Wednesday, June 24, 2015

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Killer #Disneyland illustration for a Greyhound ad.

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Gouache Ingredients: Info from Manufacturers [feedly]

Gouache Ingredients: Info from Manufacturers
// Gurney Journey

Top: Winsor Newton, Second: Acryla Gouache (Holbein),
Third: Holbein Gouache, Fourth: M. Graham,
Fifth: Utrecht (left), Daler Rowney (right)
To research the gouache video, I decided to ask manufacturers what ingredients they put in their paints. Here's what I wrote to them:

Dear _______,
I'm currently working on a new instructional DVD called "Gouache in the Wild," and I had a question.

In my research about gouache paints, I'm encountering some confusing information about the formulation of gouache. Many manufacturers claim in their advertising they use no opacifiers, chalks, fillers or other agents or "so-called adulterants" added to the pigment and binder, giving the impression that gouache is made up of solely of pure concentrated pigment and gum arabic. With an opaque pigment such as Venetian red, I can imagine that such a formulation might be possible.

But according to other information I've found, some pigments are so transparent (such as phthalocyanine and other organic pigments) that even if they are used generously in the formulation, the gouache would be unacceptably transparent and dark, and therefore whiteners or opacifiers are used to make them lighter in value and more opaque.

Other authorities claim that the formulations include other necessary ingredients such as honey, plasticizers (glycerin and/or dextrin), and preservatives to protect from spoilage or to improve the flow characteristics.

Could you please comment on what ingredients go into your gouache?

Sincerely, James Gurney

Top: transparency test, bottom: value shift test
None of the companies paid me anything or asked for any kind of special favor. But they all gave me thoughtful answers. Here's what I heard back:


"You are correct, there is so much differing information on Gouache from manufacturer to manufacturer. Here is what my understanding is with respect to competitive Gouache lines and what Holbein has always offered on theirs.

"- Almost every gouache line, regardless of origin, contains typically either talc, marble dust, Calcium Carbonate or titanium dioxide. It is very easy to tell when using a gouache that contains these ingredients. The colors tend to be drab and every color will have a chalky/milky overtone.

"- Holbein does not add any of these ingredients. Typically they achieve opacity through pigmentation. Holbein gouache is therefore slightly less opaque than other gouache lines, but offers superior color saturation, handling qualities and all colors lack that chalky/milky look. Holbein uses a moisturizer, Polyethlene Glycol and a preservative, benzisothiazoline.

"- Holbein acryla gouache uses a pure acryl resin as its base.
I hope this helps and please let me know if you have other questions."

All the best,
Timothy S. Hopper
Executive Vice President
Holbein North America

More product information on Amazon: Holbein Acryla Gouache

Winsor Newton
"Great question! In fact, gouache can be rendered opaque through two different formulation approaches. The first, and most commonly used, is through the addition of opacifiers like calcium carbonate or titanium dioxide or other things. The result is greater opacity, but the clarity and intensity of the color is compromised, sometimes quite appreciably.

"The other approach is to use pigments that tend to be naturally opaque and to load the formulation so heavily with pigment that opacity is the result. Of the two approaches, the second is the one we use. The opacity really and truly comes just from the pigment load.

"I would also like to tell you how much I enjoy your book, 'Color & Light'. I teach and recommend it to all of my students. It is the best book on the subject I have seen. It is a great book! I wrote a book for North Light about twelve years ago. 'Colour Secrets for Glowing Oil Paintings' so I can appreciate the amount to time and work it takes."

Best wishes.
Doug Purdon
Technical Advisor
P.S. I just received this reply from our technical manager.
Some opacifier is added, but the formulations rely predominantly on being heavily pigmented.
I suspect that when the pigments are very transparent such as Pthalo Green or Blue this would be necessary to ensure that they had sufficient covering power. 

More product info at Amazon: Winsor & Newton Designers' Gouache

"Historically, Utrecht paints have been formulated with heavy emphasis on single-pigment colors to deliver the unique characteristics of the high quality raw ingredients we use, and this is still true of our Designer's Gouache line. Consistent with this goal, we use opacifiers and matting agents only where needed, in the minimum effective proportion. Depending on the individual color, we may use inert pigments like blanc fixe or barium sulfate to achieve an opaque, matte appearance.

