Gouache Jumpstart: Preclass

Welcome to the preclass lesson!

I hope you’re excited to learn all about gouache — it’s such an exciting medium!

Gouache came about in the 16th century after artists applied oil paint over tempera, using gouache to achieve a matte finish. It was also used in the 18th century for adding details to pastel paintings. In the 19th Century it was produced industrially. So you’re part of a long history of gouache painters!

In this lesson…

…you’ll learn about the supplies needed, and you can get started on some basics like getting your palette set up and make an initial Tint and Shade swatching chart. Let’s get rolling!

Your PDF guide to this lesson

Download this Preclass PDF and follow along!

Each lesson will have its own pdf, and the content in the pdf is different than what you’ll read on the lesson page, so be sure to download each to review prior to starting your exercise.




Hey students!

I always like to have a “fab” entry spread as the first one in my sketchbooks – and I invite you to do the same in your sketchbook for this class!

Save the first inside spread for later in class when you find a lesson you loved and rocked. Create a new alternate version of it on that first spread! Change colors, scale, or whatever you’d like. That way your first spread won’t be just a bunch of swatch charts. It makes a difference when looking through your sketchbook and seeing one of your best pieces as you open it!

Before we start…a little housekeeping

I retain the copyright to the content you are learning in class. That means…

  1. Do not sell or give away the concepts from my classes – you may not re-teach my instruction contained or created within these lessons.
  2. Do not post a video tutorial or step by step photo tutorial of your own redraw of class content.
  3. Do not repost any handouts you receive in class.

However…I love to see students making strides and taking this teaching and personalizing it with your own skills.

  1. DO make your own designs and develop your own style! I love that!
  2. DO gift your creations made with these techniques, of course!

At the bottom of each lesson you’ll see some ways to share your homework and ask questions, so that’ll be handy for you.

Video: Supplies

A discussion of supplies needed for this course.

Supplies list:

As with all my classes, use supplies you love, being prepared for different results. (Which is not a bad thing!)


I recommend as always to get the best quality you can afford; poor supplies don’t prepare  you for what you’ll need to know for that day when you step up to artist quality materials. Please note that I do not recommend the super cheap brands for this course; I found a bunch of them to feel like painting with pudding, and that’s just…ick. LOL.

There are 2 brands I can definitely recommend; at the time of this writing, the WN set is about $60, and purchasing the DS would be about twice that cost.

  1. Daniel Smith makes quality gouache, and out of all the brands I’ve been trying, these stay creamy far longer than any of the other brands. They currently (July 2023) don’t have enough colors for me  – so the list of colors to purchase has an optional color, as discussed here:
    Hansa Yellow Medium
    Hansa Yellow Deep
    Pyrrol Scarlet
    Quinacridone Magenta (the closest to a cool red, though it’s more violet)
    Cobalt (OPTIONAL, this color is neither warm nor cool, and is relarively close to Ultramarine. You can save some $ by skipping this color)
    Permanent Green Light (WN uses Medium, but the Light is just fine)
    Yellow Ochre 
    Titanium White
    Lamp Black
  2. Winsor & Newton makes a reasonably priced 10-color intro set, and I fully endorse the color collection! These do dry in a palette faster than DS, but you can reconstitute them with a few drops of water and a toothpick to stir them.
    Buy at Blick  |  Buy at Amazon

A note about acrylic gouache: once it dries, it’s not rewettable like gouache, so some techniques that rely on lifting may not work. Though there’s plenty to still learn in this course, you might find a few spots where you’ll need to adapt. Let me know if you run into those situations!


If you’d like to try a palette, I can highly recommend the Joybest airtight palette – but you can also just squeeze out a little paint as needed onto a mixing tile, and keep your paint tubes in a basket on your desk! 


You can use any sketchbook that works for you, but this class is intended to create small paintings in this inexpensive little sketchbook which is just under 3″; the handouts have instructions indicating that size. If you want to use something larger that’s fine – though I recommend doing lots of practice at a small size til you get water management handled. 🙂

Another good inespensive paper option would be Canson XL Pad:  BLICK • AMZ   It comes in a 9×12 pad, you might cut it up into 3x3s for the class. 


You can easily get away with your cheap brushes! Sizes to consider are in this Jack Richeson travel brush set that includes flat 1/4, 1/2, 3/4, round 2 4 6 8 . If you’d like the JR set, it’s here: BlickAmazon


  1. A white palette or dish of some kind for mixing; I use cheap white tiles from the hardware store
  2. Spray bottle or Mini Mister 
  3. Pencil – a #2 is fine, but we’ll be transferring an image to paper by scribbling on the back, so a softer pencil like a 6B may work better.
  4. Kneaded Eraser 
  5. A regular kitchen sponge (not foam)
  6. Plastic wrap (thin/pliable like Saran)
  7. Toothpicks (for stirring paints as they dry)
  8. Artist tape  1/4” 
  9. Optional: Dorlands Wax Medium 4oz (BlickAmazon) or  16oz ( Blick  • Amazon )




Video 2: Palette Setup 

Video 3: Pigment Consistency

Video 4: Swatching Tints & Shade

Video 5: Protect a Gouache Painting

Additional note after this was filmed: a student tested her Micro Glaze and found it did not work on gouache. Links to find the Dorlands Wax is in the supply list above.

Video 6: Getting Started with Gouache

This is a public YouTube video you may have seen, but if not, enjoy! Lots of tips in here. The blog post has more info too.

Video 7: Stamping and Gouache

This is another public YouTube video you may have seen, but if not, enjoy! This Jumpstart class has no stamping in it, but once you learn how to deal with the paint in the course, you can create cards using stamps and gouache!

Not yet signed up for class?

Now that you’ve seen some great info about gouache, if you’d like to learn more, click here to sign up for class to join your fellow artists!

Quick links to share your work wherever you like:

Artventure Community

Where you’ll be right in Sandy’s pocket for quick feedback and answers to questions

Student Facebook Group

Our closed group is a safe place to share for those in all our classes who love the ‘book!

Social media & blogs

Post wherever you like to share, and let your friends know which class you’re taking. They might like it too!