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Author   Topic : "Gouache question"
Ben Barker
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Joined: 15 Sep 2000
Posts: 568
Location: Cincinnati, Ohier

PostPosted: Fri Dec 22, 2000 11:38 pm     Reply with quote
In my design classes we use gouache to paint color studies. They are just flat color chips. We mix the gouache to a very watery "melted-icecream" consistency to get a very smooth, sprayed on look to the chips. No ridges, or texture of any kind to the paint.
Now, my question for the Spooges and FredFSs out there, who do amazing illustations with gouache:
What consistency do you mix the paint to? Leaving it straight from the tube, thick like oils, just makes it flake off when it dries and wastes alot of expensive paint. It also looks like crap.
The icecream consistency doesn't lend itself to mixing very well, i.e. blending out brush strokes like you would with oils, when the paint was semi-dried. I find it very hard to get smooth gradients.

Any tips for me, or any books you recommend? I'm still interested in mastering gouache, since I hate oil painting so much

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mk
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Joined: 10 Dec 2000
Posts: 106
Location: Langen, Germany

PostPosted: Sat Dec 23, 2000 7:01 am     Reply with quote
i also dont like oil. my pics allways get grey or brown cause i mix all the colors because i dont wanna wait till one layer is dry.
I love gouache. it dryes fast.
i know this color studies very well and i hate em everyone is make great grandients but i cant even make a straight line. to solve that prob i made a million of small strokes over and over again. from green to yellow. sometimes with, sometimes without water. at the end u dont have any "clouds", u have a nice grandient and that little piece of paper looks good. ok, u have some lines all over but hey it looks good.
About the paint use as much u have too. You can never waste paint. Ive made some big pictures and painted 3 diffrent subjects over it.
If u have an airbrush u know how to make nice grandients. Just put your gouache in there an spray it

Greetz mk

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[syntetics]
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spooge demon
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Joined: 15 Nov 1999
Posts: 1475
Location: Haiku, HI, USA

PostPosted: Sat Dec 23, 2000 2:54 pm     Reply with quote
Hmmm, if you hate oil paints, but want to blend, this is puzzling.

A general rule of painting regardless of media (general rule) is "fat over lean." This means you paint with thinner paints at first and as the painting progresses, the paint is used thicker and thicker. If you think about it, this would also mean that at the end stages, the paint you are applying and the area you are applying it to are similar in value and color.

If your block in is then nice and thin, you can use a wet into wet process to get some color and value grads. Keep the forms that you are rendering very large, like the whole sphere of the head. Don’t noodle at this point. Another difference between thin and thick paint is the edges that they naturally provide, with thin wet into wet being softer and thicker being harder. The digital analogy is use the pressure sensitivity and keep it transparent early on, and then turn off the opacity control later.

But your question about making grads in gouache is a good one. The whole point of beginning painting in gouache is that you can’t do this. You have to find the edge of a form, mix the definite value and color, and then paint it that way. No mooshing or disguising textural effects allowed. This forces many good habits and good shape design and thinking about the basic form you are painting. So think about how to break your forms this way. Take a photo and run the posterize filter on it. This is a little of the way you should think in with gouache. There are no gradations, yet the information is there. I like the mosaic filter sometimes, because that does the same thing, but shape is eliminated from the equation. Very good for analysis of form and finding out what is there, not what your preconceptions are. Take a photo of a head, run mosaic on it. Look at the mouth, I bet it does not look like 2 red earthworms with dark lines around them the way most beginners paint them. This is a similar lesson to the betty Edwards “draw it upside down” exercise. Try even to paint from the mosaic filtered image.

This is why a lot of images I do here lack detail. I am trying to go back and get a better foundation under what I am doing, to focus on bigger forms and shapes. This is what makes images really look nice, and yes, especially when the detail is added. Which I will do...later.


and now, some other general rules from G&S

as a general rule of life
I don't allow my future wife
my lovely bride that is to be
to marry anyone but me...
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Waldo
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Joined: 01 Aug 2000
Posts: 263
Location: Irvine, CA

PostPosted: Sat Dec 23, 2000 3:33 pm     Reply with quote
Hello Ben,

As I started a reply of my 2 cents, our friend Spooge replied, and now I'm a few bucks in the hole...