"A few including Cadmium Lemon Yellow, Cobalt Blue Hue and Naples Yellow have a small amount of titanium white added, either to achieve a hue consistent with a traditional color or to bring a pigment to its best advantage. More information about pigment content is included on the product MSDS:

"Our objective was to offer designer's gouache worthy of the fine artist's palette, something that would never be called "chalky". There may be more variation in opacity/transparency across our assortment than with some brands, but that's a deliberate choice we think makes Utrecht Gouache such an excellent paint. Since skillful and sensitive use of white is so important in gouache painting, we feel that producing tints is best done on the palette by the artist. After all, you can always add white, but you can't subtract it.

"The binder for Utrecht Designer's Gouache is pure gum arabic. We do add antimicrobials, wetting agents and plasticizers. Our approach is to develop each color individually rather than a generic palette, so there is no overall single formula for any of our professional paint assortments. I will have to consult our Brand Manager to find out which colors include specific agents. None of the colors in our gouache line include ox gall. I'll review my archives and see what other information I can discover. Thanks for your interest in Utrecht paints!"

Matthew Kinsey
Utrecht Art Supplies

M Graham 
"Thanks for asking. As a small child I wanted to be either a ballerina or an archaeologist so I have been fascinated with Dinotopia for years. Never occurred to me that I would be a paint maker.

"When we looked at entering the gouache market, many products were termed "designers" gouache. The idea was to make a design, take a photo and throw the original art work away. Many of the colors were fluorescent or not lightfast because the work was "swimsuit fashion" and permanency did not matter.

"We decided to go with a "fine art" version instead. We use the same pigments as our oil, acrylic and watercolors so there are some that are so transparent that opacity requires whiteners. Instead of formulating with opacifiers or whiteners, we leave this decision to the artist. Or the color can be diluted all the way to a wash without chalkiness.

"Since our whole operation is 9 folks and a part time stray cat in a 3000 sq. foot cinderblock building surround by hops fields in rural Oregon, we do not go much farther in discussing our formulations."

Diana Graham

More info on Amazon: M. Graham Gouache Set

Caran d'Ache
"Acrylic, watercolor and gouache are waterbased paints. Acrylic is resin based and watercolor and gouache are gum based (resin is not watersoluble, reason why you can't solve acrylic after it has been dried) and gums are watersoluble.

"Watercolor is transparent, reason why there is no filler in the composition. It is just a big amount of pigment ground in an excellent gum like arabic, or better, traganth gum.

"Gouache and Acrylic are opaque by definition, reason why they contain calcium carbonate to give them opacity. The binder used for gouache is often potatoe starch (dextrin) but it can be also arabic gum in case of extra fine gouache.

"Sometimes, pigments are opaque enough not to be mixed with calcium carbonate (chalk). It is more in the case of mineral pigments like iron oxides or earth (like sienna, umbers etc..).

"Hope you will find answers to your questions."

Eric Vitus
Fine Arts Manager

More info on Amazon: Caran d'Ache Gouache

"We have never manufactured gouache, so I am very short on knowledge. In general, most gouache today, particularly at lower quality levels (tempera paint) will contain chalk, because it makes for great opacity and is a cheap filler."

"For more expensive lines of gouache, it seems to me that it's not likely/possible that something is not being added. For example, Ultramarine blue is a transparent blue, but shows up in a gouache line as opaque. This suggests that something has been added. There are opacifying pigments (don't quote me on the correct terminology), really just additives meant to provide certain properties to paints that can be added. I suspect that while they are not adding Chalk, they are likely adding these opacifying "pigments". Now for you and me, a pigment should be definable as a color of some sort. The opacifying pigments I know would not make any sort of recognizable paint."

I hope this helps.

Darren Richeson
Jack Richeson and Co., Inc

Other brands
These are other brands that I either overlooked or wasn't able to connect with. 
Lukas Gouache
Schmincke Horadam Gouache
Pebeo Gouache (I got a set of these in Australia and used them to paint the comp for the dino stamps)
Own the video "Gouache in the Wild" and be part of the fun
• HD MP4 Download at Gumroad (GurneyJourney readers get 10% off all Gumroad products this week only at this link$14.95 This week only $13.45

• or HD MP4 Download at Sellfy (for Paypal customers)

• DVD at 10% off this week only—$24.50. This week only $22.00
(Ships anywhere worldwide. Region 1 encoded NTSC video)


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Gouache in the Wild, James Gurney [feedly]

Gouache in the Wild, James Gurney
// lines and colors

Gouache in the Wild, James Gurney
Unfairly overlooked among artists' mediums, gouache is the neglected stepchild of watercolor — disdained by transparent watercolor purists (who I can't help but picture as cartoon aristocrats, painting with their pinkie fingers extended), and looked at in confusion by oil and acrylic painters. ("Gouache? Isn't that for designers? You know — illustrators?")

