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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    New York, NY
    Thanked 94 Times in 76 Posts

    Why is my Gouache going on so streaky?

    I just bought a basic set of gouache to mess around with to paint quicker illustrations. But I can't seem to get that nice smooth matte finish that I've seen in other's gouache paintings. Mine is lumpy and streaky or if I water it down it just looks like water colors and isn't that nice chalky matte finish. I've spent an hour wasting a lot of paint trying to figure this out. But I've got nothing. I have zero idea what's gone wrong. I want that nice crisp finish with no visible brush strokes.

    I'm using Winsor & Newton Designer's Gouache, not that I even sort of think it's the paint brand. It's totally me.

    I'm painting on un-gessoed paper.
    Last edited by MyOrangeHat; March 28th, 2010 at 12:22 AM.
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  3. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Toronto, Canada
    Thanked 503 Times in 314 Posts
    I really don't think it's the medium. It's just practice and experience. Because I have a friend who can do the same thing with acrylics. No one believes it's not gouache cause it's very matte and very smooth. So it's all about knowing how to lay the paint down.

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  5. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Thanked 66 Times in 12 Posts
    Yeah gouache is a pain as some colors need less water in comparison to others. It's usually trial and error to get that matte look. And you kinda apply the paint like watercolors. It was fun when I tried it last year, but I got a bit impatient with the whole "colors changing into a different value when it dries" aspect.

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  7. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Thanked 13 Times in 13 Posts
    The paint can be a bit finicky. You have to get the right water to paint ratio. I've heard some people describe it as a "thick cream". Some colours are more opaque than others, so I end up bulking them out a bit with white pigment.

    Don't overwork the area and remember the colours will dry different to how they look wet. Personally, I think you shouldn't worry about that smooth matte effect for now, and just get a better feel for the paint.

    My somewhat amateur opinion, anyway.

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  9. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Redlands, So. California
    Thanked 89 Times in 63 Posts
    I'm using them in the color and design class at AAU, they're a pain. Let me say that again; They are a pain.
    Basically the consistency should look like melted ice cream, use soft bristled brushes and don't over work the area. They also don't work to well if you layer colors on top of one another (lumpy), so you'll have to plan out your composition so that highlights, midtones and shadows all butt up against each other.
    Personally if you're wanting to do quicker illos stick to acrylic it's cheaper, less finicky and the colors dry truer. With gouache the colors dry alot darker or lighter than the wet paint.

  10. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Outside Toronto
    Thanked 349 Times in 125 Posts
    Thinking back to my college days I never seemed to have a problem with gouache. We used Pelikan in jars. I used sable and synthetic flats for any large areas and W&N series 7s (#3 & 6) for details and other brushwork.

    Paint was thinned to the consistency of thick cream.


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