Marie’s Gouache Medium Review

calligraphy, resources, supplies

Might not be the most up-to-date product release, but… I’d been looking to get myself some gouache since reading about it in Modern Calligraphy book by Molly Suber Thorpe. More opaque than watercolour, it is said to be the preferred medium for colour calligraphy, especially when writing on dark substrate.

Gouache needs a bit of searching where I live – unlike watercolour, or poster colour – the said poor man’s alternative to gouache. I tried Phoenix’s acrylic and found that it’s not to my liking, so I thought I’d try Marie’s. Turns out they’re both made in China.

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I don’t know if it’s my mixing, the brand, or my set is an old stock – but the colour is not as opaque as I imagined. Despite being sealed, a few of the tubes are dried, though, so it’s probably the latter. Fortunately, gouache is water soluble, so I can cut the tube open, scoop some colour out and still use it, but what a bummer. When mixed with water, I find the medium powdery and not quite blendable. Left for a time it actually separated from the water and stuck to the bottom of the cup – just like matcha powder.

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Dabbling with colour calligraphy now and then, I realised that it’s a whole new area. Working with colour has it’s own intricacies, so to speak. And we’re not talking about a complete art piece yet, just letters written in colour. I have never worked with coloured ink before, but with unpremixed medium: firstly you’ve got to mix it to the right consistency. Not enough water and the colour won’t flow, too much and it might spatter from your nib. Then you need to manipulate it to get the desired effect. It simply interacts differently with your nib and paper.

Are you experiencing the same thing when working with gouache? Share in comments!

S.

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