View Full Version : Making gouache with dried tempera pigment...

11-13-2006, 09:08 PM
Lets get this out of the way.... I'm cheap and spending close to 9 bucks retail for a little gouache doesn't please me much :lol:. Ok so anyhow, supposedly gouache is pretty easy to make so I figure I'll try and find me some dry pigments yet the only thing I can remotely find locally is "Rich-Art POWDER PIGMENT tempera" JUST ADD WATER! I thought they were just pigments till I read the small letters of "tempera". So anyhow these colors look pretty good, nice and bright. But I'm wondering about the added word "tempera". Some reading yields that some tempera is binded with gum arabic others egg etc.

1) I'm wondering since I've never used the stuff what's the difference between a Tempera binded with Gum Arabic and Watercolor/Gouache?

3) Is there any danger of the pigments just simply being bad? Bottled they look nice, But I wouldn't want to drop a little water in them and the red to pink up etc. I'm guessing this would have to do with what mineral the pigment was ground from.

2) And the basic question could I take this powdered tempera pigment and add crap to make gouache with them? I don't see how you can "just add water" unless it has some sort of binder in it already making the need to buy Gum Arabic useless, in which case I would need to just get something to thicken it (some say Precipitated Chalk, others say Gouache is just more pigment so a big pool of pigment and a drop of water, and maybe some natural honey. :P)

Any suggestions?

Richard Saylor
11-13-2006, 10:38 PM
"Tempera" without the "egg" qualification is usually just another word for poster paint, which is basically cheap gouache. It surely contains some kind of water soluble glue/binder. It should not be necessary to add chalk or honey.

Dick Blick has Gamblin pigments. The average price for 4 oz of an earth pigment is $6.49.

You don't need to pay $9 for a little tube of ready-made gouache. Maimeri gouache is just $4.79 for a 20 ml tube at Dick Blick. Da Vinci gouache (available at Cheap Joe's) is even a little cheaper than Maimeri, and the quality is very good, in my opinion.


11-14-2006, 12:31 AM
Point taken and quite a few of the Holbein's are even a few cents cheaper at DickBlick. But I don't particularly like the practice of them price gauging you on shipping to make up the cost... which many online art stores like to do specially when I'm not looking to buy alot. But as you say if this stuff isn't some sort of dried egg tempera then I guess it's some sort of "cheap gouache" with some sort of gum arabic (hopefully) then I could fiddle with the ingredients to make the consistency to my liking. Heh, wish painting supplies just had an ingredient list like food :lol: Though I'm probly getting ahead of myself because it surely probly isn't simply pure pigment and gum arabic.

11-15-2006, 12:11 AM
I use Dispersions and add them to whatever binder I have in the studio or Refrig (egg is easy to use because the dispersion of pigment is ready to go). Goggle has a video about them...put in 'gouache or egg-tempera' and watch the video.

11-15-2006, 12:31 AM
W/c, gouache, and egg-tempera are the short list of waterbased media I enjoy. But to keep a palette of each would put me in the poor-house. I like Good Dispersions of pigments and then I only have to stir them into my binder, Egg or Gum Arabic most of the time. Gouache is 'opaque', w/c is 'transparent'...so, a little zinc white or another weak-white or simply more pigment(density). 'Google Video' has a demo, check it out....search egg-tempera or gouache and watch the little clip. I have been using them for years.

11-15-2006, 05:36 AM
I think I saw the little video you were talking about, thanks. I was going by what I saw on this site: http://www.paintmaking.com/grinding_watercolor_gouache.htm But yeah that's pretty much what I'm talking about. It's just this stuff I saw is basically powder pigment... but then in little letters says "tempera" and claims that you can paint with it by "just adding water" which would signify that it has some sort of dried binder hidden in there, I'm guessing. And since I don't exactly know how much of said binder there is too pigment load or even what the binder is exactly, or if it has a binder at all I'm a bit confused, cause all I see is pretty yellow, red, blue powder :P.

11-15-2006, 11:32 AM
checkout 'pigmentsplus.com' they have free video demos...email them if you have a question....
pigments and binders are not complicated...but starting looks like a mountain. Best-of-Life

11-15-2006, 04:25 PM
It's not that it look particularly hard, just more so wondering if the junk I found was suitable. Thanks for the link though, I'll take a look. :clap:

11-15-2006, 04:54 PM
sorry, I am not familiar with that product...personally, it sounds a little questionable because: gum arabic needs to be desolved in very warm water (easy to do but the water must be hot) - that is the same for starch/dextrin...Dried-egg? I think not. Perhap CMC (a methel-cellulose)! That is probably the binder...it is like a wallpaper paste and some of them disolve in room temp. water.
I would stick to pigments + gum arabic + a drop of honey(for flow) or glycerine from the pharmacy(a drop goes a long way)...another good binder is 'water-soluble shellac'(you can find that at that site I mentioned earlier).

11-15-2006, 07:53 PM
Hm, I don't understand what you're saying about gum arabic needing hot water too disolve... unless you mean the raw materials. Because I'm pretty sure that gum arabic is also in the cake/pans and you can use that with any kind of water. Of course it isn't a dry powdery substance either... just curious what you meant exactly. Anywho I'll end up and keep searching for some dry pigments locally or just give the stuff I saw a try and see what happens. Didn't know that glycerine could be found at the pharmacy either, I'll have to check that out too :).

11-15-2006, 10:06 PM
Hm, I don't understand what you're saying about gum arabic needing hot water too disolve... unless you mean the raw materials. Because I'm pretty sure that gum arabic is also in the cake/pans and you can use that with any kind of water.
Powdered gum arabic doesn't dissolve very well unless it's warm.

11-15-2006, 10:47 PM
Ah, I see. I didn't even know the stuff CAME powdered. Anywho thanks for the info guys.

11-16-2006, 01:18 AM
[quote=twiddlydee]Hm, I don't understand what you're saying about gum arabic needing hot water too disolve... unless you mean the raw materials.

That is what I meant, raw material is heated in water, makes a solution and can be stored for a long time. Hope you enjoy the product you have.