Gouache Basics : Make a Modern Mixed Media Landscape | Brenda Dunn | Skillshare

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Gouache Basics : Make a Modern Mixed Media Landscape

teacher avatar Brenda Dunn, I make things. I also make things happen

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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.

      Introduction: What's in this class?


    • 2.

      What You'll Need


    • 3.

      Practice Sketches


    • 4.

      Larger Sketch


    • 5.

      Colour Palettes and Gouache Techniques


    • 6.

      Painting Practice Sketches


    • 7.

      Painting Time!


    • 8.

      Adding Pencil Crayon


    • 9.

      Finishing Touches


    • 10.

      You did it!


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About This Class

In this class, we'll walk through the basics of using gouache to create a simple modern landscape. Gouache is an amazing medium that combines some of my favourite qualities of watercolour and acrylic and it's perfectly suited for layering and mixed media techniques. It can also handle a little bit differently especially if your used to other types of paint! This class is meant to act as a quick primer on gouache taught by creating a simple landscape with layers of gouache, and then add details with pencil crayon.

At the end of this class you'll know how to:

  • use thumbnail sketches to test colour and composition
  • choose a simplified colour palette to try new mediums
  • change the opacity and consistency of your gouache
  • break a photo into larger shapes and colours
  • combine gouache and pencil crayon for texture and interest

This class combines sketchbook exercises and simple practice techniques so you can get a feel for each step before taking it to your finished piece. For each new concept, there's a practice section to test out your new skill, followed by the application to the finished project.

This class assumes a beginner level just starting out with gouache. I'll be using a simple landscape for our project but your subject can be anything you choose. Here's the photo I'm using for inspiration if you'd like to paint along!

If you're new to gouache, I recommend using simpler images and reduced colour palettes so you can get a feel for them before taking on more complex pieces. That said, make sure it's something that inspires you and makes you feel like painting!

Meet Your Teacher

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Brenda Dunn

I make things. I also make things happen


Heya! My name is Brenda Dunn and online I go by Art in Jest. I'm a full time artist and arts based facilitator in Ottawa, Canada.

I help people of all ages and skill levels exercise their creativity in every setting from classrooms to boardrooms.

I help others to be brave about making things and making things happen.
Now let’s make something awesome.

