Last week I ordered some Windsor and Newton designers gouache paints as it’s a medium I have been meaning to try for a while. I was looking for something with more opacity than watercolour, but which could be applied in thin washes when required – gouache ticks both these boxes.

I experimented mixing a few colours and adding different amounts of water until I got a bit more used to how they work.

This is the result of my first whole painting – I love it! Very rarely am I completely satisfied with something I’ve painted (any artist will say the same!) so I’m so pleased that this one has gone so well!

gouache painting step by step

I took some step by step photos while I was doing it. Firstly I planned it out with a rough sketch – I had an idea in my mind so it was just a case of getting it down on paper.

gouache painting step by step

Then I drew it out onto some smooth mounting board, making the lines quite dark so they’d just show through the paint. The first layer is a gradient of colours from dark blue at the top to green at the bottom. I mixed all of the colours prior to painting so I could quickly switch from one to the other without them drying.

gouache painting step by step

I had to pick out some of the outlines again as they didn’t all show through, then I started blocking in colours.

gouache painting step by step

In hindsight I shouldn’t have started with the lamp because I needed to paint the bushes in the background. I built up the scene bit by bit, from background to foreground.

gouache painting step by step

gouache painting step by step

One of my favourite parts was adding the highlights, picking up the light from the lamp.

gouache painting step by step

gouache painting step by step

When everything was painted and dry, I outlined it with a fine, 005 black Pigma Micron pen. Et voilà!

gouache painting step by step

I’ve also been doing some more work on this paper cut commission which I started last week. Every time I have 10 minutes spare I cut a little bit more.

paper cut heart

Finally, I thought you might like to see my little work desk as it looked today! Got the essentials there – a cupcake and a cup of tea!

my drawing board

I’m sharing this post on the following blogs: Paint Party FridayHandmade Harbour and Blue Chair Diary Illustrations!


Such a beautiful painting! I haven’t used gouache in a long time. I forgot how pretty and bold the colors can be. Visiting from Sunday Sketches!!

what a delightful illustration!! Thanks for sharing about the gouache- I have never worked with it. And that papercutting-wow-it is amazing! i would never have that kind of patience. Happy PPF a bit late!

It is great to see a painting come alive from an idea onto the canvas. The colors are great. The light, shadows and highlights look great, too. Why did you outline the painting with black? Some people argue outlining the objects kind of flattens them, instead of keeping in 3D. I always wonder how artists decide. Did you want it to look more like an illustration?

Sorry for the delayed reply! I actually thought it looked quite flat without the black, so decided to outline it. I’m also really inspired by Nicole Gustafsson and she uses black to outline her pieces. 🙂

lovely to see all the stages of your painting. And your work desk, where your painting seems smaller than I had imagined, which makes it even cuter. The paper cut is beautiful too.

Wonderful work here, Clare. Your gouache painting turned out beautifully. I have two sets of watercolor gouache I’ve been wanting to try out. I must do it this week. I love how blended the colors are…something I’ve been wanting more of in my own work. Well done. Also love your paper cut! Wow! 🙂

You truly are my hero this week because I bought gouache paints as well for the first time in my life but didn’t start because I wasn’t sure how to begin and now I found the greatest tutorial today on your blog!!!! The outcome of your painting is excellent and breathtaking and since I have seen your picture I am so motivated to start tonight! Many many thanks :)!

The painting is lovely, what a good idea to outline the bits with a pen. The papercut is amazing, I would not have the patience never mind the skill!

Oh Claire , I love your gouache painting. It’s so delightful and how generous of you to show all the various stages of it’s development. I’m definitely going to have to try to paint with gouache.
I like to have an ongoing project too, but your paper cut design is incredibly intricate and beautiful. You must have such patience.
Thanks for sharing especially your desk. I always love to see where people’s creations are born.
I hope you have a wonderful creative week ahead 😀

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