Creating a Custom Gouache Palette

I’ve been learning watercolor for a year now and I’ve been wanting to experiment with gouache and it’s opacity. I enjoy the transparency and delicacy of watercolor, but I like the idea of layering light values onto dark as opposed to dark over light the way watercolor functions.

I decided I could make gouache myself to experiment and wanted a number of colors to play with in a particular range of hues. I fished out my watercolor tubes, a large tube of White gouache (Zinc White Gouache by Winsor & Newton—also referred to as Chinese White), and started mixing. I swatched out the colors with multiple tint levels to see what hues and values I wanted.

After determining my shortlist of colors and tint levels, I started mixing the paints in small half pans. Some of the colors are mixed only with white, others are combinations of watercolors to create specific hues I wanted then mixed with white. I created multiple tints of some of the colors so I would have light and dark mixes for each. For a few of them, I only have one mixture because I only preferred it with one tint level. For the dark values, I did mix a bit of white to add opacity, though I’m not sure how much of a difference this makes.

After letting them dry a bit over night (only the surface was dry), I wiped off paint that had gotten on the edges of the pans with a bit of water, assembled them in a metal palette and made a swatch card.

Now I’m ready to play!

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