For those who have come to know it, however, gouache is a lovable mongrel, with some of the best characteristics of other mediums: quick drying like acrylic, with the ability to layer and work from dark to light like oil, but with the easy portability, clean up and re-activation possible with watercolor.

Contrary to popular belief, as long as those colors designed specifically for illustrators with fugitive pigments are avoided, and colors are chosen with the traditional artist pigments familiar to oil and watercolor painters, gouache is a perfectly wonderful medium for gallery artists and plein air painters. Gouache is essentially just opaque watercolor.

In addition to common misconceptions about gouache, I think one of the barriers to its wider adoption by artists is the relative lack of instructional material for the medium. Books and instructional video materials are conspicuously thin for gouache, particularly when compared to the abundance of attention paid to transparent watercolor.

Gouache has been gaining more attention and adherents in recent years. One of the best resources for gouache information has been the ongoing mention of gouache techniques in blog posts by James Gurney, who has long been a champion of the medium (along with its milk-based cousin, casein).

In a follow-up to his excellent instructional DVD Watercolor in the Wild, Gurney has created a new DVD along similar lines, titled Gouache in the Wild.

As someone who has become more fascinated with gouache myself, I was delighted when I received a review copy, and even more delighted as I viewed it. Though most specifically aimed at the use of gouache for plein air or interior location painting — a role for which it is very well suited — the video also serves in many ways as an introductory guide to the medium.

Gurney takes us through the process of painting six varied subjects, with quick glimpses of a few others, and gives a guide to materials and basic techniques along the way. He covers some elements that others might not even think to mention, such as making your own opacity charts and brand color comparisons.

In addition to the overt instruction, I find that the close-up views of Gurney applying the paint in various ways, with touches of different kinds of brushes applied at a variety of angles, are instructive in themselves. They also make it clear that new users of gouache should not be misled by the small tubes, and should be unafraid to mix up and apply some generous brushloads of paint.

As is often the case with Gurney's instructional videos, there is a wealth of supplementary material to be found on his blog, such as his post on "The Seven Gouache Hazards and How to Escape Them" and numerous other mentions of gouache.

Today, June 22nd, is the official release of the video, and Gurney is offering discounts for the day, and will be posting additional previews to YouTube during his "gouache week", as well as a free live streaming demo of painting in gouache on location on this Wednesday at 4:00pm Eastern Time on ConcertWindow.

Here is the current trailer on YouTube, and another short excerpt from a longer segment.

Gouache in the Wild can be ordered as a DVD or purchased as a digital download. See this post on Gurney Journey for more details.

Gurney has provided a much needed guide for painting in gouache — an often overlooked artists' medium that is deservedly gaining in popularity; every section is overflowing with his wealth of location painting knowledge and experience.

[Addendum: Gurney continues to add to the supplementary gouache information on his blog. Particularly informative, and much needed, is this remarkable post in which he has inquired of the major gouache manufacturers about the formulations of their gouache paint — a source of common question even among experienced painters in gouache: "Gouache Ingredients: Info from Manufacturers", on Gurney Journey.]


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Noah Bradley [feedly]

Noah Bradley
// lines and colors

Noah Bradley, concept art and illustration
Noah Bradley is a concept artist and illustrator, known in particular for his work on the "Magic: The Gathering" card-based games.

A number of the works on his website are from an ambitious personal project, titled "The Sin of Man", which also has a dedicated website. You can find additional work in his deviantART gallery.

Bradley has an appealing way of working complex patterns and textural areas into his pieces so that they enliven the compositions without overwhelming or distracting from them. I particularly like his use of patterns on many of the figures and surfaces in his Sin of Man project.

