View Full Version : Guache drying too fast

Mathew Crown
07-06-2002, 07:42 AM
Hello to all.

I am trying to do an illustration with gouache but I cannot smooth as well as i want two adiacent value of color because it dryes very fast and i have not the time to get a good smooth area.
Have I to premix the transition tone on my palette frist?

Any suggestion about that will be very helpful

Best regards


07-06-2002, 08:07 AM
Hi; Guoache is a tricky medium. I was introduced to it in high school for advertising design. We used it to do 2 dimensional, flat colour illustrations. It is hard to ket a flat area sometimes without brush streaks. You have to use a large flat brush and lay it down fast.
I am unsure from just wors, what you are describing. Could you scan and upload the illustration you are working on and the problem you mean?
If you are working in solid colours and need it flat, the paint is used much differently than if you are doing 3 dimensional realistic rendering of a subject.
Guoache can be used by blending and drybrushing. Colours will often lighten up many times lighter than when you apply them too. You can drag the stil damp colours into each other but glazing (laying one colour over another) is trickier than with actual watercolours. Guaoche is a very opaque medium, very chalky and very sensitive to disturbance.

Mathew Crown
07-06-2002, 09:07 AM
I am try to render a woman face, a portrait, monochromatic. The most difficult thing to do for me is to blending a value area (dark) into a lighter area (medium value), without getting sharp edges between the two values.

Are there any methods to blendig areas getting good shading?

I hope to scan this work as soon as i can so you can see it.

07-09-2002, 05:37 AM
Hi Mathew,

I use acrylic gouache paints and I find that mixing a very small amount of retarder medium with the paint is perfect for getting that nice, blended look. Another method it to put a very fine film of retarder on the surface that you want to blend, BEFORE adding your paint to the surface. Straight after either step, your work can be softened further by lightly using a soft, mop brush. The retarder simply slows down the drying process, giving you longer working time. It must be used very sparingly though as the layer remains active for some time until it cures which is important if you are wanting to add more layers over the top. Hope that all makes sense.....

Good luck,

Mathew Crown
07-09-2002, 08:11 AM

Thank you very much Serena. I did not know about this retarder medium but i am going to buy it as soon as possible, I think that would be perfect for me.

Thanks again.


PS: Is this retardr medium's purpose to slow the drying effect of the water right?

07-09-2002, 05:21 PM
Hi again,

Glad to be of help, Mathew. I think the retarder reacts more with the paint than the water. It makes the painting process a little more like blending with oils. I love it and wouldn't be without it for blending. The trick is to use it sparingly, maybe just a drop to each puddle of paint. I'd suggest to experiment a little on a practise board or something til you get the knack of it. You will probably find too, that you won't need as much water either. As Joss said too, dry-brushing and glazing are other methods used and each gives a different effect to the other so it really depends on what end result you are looking for.


Mathew Crown
07-10-2002, 03:51 AM
Thanks again Serena for your Help. :clap:

07-19-2002, 01:23 PM
I seem to recall reading that either Ox Gall or gum arabic would slow the drying of gouache, or at least make it more blendable, but I can't remember which one it was...I don't even know if that's correct or not - does anyone know?


07-19-2002, 03:23 PM
Ox gall is used to help the wetting ability of watercolour - it breaks surface tension. Gum arabic is the basic medium of watercolour, adding more might hold on to water for longer but I'm not sure. It will increase transparency and might affect the dry paint's matt finish as too much in watercolours makes for some shine in areas of heavy application.