What is the only thing in the entire world that I get most excited about aside from good food, pandas and flamingos? If you know me well you should know the answer, which is new art supplies in case you were wondering! Yes, there is nothing better than unwrapping a new pen or a set of paints and trying them out for the first time. So that leads me on to today’s topic, where I am going to be discussing (more like rambling on about) my new gouache paints and the first painting I did with them.
The first thing I did with my paints was test out the colours. The colours can look so different to when they are in their block of colour compared to what they look like actually on the page. These Caran d’Ache gouache paints looked very different when I did a little colour test with them, but I love a perfect excuse to do some colour swatches. Therefore, I always recommend that you “get to know” your new colours before you begin, as weird as it sounds. No one wants to be in a middle of a painting when they discover that a colour that looks suspiciously like a primary red is in fact a very bright pink, right?
Along with the colour swatches, I filled an A4 sheet of paper with little experiments and doodles with the gouache. This really allowed me to grasp the idea of what the paints were really like and was just such a fun thing to do. I had a go at all sorts of doodles from hearts and swirls to lots of lines.
Painting a Panda
As my mind was pondering about what to paint with my new paints, which is half the problem, I knew that I wanted to paint something that I am familiar with and draw quite a lot. So naturally a panda came to mind, of course! I know you are all probably sick of pandas, but I just had a feeling that these gouache paints would be able to do a furry, panda friend justice.
First of all I applied my first wash of paint and instantly fell in love with the way they worked their magic across the page. With my paintbrush, which came with the set, I was able to achieve a lot of texture to resemble the pandas fur, which is quite cool.
Gouache is a medium that is like the in between point of watercolour and acrylic, I suppose. It is a water based paint like watercolour, but is opaque like acrylic. To fully put how opaque the colours really were to the test, I applied some of the white paint directly on top of the black fur. In the end, I concluded that the paint does in fact allow you to layer lighter colours over darker colours, which can come in really handy! The white gouache was also in a tube instead of a pan like the other paints, which is quite good as it is much more likely to keep the paint clean.
After I had applied all of the paint, I went around the panda with a black fine liner, because I knew the gouache would hide my pen lines if I applied it at the very beginning. This meant that that my panda was good to go, after a swirl of pink colour on each of the cheeks. Have you ever used gouache before and if so what do you think? I personally cannot wait to work more with gouache in the future.