First Time Trying Gouache - Painting Strawberries

I've been having a lot of fun playing (my focus for 2023!) with the new art supplies I got for Christmas. Among those is gouache. If you're not familiar with gouache, it is a water-based paint. It is similar to watercolor in that it can be re-wetted (unlike acrylic), but is heavier in body than watercolor and dries opaque. Before this project, I'd never used gouache; in fact, it was barely on my radar until I participated in Sketchbook Party and so many of the instructors mentioned it. 

I did a bunch of research to decide what brand of gouache to try. I didn't necessarily need expensive, professional-quality paint, but I definitely didn't want my first experience with gouache to be impacted by the limitations of cheap product. The reviews led me to HIMI's 18-set of gouache, which many artists mentioned as the perfect compromise between price and quality. (Affiliate link here and throughout the post.) I filled a sketchbook page with strawberries for my first time using gouache. 

Gouache comes in tubes and in pans. The downside to pans (or cups, as HIMI calls them) is that once you've opened them, they tend to dry out. But remember, gouache can be re-wetted, just like the 8-pan Crayola watercolors you used in elementary school. 

For my strawberry painting, I used a total of 6 colors: red, pink, two greens, yellow, and black. I started by making blobs of red and pink in my sketchbook, experimenting with mixing the two and adding water to get different colors. I was pleased with how easy it was to use the gouache and how well it covered the page. I was also happy with how many different shades I could make from just the two pans. 

Next, I filled in the background with black gouache. Here is where I could truly appreciate the opaque finish. It covered beautifully and dried much faster than I expected. 

When the black was completely dry, I added leaves and stems in two different shades of green. 

Finally, I used a skewer to dot tiny little yellow seeds onto all of my strawberries. 

Overall, I was very happy with my first dive into gouache. I recommend giving the HIMI set a try. I'm looking forward to diving into it again soon. 

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