Gouache and Gesso


Easy project today that every one of you can do as well. And it will look just as nice as mine – if not better. For supplies I grabbed:

Miya Arts sent me some of their gouache paints to work with. And my Leda books can handle just about anything! The pages are sturdy but not necessarily thick . . .

. . . so I began with my clear gesso and the color shaper tool.

I used the color shaper tool to apply the gesso directly onto the pages. This gives the pages a little more ‘body’ and prevents color from bleeding through to the back of the pages. I still need to work with the tool to figure out how much gesso to apply. I used too much here and that is why you see streaks. I kept working with it and was able to get the pages smooth, but I also wasted some product in the process.

See the difference? No streaks in this picture. Just smooth. I began the color process with my purple gouache and a flat brush – I just made slashes of color. Nothing fancy. No real talent needed here. Thankfully. I also added some pink gouache but neglected to get a photo.

Just a few acrylic colors is all you need for this project.

Then think ‘mark making’ tools. I will do a post soon showing you some possible tools you likely have at home. This white ring came from a stack of DVDs. I used it to make yellow circles on my pages.

And then I just blotted the white ring on a paper towel and put it back in the drawer. Future projects do not care if the ring is white or not.

This is a white cardboard tube and I don’t remember where I got it but I have five of them. And no, they are not what they look like. They make the perfect small ring to go with the larger yellow ones I already stamped on my pages.

Kind of wonky shaped. I like it that way. And again, I just wiped the tube off on a paper towel and threw it back in the drawer.

A favorite mark maker and most people have access to this at some point. I try to keep some bubble wrap on hand. I cut it into pieces about 6″ x 6″ and stack them up in a drawer. And these I do not try to clean. I just throw them away when I’m done.

From the plate straight to the page. Some people roll color onto the bubble wrap with a brayer, I just put the paint on a styrofoam paint and rub the bubble wrap in it. Whatever works for you – works for me πŸ™‚

You should be able to make several stamps of bubbles with that one inking. And in this photo you see that I also used some blush color on the bubble wrap before I threw this bit away. And that Miya Arts gouache is still showing up and standing out. Nice paints!

Here’s a close up from the photo before. I put some black acrylic on the plate and sprayed it with water. Then took my fan brush and made splatters on the two pages. And that was all I did with color. It really doesn’t have to be precise because you are going to cover most of it up anyway.

I have various templates I keep in a ziplock bag in my desk but I didn’t have small enough circles for this particular size sketchbook. So I cut a couple extras from a sheet of card stock. I figured three size circles would be plenty for the smaller pages I was working on – the pages are approximately 5″ x 8″.

It had been awhile since I used the black gesso. Who knew it would separate and I would have to stir it up to remix it. Weird. But . . . huge popsicle stick to the rescue.

Sorry for the blur but it’s the only photo I took of this step. Place one of the circle templates onto the page and add the black gesso around the circle. You could use a paint brush or a sponge brush – I used a blending tool. Anything that will get the gesso down while you hold your template in place. Continue that process of making circles over both pages, then use a paintbrush or blending tool to fill in the areas between the circles with more black.

I could have added a few more circles, or placed them closer together but I like the open and light feel.

And the last step was to use the white Sharpie paint pen to scribble write around the circles. By going over both the color filled circles and the black gesso – you combine and tie your project together. You may be asking what scribble writing is. It is nothing. Literally. There are no words on there. Just scribbled letters. And typically I start with the letter A and scribble my way through the alphabet. Sometimes on pages like this I may scribble write quotes but I did not do that this time. Lastly I used the white Sharpie to write the star quote, make the star, and to make random dots. Easy project from start to finish that took about an hour – allowing for drying time. And I did use a heat tool on parts of it. Leda’s sketchbook is perfect for this kind of project and the Miya Arts Gouache worked great as well!

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14 thoughts on “Gouache and Gesso

  1. I was following along with your process, thinking, hmmm this one is a bit too bright and gaudy for me and then pow – you laid down that black and it all made sense! I think the final image is a snapshot of the Galaxy of Alice!

  2. Quite a process Alice – Love it! So glad you mentioned the white circle was from dvd’s – I thought it was a life saver – haha!

  3. Aha, I can see a tangle too – perfect examples of ‘Therefore.’ Love the way your scribble writing ties the white & black areas together.

  4. Neat design! Neat to see how you did this. I originally only saw the end result on Instagram.

    • yes, I learned this technique from Tracy Lake and it is very easy to do. you should give it a go πŸ™‚

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