Saturday, March 22, 2008

Gouache on Tone Paper

Most people think of tone paper as a vehicle for figure drawing with charcoal and white chalk. But it’s also a great base for landscape sketches in gouache. Here’s an example of a view of Prescott, Arizona, painted a while ago ago in opaque watercolors.

The trees in the lower right were scrubbed in with a big bristle brush, and the sky was painted thinly with white gouache. I laid down the semi-opaque ribbons of roadways with a white nylon flat, and came back with whiter touches for the cars and lines. At the end I placed just a couple of red accents in the central area.

The paper wasn’t a typical drawing paper, but rather a heavyweight stock that I got from a limited edition publisher. It’s thick enough that a sheet can stand up without buckling over. I had Kinko's bind up a sketchbook out of the stuff.

There must be commercial tone paper pads that have similar paper which can take a little water without buckling. Maybe someone can suggest sources in the comments.


Shane White said...

You might get lucky at The Paperzone...or Papermart for that kind of paper. Depends on the season and color availability it seems.

I've found for comic work an equally strong 80# cover that feels like 2ply bristol there. And at $35 for 250 sheets of the 11" x 17" stuff, you really can't beat the price.


Jamie Williams Grossman said...

What a wonderful painting! I love the curves in the roads pulling us back to those marvelous red spots.

Stonehenge paper is 100% rag, stands up quite well to gouache work, and is available in a nice light grey as well as a light "fawn" color (and several others). It's not too pricey, and feels considerably heavier than the 90 lb stock they say it is. It's just a little more toothy than a plate bristol, making it ideal for drawing (colored pencil artists love this stuff), or painting with not-too-wet media. 'Hope that helps somebody out there! Sheets are 22x30". It also comes in pads, but those are only in white. I prefer to buy the colored stock in large sheets and cut it up for small paintings and sketches.

Jared Shear said...

Beautiful painting James! that little hit of red that you added.

Rives BFK Heavyweight - comes in Gray, Tan, Off White and White. It's a print making paper, but stands up well to abuse, from painting and drawing as well.

Chipboard(Cardboard) of my favorites. Mind you not the corrugated box type, but the solid sheet type (example - backs of yellow legal pads) It comes in a variety of colors from cardboard browns, to gray, and also comes in a variety of thicknesses. A lot of times you can find great little jewels of this stuff used in packaging from things we keep your eyes peeled. Maybe not the most archival.....but it works for quick sketches and you get to save the environment at the same time.

Sarah Stevenson said...

Chipboard is a pretty cool idea--VERY sturdy, but as jared noted, not archival. You can get it in larger sheets at well-stocked art supply stores--my husband and I cut it down into small squares for inking etching plates.

Great painting. I never would have thought about using gouache on toned paper, but gouache kind of scares me. I always paint really stiffly with it for some reason.

jonencar said...

Strathmore just came out with a heavy stock toned paper -(300gsm) - both in Sepia & Grey. I've only seen 9x12 in stores so far, but it looks like they're planning a full range:

I've tried it with washes of Copic Opaque White & it's held quite well. Would be interesting to try with a more dedicated paint medium.