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Getting Started with Watercolor & Gouache Paints

Lesson 10 of 13

Demo: Create a Gradient with Gouache Paints

 

Getting Started with Watercolor & Gouache Paints

Lesson 10 of 13

Demo: Create a Gradient with Gouache Paints

 

Lesson Info

Demo: Create a Gradient with Gouache Paints

Let's talk about the different types of paper, because a lot of people don't know that there are different types. I want to show you the three main types of watercolor paper, are hot-pressed, cold-pressed, and rough. Hot press, which is, this is hot press, it's basically a really smooth surface. If we put a mark on it, and I'm not sure how visible it'll be, but I'm hoping you can see the difference between hot-pressed and cold-pressed. If I use some color here and I'm gonna test, let's say I'll try a different color. Let's do viridian, just a little bit here. There's a little cover on, they put these caps on so the color doesn't just pour out. One way, also, I'll tell you a little tip. If you squeeze out color and you get too much off the top of it, pinch the sides of the tube and it (whooshing), it sucks the color back in. That's really handy because if you have a big blob at the end and you don't need to use it, you don't wanna waste your paint. Pinching the sides, like pinching the ...

belly of the tube, pulls that color right back in. If we're painting on a hot press, basically the hot press is extremely smooth. What's nice about hot press is you're not really getting a grain of the paper. It's smooth, it's not meant to have a lot grain. This is really good if you add colored pencil or pastel to your surface. It's not going to give you too much texture, but it really depends on the effect that you choose to have for your surfaces. You can see, there's not a lot of, there's a little bit of green, but there's not a lot of green to the hot-pressed surface. I tend to like hot press because I do pastel and colored pencil in combination with my watercolor and I want it to be smooth. I don't want the texture of the paper to be an issue. We also refer to texture as tooth, the tooth of the paper. This is a hot press. Now, we will shift to what's called, no, I don't want to do this one. I wanna go to cold press. Now, you'll notice that I painted on this and it's not stretched and it's not gonna wrinkle. The reason why is because of the weight of the paper. In addition to the different types of paper, the weight of the paper makes a difference for stretching or non-stretching. This is what's called 300 pound which means that it is a thick, thick paper and you don't have to stretch it. I can paint all over this thing and it's not going anywhere. 140 pound is a medium weight and you do have to stretch it. 90 pound is the thinnest paper and you say, well, why would you bother using anything that's thinner than 300? If you don't have to stretch it, you're saving time. You don't have to bother with the stretching. If you are printing, as I showed you my panda picture, I quite literally printed my drawing onto the watercolor surface with a printer. I used, I went to I think it was Staples, and you can go to any place that makes copies, and I did 11 by 17. You cannot put a 300 pound paper through a Staples, or any other kind of copy machine. It will break the machine. You can't even do 140 pound. 90 pound is the only paper that tends to go through most printers. Even home printers, you can do a 90, but super thin, but you have to stretch it after. That's kind of important, otherwise it'll buckle. This is a 300 pound, hot press paper. 300 pound, 140 or 150 intermediary, 90 pound is the thinnest. You can literally see the density or thickness of this. The hot press, really smooth, nice for tools like colored pencils and pastels. Let's test this one which is called cold press. Cold press has some texture. Let's see if I can make it visible to you and this is also 300 pound, you don't have to stretch it. I don't know if this is clear, but it literally looks like a bumpy surface of a brownie or something like that. It's literally a texture. I don't know if you can see, maybe if I do a denser coloration you can see that there is a beady-ness to it. That texture is something that painters throughout time who are traditional watercolor painters, they don't wanna mix media, they just want watercolor, love that texture and if I do dry brush. Let me just do, I'll use a different brush. I'll use my angular and I'll use a new color. Kenna, do you have a preference for what color I should use? A green, please. A green, okay. Why don't we, oh, let's do a gouache. 