do that. Just don't use up your colors unless you've already put down at least two layers of your colors. If you need two layers of your cause, I hope that what I'm saying makes sense. So here's the next row off mountains, and I'm already mixing the next color, which is a bit darker. Also, you could use all kinds of colors here. It doesn't have to be the same, color said. I'm using here. You don't have to use blue tones. You could also use purples, oranges, whatever. It's the sunset scene, so everything is allowed here. It's also very illustrative style, so use all kinds of colors that you like. Here's a pink tone, and I also needed at least two layers of that color because it was a little bit streaky again. And yeah, like I said, that's probably the hardest thing with wash to really get an even flat layer. And here you can see that I put more white in there, and this is the reason why you're probably going to need a lot off white, because if you're anything like me, you're going to mix it in with you, her colors a lot. And here I am, painting the sun with ah, light beige tone and also the river to keep it looking a little bit consistent. And I needed more than one layer off this one as well. And yeah, here's just here's the second layer off the pinkish tone. And yeah, it's a little bit different tone because I had to remix it because I'm not the best at what I'm advocating. I really should keep that in mind more often, but it doesn't look too bad. So continuing with our previous peace here, I started painting some leafs and some branches. So this is a really good exercise to use a very thick amount off paint very thick layer because you want to practice not reactivating the previous layer because, like I said, we put down a sick layer, which will probably be reactivated a little bit once you paint over it. But we don't want that, and we want a very sick layer on top of it and very opaque layer. And so practicing. Putting lighter tones on top of darker ones is a really good practice. And, yeah, you can really try this with this little piece and you can see that it's not perfect what I'm doing here. But this doesn't really matter. It's just for practice, and you will probably or learn a lot about your paints. If you're doing this and you can really see in this one that the lighter tones dry, a little bit darker because when they're still wet, they are super light. And you can really see them drying in this because it's a little bit sped up and then they become a little bit darker. So always keep that in mind, and you will really see it if you do things like that. And that's why it's really good practice and also very simple illustration. You don't have to worry a lot about what it looks like. Just very simple leafs and not too complicated. So moving on to our last piece, I started with the background by mixing a purple tone, and this time we are not aiming for disperse picked layer that we did with the order piece . I just used a very dry brush and a little bit of paint. You can see that here and another kind of paint, and I just mixed dose very messily together, and our moon was still a little bit visible. And then I painted the moon with white paint that was straight out of the tube, because I want a maximum capacity here, and I just used the paint as it waas and maybe just a tiny little bit off water, and I just wanted it to be super bright and as white as possible. So that was the first thing that I did on here. And you will really see what it takes to get a white layer evenly and aso pay as possible. This is a really good practice. So now that we're done with the moon, I started painting some clouds on here and now we're moving on to a different technique. We really messily putting down the colors here. This is the technique that used most of the time with wash, because it's just you are using wash to its full potential if you are doing something like that just very messily putting down those clouds. And then I used a lighter tone and I made those brighter parts and just did those very, very messy dots as messy as possible, because then it looks a bit more organic. I also used ah, white paint or it was almost white, and I just tried to make those brighter parts and swell ist shadows, and I just very messily put all those down and also a darker tone on the bottom for the shadows and then later on ah went back in and blend. It does together. That's the key part here, so you can really do this super super messily. And then I used a brush that was slightly wet but almost dry, just a little bit. I used a tissue to help with that. And here you can see the magic that is squashed because I could really blend this super nicely because I had put down a thick layer and I also went back in and make sure that my brush was clean. And, like I said, a little bit off water under but almost dry, and you really can get the hang of this when you practice it a little bit. And then to add some further details, I use this white Celli rule pen. This is basically a pen with some wash in there, and I just put down a few highlights just to make everything look a little bit cuter. And that's just a optional step. But a really recommend getting one of thes pence because they're super useful and I use them a lot. All my favorite products will be linked in the somewhere in the discussions or wherever I can put them, you will find them. So this waas already the last finishing touches that we're going to put on here. If you do this class part project and I really recommend doing so, please upload it in the project section so we can all see it. If you have any questions, just that we know also, if you post anything or watch my class or anything and posted on instagram, make sure to tag my account Visual mind art. And please take me on the picture, not just in the description off the pictures so that I can really see your posts or mentioned me in your story so that I can repost everything debts youth been doing. You can see here now that I removed the tape and I messed up a little bit here, and so I just took care of it with a little bit off wash straight out of the tube. So it's very, very useful also for that. And here's our finished practices. I really hope that you liked this class. Please also check out all my other classes. I have lots off practices and there will be more clauses coming up. I really hope that you liked it here. Please live. Lee also leave a review and I will hopefully see you next time. Goodbye.