Color Techniques for Drawing


Lesson Info

How to Apply Color Using Gouache

Now if you guys want to follow along just take your indigo paint as a dark blue. It's gonna look, that's gray. There's indigo. I've got some in my palette right here. We're gonna do the same thing with gouache in the next lesson and see how it's different. Gouache is opaque water color. And what does that mean? Water color is transparent and gouache is opaque meaning the paper is gonna show through a lot more. And people use gouache for a lot of graphic design and illustration because you really want to get that exact color and put that color somewhere. If someone is telling you, "This is our color range and we're" "matching this because the trim is that," and they want your drawing that color. This is how you mix the color and you put it in the right spot. The other thing about gouache is like acrylics or oil paints you can paint anything dark and since it's opaque you can put white highlights on top. So you don't have to worry about saving out all your highlights. That's kind of one ...

of the biggest differences. In water color you have to leave all the whites first and then paint darker. With gouache or acrylic or oils, you can start out with a medium tone or any tone you want and put the whites on top of it. So you saw what I did around here. Now we can just feel free to experiment and do the same thing to the next ones. I'm gonna go around with gouache. And you should be able to do this if you want in studio, we have the navy blue paint. And we're gonna start off here real thin. See how that looks. It's a slightly different color, it does seem to go on a lot stronger, it's more concentrated. So I got it pretty dark right in the beginning because it's very concentrated. But I can lift some and make it light, let's see what happens when we put it on here. I'm gonna put that away. Okay. Seems to be sticking to that pretty well. So that's thin. Now let's see how thick we can get it. Now this is where gouache really gets thick. What you want to do is mix the stuff that comes out of the tube with just a little bit of water so you get this kind of creamy consistency, and just lay it on thick and solid in one heavy coat so you don't see any of the paper coming through. Okay. So that's why people use gouache, because it just completely covers solidly. You don't see any paper through. Let's do that over here too. You can tell on the coated it keeps wanting to run away and form little beads. It attracts it to itself. Okay. Thick, thin. Now let's try fade. Okay. That's fairly similar. So it's opaque but you can still get it transparent if you want. Okay. This one really shows up a lot more bumps. See how this one kind of smooths out and it melts into itself? This one you get a lot more variation. This is one of the reasons why I paint on this, because I actually like that messy look. I think it's kind of fun to get something messy on there and just clean it up a little bit and leave the natural marks that it makes. Now I'm gonna paint all the rest of these in medium because I just want to try showing you what's it's like when you remove it. Okay. Okay. Okay, I'm gonna dry that just a little bit. Okay. So you can see how that dried with all these crazy textures and washy things in there. And this one kind of soaks into the paper and it smooths itself out a little bit. Now let's try removing some, just do a few dots on here, and then do a few dots on here. Okay. Let's see what happens. Yeah, that one lifted off pretty well. There, so that's why I like it, because you can do that. Just like I like to use a regular eraser in my pencil drawing as a drawing tool so I can knock highlights out, this one I can also knock highlights out with too. And then that one doesn't really remove as well. So really if you're not comfortable with how messy this gets just go ahead and stick with this. But I just want to show you that this is an option. And you may see it come up in some of my samples that I show you. So you know how it's done.

Are you ready to work with color on your drawing but overwhelmed by all the possible options? In this class, professional painter & illustrator Cleo Papanikolas shares fun, beginner-friendly color application techniques that can turn anyone’s drawings into vibrant finished pieces.

In this class Cleo will teach you 8 different color styles ranging from spot color techniques to using metallics with illustrations.

You'll also learn how to:
  • Load and Apply color with your brush 
  • Use different mediums: watercolor, gouache, brush pens and colored pencil 
  • Create harmonious color palettes
With your finished color pieces, Cleo will show you how to move your drawings out of your sketchbook and out into the world. Learn how to display your drawings on gallery walls and onto physical products, from iPhone cases to large scale tapestries, with sites like Society6.  



  • A great student for this class is someone who is newer to art and just wants to try a bunch of different mediums. The course is not the right fit for me personally. It's more of a "here's an interesting medium" class than a technique class. It scratches the surface but doesn't have the depth I'd like to see. One way I'd suggest improving the class would be letting students see the process from start to finish using slightly sped-up frames with narration in the background. I'd like more information about the technical parts -- just more depth. I'd like variations for more advanced students including color mixing or other more difficult techniques. I wish I could rate this with stars instead of just thumbs-up or thumbs-down. It's not just one or the other.
  • So sad to say this, but I was expecting MUCH more. Cleo is really fun and creative but I thought I was going to learn some new and exquisit artistic technics but instead I saw things I could discover by myself on Youtube :( I´m very disappointed. Thanks, Carmen
  • I'm so disappointed in this class, it's really not even worth the sale price of $18.00 her presentation skills are NOT good, and the content is a true beginning level, but they will be very confused!! This is the first Creative Live class I've taken that I didn't appreciate. This is NOT up to your level of professionalism. You should remove it from your line up of offerings.