See full profile

Level: Beginner

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1. Introduction: What's in this class?: My name is Brenda. Welcome to my studio today. I'm gonna take you through an introduction to wash, and we're gonna use it to make a super simple modern landscape. We're gonna go through a few different techniques for laying out your painting and doing some initial sketches. Then I'm gonna talk to you about simplifying your color palette, especially if you're just getting started with wash. Then we're gonna talk about a few different techniques for handling wash and getting the most out of this awesome medium. I can't wait to paint with you. Let's go. 2. What You'll Need: Okay, So to get started, you're gonna need some Go wash pain, obviously, some paper to paint on. I like this mixed media stuff by Strathmore. You're also gonna want something to put behind your paper board works, or you can just take your paper down onto your desk, and then you're obviously going to need some paintbrushes. Because if we're gonna paint, we need paint brushes. Um, cheap brushes, air. Fine. I like to use the Princeton Ambrose because their bristles are a little bit stiffer. And we're going to be doing this whole painting just with a couple of Russia's. I have one of those Filbert. I think they're called the little round ones. I also have, ah, flat end brush and one that comes to a little bit of a point just for finer details. If you have a little these, that's great. But anything like that is fine. A couple of glasses of water, a paint palette. Fun fact. You can use a ceramic egg dish from the dollar store for your paint palette and a rag, and that's pretty much everything that you need. If you have some pencil grounds on hand, those will come in handy right at the end. They don't need to be fancy. Any pencil grants will do 3. Practice Sketches: I have chosen this photo because it has lots of simple shapes and a very clear background and foreground. If you want to draw along with this one, you're more than welcome. I try to hold my pencil as loosely as possible and coming towards the middle, because I actually want the larger side of the pencil to be what hits the page rather than the finer point. I'm just loosely sketching the larger shapes in this image. I'm going to use these smaller drawings as ways to test out composition and play around with how I want things to be placed in the finished piece. We can also use thes sketches later to test out color palettes and even try out a little bit of our painting technique. 4. Larger Sketch: Okay, I think we're ready to take this to the mixed media paper. So go ahead and tape your page down. If you're using a loo sheet like I am, you could take it to a board or the table that you're working on. Just make sure that you stick down all the edges really firmly. I also like to set my tape down on something else and peel it off just to take a little bit of that stick off. This way, when we go to remove our painter's tape at the end, we're gonna have nice, clean, finished edges. But we're also not going to rip up the edge of the paper. Another thing you can do is tag off the little corners on your page like I'm doing here, just to make sure that they don't lift up or let me water get under there. And then finally, you can burnish the edges to take the side of your tape. Just run it along the spot where the tape meets the paper that will help make sure that everything is super secure. Once you've got your paper nice and tape down, you can sketch a really rough outline of the landscape that you're gonna work on. I have a little digital image up here just so you can kind of see the lines that I'm focusing on. But the point is really just to get the major outline of the larger shapes. You don't want any detail at this point. Think of your sketch like, ah, landmark. It's just showing you generally where the color is gonna go down when you start painting. And at this stage I try to keep things really, really loose. I usually use a pencil crayon, and it's totally lacking in detail, just meant to show me the larger shapes. 5. Colour Palettes and Gouache Techniques: one of the best ways to introduce yourself took wash is to try something that starts off with a really limited color palette. I like to keep my color palettes pretty simple anyway, because the fewer colors I mixed together, I find the last chance I have of a painting getting muddy, looking at the dark tones, the mid tones and the highlights in this photograph, I think we can actually accomplish everything that we need to using just a few colors. I have a deep green, a bright peacock blue, a misty blue that's kind of almost a gray, and then a tube of white, especially if quashes a new medium for you. This is a great exercise to test out the consistency that you can get with your paints. Start at the top of a scrap. He's a paper and put down pure pigment. Don't add too much water. Just see how thick and how opaque you can get your pigment, and what you want to do is slowly add a little bit of water. As you work it down to the bottom of the page. You can see I'm going all the way from that thick, heavy butter consistency at the top of my paper, all the way down to really light, gentle washes at the bottom. When we go to our actual painting, we're going to be starting off with some light swishy washes to fill in larger spaces in the background, and we're gonna be using some slightly thicker stuff to go into the mid tones. And then, finally, some of that really heavy butter consistency paint for our finer details and the darks and low lights. This is a great way to get acquainted with the new set of paints, test out color palettes, and also just to get a feel for how quash moves on a page, try it out. A great way to test out your paints is to make some patches of those later washes and then take a dry brush and put just the pigment over one of your swatches. This is a really good way to add texture. It also comes in handy when you're making grass or leaves, or you wanna make a flat shape on the surface of the water and then try with your smallest brush, getting some pigment just on the end, and we're going to try making just leaf shapes just by stepping the end of the brush down onto the page, so get it a little bit wet and just press into your paper. These little stamp shapes can be great for making many trees. You can also try swishing some kind of s shapes around on the paper. Just to get a feel for what your paint is capable of. Try to see how many marks you can make using the brush is that you have on hand. It'll come in handy and you're finished painting. So now that we played around with a few different rush techniques and some different textures, let's take it back to the sketchbook and try the seven or thumbnails. 