Gouache Fashion Illustration Technique
4 GOUACHE COLORS YOU CAN’T LIVE WITHOUT!!
I’m here to introduce your to your
four new best friends (besides ME)!!!
It’s time we all met and hung out!!!
While quiet in appearance, these four simple tubes or colors of “goo-ah-SH” will add dimension, life, and beauty to your gouache illustration technique and can’t be substituted! I’m going to take you through the life cycle of one illustration and show you how they can be used and why I can’t LIVE WITHOUT them!
(I will be illustrating from a lookbook image from Alexandre Herchovitch, an incredible designer from Brazil who was introduced to me by ANOTHER A-M-A-Z-I-N-G Brazilian designer who was my student three times, Fernanda Yamamoto, whose collections in Rio and Sao Paolo fashion weeks blow me away season after season. She used to wear some of his pieces, and when she landed a job with Herchcovitch after graduation before launching her own line, she sent me a package full of these luscious lookbooks.)
This SS07 collection is primarily printed, inspired by the Ndebele, and as you can see those tribal prints are still dominating the scene six years later!
Gouache can be purchased in tubes or in dry palettes. I
n a separate post I will break down my favorite selections and brands. An expensive tube gouache like Winsor&Newton is the most luxurious effect, yet I ADORE the portability and convenience of dry pan palettes of gouache (some kits refer to as OPAQUE WATERCOLOR).
Gouache is that– opaque watercolor that has a more flat and velvety surface. I love it because it looks like fabric, and the painted shape takes on a defined silhouette that has more impact than a simple line drawing.
I’ll be using gouache techniques for illustrating in my online courses.
First I sketch my figure: (see this you tube video for introductory techniques)
Next I break out the first two AMAZING TUBES of paint that EVERY FASHION DESIGNER /ILLUSTRATOR must have.
Naples Yellow and VanDyke Brown by Winsor&Newton
There you have my big secret! Whether you use dry pans or tubes, I don’t care, you still have to by these two colors. Naples Yellow doesn’t work as a skin color by itself. It looks like an office folder in color.
But add ANY amount of Vandyke Brown to it, and you get a range of skin tones from fair to the deepest African skin in a balanced brown that is warm and cool, complimenting every palette.
I like to mix races everywhere I go in search of world peace, so this really works for me. And who wants to sit around mixing complex recipes of skintone like I learned in school? This recipe is SUPER-SIMPLE and gorgeous.
See the range of tones I swatched up at the top of the page:
Next dream color? WHITE!!!!!
You can’t live without white! Fortunately, your paper offers up lots of white and gouache can be wiped away to make highlights on your garments by revealing the paper under the paint, but the wonder of white is that it can add a warm, creaminess to any color that is coming across too “watercolory” and sheer on the page. BUT white colors can look lighter when they are wet– always do a test swatch and don’t approve the color until it dries COMPLETELY. My comprehensive course gives lots of specifics for how to match colors exactly. This garment is actually white…. but notice in the photo the opacity that the paint gives. (Remember to ALWAYS paint white garments white– it looks much better than plain paper!!!)
Final FAbulous color: BLACK!!
I can’t begin to talk about the power of black for shading, adding depth, separating layers, giving 3d form to your fashion illustrations, adding texture, and mixing difficult-to-match colors. Here is how I add black to the skin tone to create a mouth purely by shadow, and test my shadow tone on white in a swatch before applying it:
Finally, I didn’t mention my order of operations for a finished fashion illustration:
Lay down skin first, after it dries add shadow tone.
Lay down each garment color AFTER SKIN TONE or adjacent garment color IS DRIED (this is why its nice to work on a few illustrations at once- by the time you finish a few, the first one is DRY!!).
After each garment color dries as a flat tone, add a bit of black to it (same process as for skin) to create a shadow tone:
ah…we have made it to the final stretch!
I’m grabbing my Ebony pencil and putting in all of the construction design details.
(Notice I’ve taped down my Bristol vellum paper all around so it won’t wrinkle up when wet).
Yes, they are more visible than in the photo, because the purpose of my fashion design illustration is to show and describe the DESIGN as well as mood, to show how the piece is made and ingeniously put together.
Just like you.
So whatever colors you have, just purchase these four tubes to make your life better!
And please, share what you think in the comments below!
Better yet, share your SCANNED IMAGES or photos and we can talk!
( always love first),
Don’t forget, we’ll be using gouache techniques for illustrating in my online intensive program, self-study or coached. We can go through it all together, step by step, until you have your skills down, then start releasing your unique voice and style. YAHOO!!!