'Cause I wanna talk about gouache soon, but we'll start with the gouache. It's much more opaque. It's still a water-based medium, it's still a form of watercolor. It's just more opaque and that might be visible here. Okay, so, can you see the texture of that? It's probably more visible now and I'm not pressing too heavily, but that texture is what painters love traditionally with watercolor. You can also see, I'm just gonna show you with the gouache, it gets really dense. I mean, look at the thickness of that. You can't get that kind of thickness easily with most watercolor 'cause it's just too transparent. I can thin out the gouache. Let's see, again, functions just like watercolor, but it stays more solidly, densely opaque. Even when I add, look at how much water I've added, you can see the difference, I think, between this watercolor green and this gouache. I believe it is called, it's an olive based, yeah, olive green. Now, I'm gonna try to thin it out even more so you can maybe see the texture of this watercolor. It's easier, I think, to see dry brush. Yeah, you can see it dry brush. This is cold press. It's in-between the hot press and the most rough surface which is quite literally called rough. Now, I'll show you the rough. This is rough, but I wanna use that for a gradient for our gouache. This is the rough surface and, again, I don't know that you can really see that roughness, so I'll try to capture that with a different colored gouache. What would you like? How about orange? Orange, okay. Here we go, this is literally called cadmium, it's says cadmium yellow deep, but it's really orange, as you can see. Okay, so let's test this on this surface and see if we can see that super-graininess. Again, this is for preference. The only way to know what these things do is to test them and try them and play with them. The word play is really critical. Anybody can do the things I'm doing right now. We're learning about the materials. We're getting a relationship with the materials. I would encourage anybody to pickup the brushes, get the paints out, and just play, and have a good time with it. I'm a big fan of testing and playing now, and I've been doing this for a long time. The joy of this was I got to test all these things before teaching this class to you today and I had a ball. I wasn't trying to make a finished, fancy picture, I was just trying to get to know these different materials and some of the wash I don't usually use, because I make my own. Now, can you see that texture? Can you see that kind of, it's really, it's great for dry brush because it gives you this wonderful, textural surface to work on. It almost feels like pastels. When I'm using the brush in this dry way, it almost feels like pastels. I'd be curious to know, and this is another thing, I like to try things that isn't something somebody else has done, and so I have to do it that way. I wanna grab, if I had pastel, I'd test it on this surface right now to see what it does. The only way you're gonna know is to try it. I'm never afraid to give it a shot. It might not look that good or it might not work, but it's just like in cooking. You have to try things to know if it'll work or not. I encourage you to do that, but the difference between the three is you can see that the cold press has a texture and it almost looks at textural as this, but it's not. This has much more bumpiness to it. You have rough, which is the most textured, cold press in-between, hot press is smooth. Again, this is really, if you're doing a lot pencil work, this is probably the best surface to use because the bump here is so large, it's gonna create a really big grain, especially if you're working on a tiny picture. Okay, these are your three types of watercolor papers. I do have a flavorite or a favorite which is Arches. I love Arches watercolor paper. I've been using it for as long as I've been painting and I've tried different papers. You can get it at Blick. It is a beautiful paper. No matter what weight you get, it just absorbs the watercolor in a way that makes the watercolor happy. It's worth it to get a nicer piece of paper and you can get the Arches in a block. You can get, the Blick block is really good too. I tried that and I loved it, but the Arches watercolor paper you can buy in sheets, individual sheets, so you can test it. You can buy one sheet of the cold press, one sheet of hot press, one sheet of the rough and play and test with it, and not have to commit necessarily to a whole block of paper. These are the three types and the weights again, a 300 pound, heaviest, 140 pound, in-between, 90 pound, super-thin, you can run it through a printer.

Class Description

Are you interested in working with watercolor and/or gouache paints but not sure how to get started? In this course artist and illustrator, Mary Jane Begin will introduce you to the world of watercolor and gouache paints. This class is perfect for beginners looking to learn the basics of the medium in order to begin a painting practice. By the end of this course, you will be equipped with the know-how to pick up a brush and start experimenting with watercolors and gouache!

In this class you’ll learn:

  • All about the different types of watercolor and gouache paints available on the market and how they work
  • Which brushes and papers to use with those paints
  • How to begin making simple marks and shapes to familiarize yourself with the medium



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Reviews

shoney
 

I really enjoy Mary Jane Begin's style of teaching--I have a degree in Fine Art and have been painting for years, but think she does such a good job of building on the basics and encouraging play. Get your supplies ready ahead of time, if like me you want to play along. Thank you!

user-b0a82a
 

Fantastic class - so informative and inspiring. After watching the lessons, I picked up my watercolors and started playing around with some of the covered techniques. Highly recommended!

a Creativelive Student
 

The watercolor class was fantastic! MJ is a great instructor!