6. Painting Practice Sketches: you're working with a limited palate, it can be really helpful to test things out in miniature, so you can decide how you want to use your different colors. I have a vague idea that these mountains in the background are going to be largely misty blue with a little bit of white and maybe some toning in these two colors. I'm gonna be using deeper greens and blues for the tree detail and then lighting at out toe washes for the foreground. But let's give it a try and see if that translates in our thumbnail. So head back to your thumbnail sketches and try this really light washy effect in the background of some of these thumbnails, and you can switch up the colors a little bit. See what you like the best, and then you're going to go into the mid tones with something just a little bit thicker, something a little bit deeper and tone. I like to switch this up and just try a few different color palettes. And then at the end, you can also try little miniatures of some of the darker, more saturated tones that are closer to that butter consistency. Doing this on the thumbnails is a great way to practice before you take your paint to your finished piece, and it helps you get to know the consistencies of your quash a little bit better give it a try. 7. Painting Time!: All right, let's start this painting. So we have our light pencil crayon sketch, and I'm just laying in some very, very translucent washes. There's lots of water and Mike Wash Right now I'm really just toning the page, putting down some of my lighter colors that are going to go in the background like the sky in the water and then toning a little bit of green onto those hillsides and a little little bit in the foreground. The nice thing about washes you can work dark delight or light to dark. This is a pretty forgiving process. You're just looking to cover the majority of your page with a light wash in the color that you intend to use start without, - all right. - Once we've got a light background laden, we can start layering on some deeper colors. So I'm taking a slightly thicker consistency in my greens, and I'm putting them in as mid tones. So anywhere that things were a little more saturated. I'm starting to lay in a little bit more color. This is a pretty gradual process, and it's one of those things that maybe takes a bit of practice to finesse. But landscapes are also super forgiving, so don't be afraid to experiment a little bit. The nice thing again about washes that it layers really beautifully. So if you put down the color and you're not happy with it, let it dry completely. In all likelihood, you'll be able to go back and layer on top. So here you can just see. I'm putting most of my cooler tones onto the mountains in the background. I'm gonna work some of those thicker pigments into my foreground on the water a little bit before we go in with our darkest, heavier colors to add in some details and some low lights. Now that I have some light washes in the background and some deeper mid tones, I can take the darkest, most saturated version of my darkest green, and I'm going to use that to just dot in some little trees with my smallest brush. This is really just me pressing down the top third of the bristles, almost stamping that little brush shape, and this is another thing you can practice a little bit in your sketchbook beforehand. But remember, quashes super forgiving. If you don't like how something goes down, you can always go in with a different color and cover it up completely and then layer again . - I've also put some larger trees in the foreground toe, add a little bit of dimension and now we're gonna add some pencil crowned for finishing touches. 8. Adding Pencil Crayon: because wash has such a nice, smooth matte finish. Pencil crayons sits really beautifully on top of it, and we can use pencil crown toe. Add some really fun finishing touches. If you've never done this before, grab your swatch card or your thumbnails, and we're going to try a couple of different exercises just to see how different colors look on top of our washed. So if you've no use pencil crown on Gua Shi, congrats that swatch card that we did earlier, or any of your little thumbnails and just grab a few pencil crowns and he will do. And just try making marks on top of some of the colors in your painting. You'd be surprised how well some pencil crowns will actually show up on top of that smooth , matte finish that wash leaves you with. So try it out, and especially with landscape, don't be afraid to grab kind of an unexpected color. I'll often throw in some highlights in the weirdest most contrast and colors I can think of . You can see I've got some reds, some peaches, some oranges. I'm going to try all of those on my colors to see if there's something fun that I can add to the painting. I've taken my pencil crowns over to the little thumbnails that I did of our painting, and I'm trying out some pretty expected tones. I like using Navy blues and maybe some deeper greens toe outline. But once I've tried that out a little bit, I'm also gonna test out some more unexpected colors. So I've got some yellow, some oranges, pinks and reds. It could be a really fun effect to take contrast ing or complementary colors to the ones that appear in the paint and use very, very opposing colors for outlining and defining some of the shapes in your piece. I like a really sketchy look to this particular part of the process, so I use a really firm hand, so I get nice rich color. But I'm also trying to keep my lines a little bit childish and loose so that the finished effect is one that's a little bit more playful over a more really 9. Finishing Touches: now that I have some fun colors picked out, all that's left to do is take your pencil crowns, go to your finished painting and just use whatever colors appeal to you to start outlining some of the more interesting shapes, giving a little bit of texture here and there. And don't be afraid to play around in this section. This is really a chance to add a little bit of personal style to an otherwise traditional landscape. You can put in as much or as little color Bia's natural or is unexpected as you like. And that's really all there is to making a little modern landscape with wash. There you have it. 10. You did it!: that is your introduction to wash. I hope you have fun making this little landscape with me. And I can't wait to see you in another class. Still forget to share your projects in the project section. And I look forward to doing him of their workshop with you. Seize him.