My limited experience with gouache has yet to provide me with a kind way of blending colors other than layering with washes. When mixing gouache, I've discovered that what works best (for me) so far, is blending/mixing it to a consistency of "liquid chalk", if that makes any sense. The "fat over lean" rule is a great thing to keep in mind when you begin. That is how I approach watercolor. You can block in a big, light wash with big brushes and if you so desire, while wet, apply other color. Then you can begin to break it down, so-to-speak, with smaller brushes and more intense colors. Although this is how I approach watercolor, it may not work best with gouache, but with what Spooge stated, in the early applications, it sounds like you can achieve similar results.

Hope this helps, sorry if it confused...

Happy Holidays everyone

p.s. Great Rule of Life!

[This message has been edited by Waldo (edited December 23, 2000).]
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Ben Barker
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Joined: 15 Sep 2000
Posts: 568
Location: Cincinnati, Ohier

PostPosted: Sat Dec 23, 2000 9:01 pm     Reply with quote
Thanks everyobdy! Good rules, sounds like I will put down the tablet for a while. Painting just has something digital painting doesn't.

mk: Gouache costs about $15 bucks for .4 oz around here, at least twice as expensive as any other kind of paint. I spent $50 on just white for just 4 color studies. I think it may be because there is a shortage from the college students sucking it all up. It does seem like the paint to learn with though, since it is kind of in the middle on the scale of forgiveness, 10 beaing digital and 1 being watercolor.

Spooge: I should be more specific. Oils have an excellent blending quality, but I hate all the crap that comes along with turpentine/noid.

Again, thanks everyone. Merry Christmas/Chanukah/Ramadon/Kwanza/don't sue me!


[This message has been edited by Ben Barker (edited December 23, 2000).]
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Krazy
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Joined: 09 Dec 2000
Posts: 238
Location: MI, US

PostPosted: Sun Dec 24, 2000 1:44 pm     Reply with quote
sigh i cant paint in the physical sense wih i could though
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quaternius
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Joined: 20 Nov 2000
Posts: 220
Location: Albany, CA

PostPosted: Tue Dec 26, 2000 9:28 pm     Reply with quote
Great advice from spooge. You can also get blends by using a sort-of dry-brush technique. Use a "round" brush, squish it out flat with your fingers so it looks kinda like a fan. You want the paint on it to be "damp" not wet. then use a light touch to drag this across the blend area. You can go lighter or darker, the idea is to allow some, or a lot of the paint beneath to show through. This is pretty much the opposite of the wet into wet technique that Spooge was referring to that you would use earlier in the painting. This dry-brush technique would generally be used toward the end of your painting as you're detailing and rendering. Alternately, you could use a "damp" brush (no paint, just water-damp) to lightly re-wet and blend a transition area you want to blend. Both of these techniques take quite a bit of practice to learn the "feel" and correct dampness.

Bookwise,there's not many books out there that deal specifically with goauche. I've looked for them and they're very rare. When you do a search also search under "opaque watercolor". I would recommend the following out-of-print used books, (you may be able to find them on a booksearch like "american book exchange":
"Painting in Opaque Watercolor" by Rudy de Reyna (1969) A great how-to book with step-by-step instruction. Starts you out with gray-scale paintings and works up to full color. Best and simplest book out there, IMHO.
"Gouache for Illustration" by Rob Howard, (1993)The most recent definitive guide on gouache I've been able to find. Covers materials, technique and studio tips. Good book. I was lucky enough to get my copy directly from Rob.
By the way, if you don't have a copy of Rob Howard's book "The Illustrator's Bible", you should get one. It covers nearly every technique and material you would use in traditional illustration.

Since you mention the expensive price of gouache, you might also want to try "tempera". My local art stores carry it in little 2 or 4oz squeeze bottles, so it's already close to the right painting consistency of heavy cream. The quality varies wildly between manufacturers, but it's almost as opaque as genuine "gouache", costs a lot less and is already "mixed" and ready to paint. If you're learning, this is a great way to start, 'cause you can use and throw away a lot of paint without spending much money. Switch to the more expensive genuine gouache paint when you feel more confident. Do a search under "the Art Store" or "Dick Blick" for online sources.

Good luck -

Q

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-Quaternius
http://quaternius.tripod.com/Forum
cubic44@yahoo.com
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