Adding colored pencil on top of gouache painting

This is a question I get a lot: can you add colored pencils on top of gouache painting?

This is great for fixing values, adding textures or details. 

Gouache and colored pencils share the same kind of binder and will mix very well. 

TIP: sharpen your pencils very often, it’s easier to apply!

If you want to add textures, it’s better to have some kind of textured paper. This is really great with cold pressed watercolor paper, as the color will sit on the bumps of the paper.

It works well with drawing paper as well. The only paper you want to avoid is the smooth one, like bristol or Kraft.

For fixing values, you can add white colored pencils, or a complementary color to darken. 

It may help softening a transition between two colors, or enhancing a color.


Adding details with colored pencils is really cool for portraits: hair strands, eyelashes for example.

I like it for hair, it’s really blending very well in the gouache paint.

You can also add details like make up, tattoo or freckles with colored pencils.