Gouache and Ink Frogs




Introduction: Gouache and Ink Frogs

Would you like to try a new painting technique to produce dramatic pieces that have a novel (and slightly unpredictable) appearance?

WIth just a few basic materials, you can quickly and simply get started on a new style that you are sure to like!

Step 1: Get Ready

Organize yourself before you get started on the project.

Paint brushes (various sizes to suit your personal preference);
Wide brush (to apply the India ink);
Pencil (& eraser!);
Sink with running water;
Disposable water-proof pie plate or saucer (aluminum or plastic) for the ink;
Newspaper to protect your working surface from the India ink;
Optional - wearing old clothes might be a good idea, in case the India ink gets out of control...

Water colour paper;
India ink;
Gouache paints (colours to suit your personal preferences).

Step 2: Start Your Design

Draw a simple design in pencil on the watercolour paper, then paint with gouache paints.

The key here is to keep the design simple - much of the impact of the final piece will depend on the interplay between the ink and the paint, later.

Important note: Gouache painted over gouache will wash off during later steps, so paint in only one layer. In other words if you want pink, mix red and white gouache and paint with that, instead of painting red and then over-painting with white.

Be sure to leave at least a white line between painted areas. (All white areas will be black in the finished piece.)

Let the gouache paint dry thoroughly overnight.

Step 3: Inking the Painting

When the painting is dry, spread India ink over the entire page.

Be careful - India ink is indelible and will stain clothes and work surfaces badly!

Thoroughly dry the inked painting at least a couple of hours.

Step 4: Washing the Painting

Under the faucet (a gentle stream of cool water) gently rub the painting.

This is where the magic happens - you will have to experiment!

Continue washing the piece until you are satisfied with the look.

Step 5: Stop!

When it looks just right, "Enough - stop washing!

Step 6: Finishing the Piece

Embellish / fix / enhance the piece, according to your style and preferred techniques (like acrylic paint, paint markers, pen and ink, etc.)

You can frame or mount the piece, depending how you want to display it. Here I attached the finished water colour paper to a painted wooden cradle.

Congratulations - you're done!

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    3 Discussions

    Uncle Kudzu
    Uncle Kudzu

    3 years ago

    It looks great! I don't understand why the gouache doesn't just wash away completely. I'll have to try this and see how it works. Is that a hake brush?


    Reply 3 years ago

    Thank you for the comment. While a hake brush would work fine, that's not what I used.


    3 years ago

    This is soooo awesome! thanks for sharing.