Saturday, March 14, 2020

Can You Use Gouache for Finished Illustrations?

Gouache Preliminary Sketches: Fast, Fun,
and Low-Risk Painting Techniques

Comment on the video: Painting an Aspen Forest in Colorado
Welther47 "Is there a reason why all your big paintings are (almost) always in oil? I'm wondering if gouache is lacking something for professional work?

James Gurney Actually I've started doing some of my finished paintings in gouache. There's no reason gouache can't be used for big, detailed, or finished paintings. When I started my illustration career, I did several of my big paintings in a combination of gouache and acrylic.

Norm G "You know what is the biggest "secret" to an awesome painting that I was able to take away from all your videos? It it the way you paint a lot of your scenes back lit. That has opened a whole new world for me.. Thanks so much for your videos, you have really giving me a boost to get back into painting and my paintings now have much more life and depth to them! 👊😎"

James Gurney Yes, Norm, you're right. I'm crazy about "contre-jour" lighting or backlighting. It automatically creates a strong feeling of light and spatial depth. Here's a blog post with more information about contre jour lighting .

"Aside from composition, what are the differences between casein, acrylic gouache and regular gouache? Do they all reactivate with water after dry? Any opacity or sheen differences, etc?
YouTube video: Sketching an Old Firehouse
(Big Revisions to the Painting Halfway Through)

James Gurney All are relatively matte and opaque, especially when combined with white. I use the casein very thinly over the paper. If the casein layer is too thick, the gouache will bead up. Regular gouache will reactivate with water after dry. Acrylic gouache seals when dry, because it's really a form of acrylic. Casein is halfway in between gouache and acrylic gouache. It can reactivate after setting up if you scrub at it, but over time it becomes more sealed.

Stephen Halpin  Thank you! I would have thought that the casein underlayer would throw your judgment of color off, but it's such a pleasure to see how spot-on your colors are. Does the color in the underlayer make it more difficult to get those initial colors right, or does it somehow help?

James Gurney Yes, very perceptive question. I think I was fighting the underpainting a little, like riding a bicycle into a headwind. I like that feeling of resistance. I intended a relatively cool palette for this painting, so I was forced into opacity.


Harry said...

Hi James,

A general gouache question, if I may;

Gouache, I understand, is opaque watercolor, with larger pigment particles. If I add white (or similar opaque WC) to regular watercolor at what point does it become gouache?
And do you know how art judges define the difference between the two when the medium is required to be declared?

Thanks in advance.

James Gurney said...

Harry, some watercolor purists would say any amount of white is taboo, and that they even try to avoid watercolor pigments that tend to opacity. That way they can maximize the white of the paper showing through.
I would suggest reading their rules and decide if they fit what you want to do.

Alfredo said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Alfredo said...

Hello James.

I have a question about every type of painting

What are the uses of underpaintings and would you mind giving some examples to the uses?

Thank you.