Bradley formerly worked in oil, but now works primarily in digital painting. He has a number of instructional digital art videos on YouTube, several of which are full-length features from his Art Camp endeavor.

He also has pieces available as prints on InPrint.


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// 13

Back in 1960 Eegah!! and I started collecting monster magazines, FAMOUS MONSTERS was the very best of the publications and coupled with the great movies from the fifties, I started my very weird career in monsters by being stuck in the past for my inspiration. Here are some of my pieces to prove my point...

This piece was obviously inspired by Paul Blaisdell's tree monster in FROM HELL IT CAME. But, I thought, I'm going to make a female version of the thing, her name is TOBANA...

This is a colored pencil drawing of another one of my favorite fifties movies that I saw at the theater in 1957, THE BLACK SCORPION!

Here's a recent oil painting from THE CRAWLING EYE, love these wild looking aliens!

I just can't get enough of those freaky tentacled cyclops aliens, here's another recent oil painting from THE ATOMIC SUBMARINE.

I also love those crazy creations from THE OUTER LIMITS, these are two standing creatures from this year that were inspired by that great TV series.

Here's one of my meteor monsters, inspired by another favorite, FIRST MAN INTO SPACE.

A piece inspired by Paul Blaisdell's Venusian monster from IT CONQUERED THE WORLD.

Here's a cool monster that looks a lot like the thing in THE QUATERMASS XPERIMENT.

Atomic bomb radiation fallout created this deep sea killer cyclops clam terror!

This is an oil painting of my hybrid being, FRANKENSTEIN FROM SPACE.

Here are two zombie dudes, zombies are always fun to make, you can really mess them up!

And then, there is this creepy crawler that reminds me of the crawling body parts in the Amicus production, ASYLUM. This piece is actually for sale on eBay now, if you're interested in checking it out, search there for... Horror House - SOMETHING YOU DON'T WANT IN YOUR BASEMENT.

I saved this little treat for the end, it's a wild music piece from our Dungeon band, HERMANOS GUZANOS. From 1987, here's... BRAIN EATERS!


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Nina Chanel's paintings make sense of the mess of modern life [feedly]

Nina Chanel's paintings make sense of the mess of modern life
// It's Nice That


The carnivalesque colours and vibrant busyness caught our eye in Nina Chanel's work; her attitude and subject matter kept us looking. Nina is based in New Jersey, and uses bright brushstrokes and text to explore issues of race, politics, sex and the strange world of celebrity. How? Through a strange troupe of aliens, strange symbols and rainbow colours. Surrealism plays with pop art and high-brow plays with low-brow in her huge e-number fuelled pieces, which carry a depth belying their initially saccharine appearances.

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Painting Within a Value Gamut [feedly]

Painting Within a Value Gamut
// Gurney Journey

Gouache Week continues with a brief trailer / sampler from the feature Gouache in the Wild. This time Jeanette and I are painting an ordinary gas station while our car is being fixed nearby. (Link to Video)

Color gamut, value gamut
In terms of hue, this is a complementary gamut of blue grays vs. yellow-oranges. I leave out reds, except what I can mix with burnt sienna. And I ignore greens, except very dull greens that I can mix with the few colors on the palette.

I also want to classify the tone values, pushing everything to a group of light tones and dark tones. I try to create the painting using the limited number of color notes represented by the swatches below:

Top row. 1. Light/Warm; 2. Light/Neutral; 3 Light/Cool.
Bottom row. 4. Dark/Warm; 5. Dark/Neutral; 6. Dark/Cool.

This Spartan color universe yields a strong value statement and it guards against the dullness that comes from painting everything in middle values.
Live streaming event TODAY
Join me this afternoon at 4:00 New York time, June 24 for a live gouache painting demo on ConcertWindow. There will be a chat window so that you can ask questions and interact.

Own the 72 minute feature Gouache in the Wild and be part of the fun
• HD MP4 Download at Gumroad (Get 10% off all Gumroad products this week only at this link$14.95 $13.45
• or HD MP4 Download at Sellfy (for Paypal customers) 10% off this week only $14.95  $13.45
• DVD at (Region 1 encoded NTSC video) 10% off this week only $24.50.  $22.00


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Professional Water Colour Techniques: Three Contributors to Granulation

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Here's an unbelievably beautiful sneak peek at your next graphic novel obsession, #TheDivine…

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