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Can you add colored pencils on gouache?

As a professional artist, I use this technique quite often. Adding colored pencils on top of gouache painting is excellent for fixing values and adding textures or details. Gouache and colored pencils share the same kind of binder and will mix very well.

Fixing values and mistakes.

For fixing values, you can add white colored pencils or a complementary color to darken. In a portrait, you can add shades of blues or greens to create shadows, which are complementary colors to skin tones. It’s better to have your pencils in different shades of the same color. For example: red, orange, yellow, and white. This way, you’ll be able to get more subtle variations of the same hue.

Using colored pencils on top of gouache may help soften a transition between two colors or enhance color. In the same way, we use colored pencils on paper or canvas, you can also use them on gouache paintings, and pigments from the paint and the pencils will merge.

I’ve found that watercolor pencils, used dry, work exceptionally well on the gouache surface. If you have some, try different colored pencils, soft or hard, they will give other effects. 

Adding textures.

If you want to add textures, it’s better to have some textured paper. This is great with cold-pressed watercolor paper, as the color will sit on the bumps of the paper, and it works well with drawing paper. The only paper you want to avoid is the smooth one, like bristol or Kraft.

Adding textures is a great way to enhance a painting. You can use colored pencils on top of gouache to add details, like hairs or wrinkles. This technique will help you save time and create more realistic results.


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Adding texture with colored pencils on gouache

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

Adding details.

Drawing details with colored pencils is excellent for portraits: hair strands, and eyelashes, for example. Also, you can add elements like makeup, tattoos, or freckles with colored pencils. I like it for hair, and it’s really blending very well in the gouache paint. This is also good for landscapes, florals… you need to add details easily everywhere. 

Drawing eyelashes with colored pencils on gouache

You can add colored pencils to gouache, which requires that the gouache is dry. This will take only a couple of minutes!

I hope this article was helpful! I enjoy drawing with colored pencils; they are so versatile. You can use them for most of your artwork, and I think it’s a good idea to keep some on you at all times!

Do you want to know more about gouache painting? You can join my Membership 'Art With Cecile' with monthly live and tutorials.

5Days challenge

Cecile Yadro

I believe that art can help you express yourself, find your voice, and discover who you are. And I want to help you do that. I've seen how powerful my classes can be for more than 20,000 students. In my classes, I focus on giving you the tools you need to express yourself and make your creativity take flight!

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