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A Technique to Try at Home – How to use Gouache with Templates
Doing a search and find book is fun, but it means a lot of computer work which isn’t necessarily good for the eyes. I am yearning for simple, messy, wet, colourful paint. But, I do not want to fall in the habit of trying to make things look hyper-realistic whilst painting. So I have decided to use a template technique with gouache. It is easy to learn. And for a simple image, you won’t need much time at all.
All you need is some thin cardboard, 1-2 bristle brushes or a kitchen sponge, cut up and some gouache or cheap acrylics, a sketchbook, a knife and an idea.
My suggestion is to ransack the fridge. You probably have some fruit in it. You want to keep your experiment simple, so select a piece of fruit. It doesn’t have to be perfect. In fact, I chose a pear that was turning brown. I placed it on a white plate just in case it started to leak. (It didn’t).
- Place your fruit (or vegetable) in a place where it casts a nice looking shadow.
- Set up your palette. For this pear, I use yellow, dark blue and caput mortem, which is a reddish purple. Note: gouache dries more slowly than acrylic and you can reactivate it with water. You will have to cover up the acrylic or add a moistening medium to it to keep it workable.
- Cut two rectangles larger than your drawing will be. Draw your food shape onto one rectangle.Now draw the shape of the shadow on the other. I would recommend just exaggerating the food shape in width and length. Don’t worry about being too specific. Tip: Label your templates, i.e. Pear, Pear Shadow.Cut out the food shapes wiith the knife. Set them aside. You should now have two negative and two positive forms each.
Insider Tip: My newsletter readers can download and print out the pear templates I’ve made.
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Next comes the fun part.
- Place the rectangle shadow template on your paper and tape it down.
- Place the cut out fruit (not the shadow) over that. The open space that is formed will be where you paint the shadow.Tape it down, too.
- Dab your bristle brush into the blue and then onto your paper inside of the template. You can let a little of the paper show through. That will add an interesting texture. Let dry for a few minutes.
- Next line up the square fruit template over the image you’ve just painted and tape it down.
- This is where I made a happy mistake. I dabbed a little of the blue onto a spot on my pear. I changed brushes and then used some of my cadmium yellow. It smoothed over the blue and made a nice green spot. Try that.
- Finally, dab the reddish brown paint onto parts of the pear. Remember to paint the stem, too.
You are done. Wasn’t that easy? You could make a whole fruit bowl this way.