While watercolour is somewhat transparent, gouache is more opaque in nature; this is because there is actually a white pigment in it, often chalk. Also, like watercolour, the more water you add the more diluted (and transparent) it becomes. It dries rather quickly, which can be either a benefit or a drawback depending on what you’re doing with it.

The effect of white gouache could be compared to that of vellum in that it mutes the tones behind it, creating a subdued pastel effect. Generally we think of a card’s focal point as its most vivid part, but here that part takes on a more delicate and subtle look due to the subdued effect. Therefore gouache is particularly good for cards with boldly coloured backgrounds (either existing cardstock or backgrounds you’ve created yourself) as this better emphasises the contrast.

If the thought of using paint scares you, you can still achieve an effective look simply with a rubber stamp for the outline and white gouache for colouring in. Adding a bit of shading and colour retains this simplicity while achieving a more detailed style. Where things can be more advanced is when you experiment with different mediums like adding a bit of watercolour or Distress Ink to parts of your image. This achieves a softer appearance, as shown in some of the following projects.

Gouache always results in a matte finish, which many will like but is not to everyone’s taste. If you want to enhance all or part of your painting further, try adding something like a shimmer pen – perhaps the Tonic Studios Nuvo Aqua Shimmer, or the Spectrum Noir Sparkle Pens.

If you’re looking for something new to try, I encourage you to take a look at your existing stamps and see what possible combinations you can envisage to create new ideas you hadn’t thought of.

Tip - Use a glue that dries clear when adhering vellum to cardstock, or find a way to fasten the vellum behind it!

1

Create a background by adding a wash of colour to watercolour cardstock. Once dry, position the stamp over the cardstock in a stamping platform

2

Cover the stamp with clear embossing ink

3

Close the lid and stamp the image onto the cardstock. Ink and stamp again for a strong print if needed

4

Cover the stamped image with white embossing powder, tap off the excess and heat to set

5

Mix a drop of gouache with water on a glass mat until you have the desired consistency

6

Apply the diluted paint lightly and quickly to cover your chosen image using a small paintbrush