The black of the paper

There’s a fair amount of procrastination of my part when I need to clean up my studio. Let’s face it, it’s much more pleasant to sketch the mess than to clean it up. So before I put away my gouache supplies, I sketched a few tubes of the stuff. For the first time, I sketched on black paper, which I liked a lot. This is an 8″ x 5″ Moleskine sketchbook that takes the paint really well. And it’s kind of fun to reverse the painting process by leaving the black of the paper for the darkest parts of the sketch.

My studio setup for gouache is a Sta-Wet palette and a little set of Jack Richeson brushes. My good sable brushes are not the ones I reach for when I’m using gouache. They’re too soft and hold too much water. My preference when working in gouache is to use small flats, and the reason I like the Richeson set best is that they’re short handled and have slim profiles, so they’re fantastic for making edges and cutting around shapes. Just remember to rinse them immediately after using so the paint doesn’t dry on the brush.

15 Comments on “The black of the paper”

  1. Working this way (backwards from your usual) is probably a god brain workout.
    Great tips. My gouache curiosity is piqued.
    I never realized moleskin made a black paper sketchbook. Cool!


  2. Lee Warren says:

    I’m so glad to see you writing about gouache as I’m trying to get comfortable with it. So you’re finding the stay wet palette helps stall drying? I feel I’m working hard to keep the paint both wet and not too wet. Whew! Pushing through the challenges.


  3. gaelle1947 says:

    So enjoyable to follow the incorporation of gouache in your work over the past months. You and James Gurney are definitely convincing me to add this medium to my sketching equipment!! I paint in acrylics , so I’m already familiar with the stay-wet palette. But so far, I’ve only used watercolors, pencils, pens, ink for sketchbook projects….now I’m seriously rethinking this!


    • Hi Gayle. Glad you’re enjoying my experiments. James Gurney has certainly inspired me to try this, and now I have even ordered some casein to try. That will be my next experiment!


  4. Emily Neel says:

    You are having way too much fun with this gouache stuff. Looks great! So vibrant.


  5. Luba Kolomycky says:

    Love the results on black surface, the tubes come alive with your great touch!
    It’s great to keep following your painterly journey! À bientôt


  6. Cindy Graves says:

    Where can you get black wc paper?

    Sent from my iPad


  7. Uma Maheswar Nakka says:

    Good Evening Dear friend Shari,

    Very beautiful and you are very great and kind, you are one such person, who sees life in everything and in return they feel so pleasant to we looking
    God bless you and your family added with mine.

    Regards and blessings


  8. joantav says:

    I’ve never seen a moleskine with black paper, but it works nicely for this. Thanks for the suggestion. I need to dig out my gouache and give it some use. Nicely done!


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