October 28, 2023

Gouache Ink Resist Technique


by Jared Hart

I recently discovered a painting technique that creates a style that looks similar to woodcut prints. Gouache is painted onto a heavy paper or canvas. Once dried, the entire painting is coated in black ink and left overnight. The painting is then washed in water. Everywhere gouache was painted, the ink and paint will wash away leaving behind a colored stain of the gouache. All of the places in the painting that weren’t painted with gouache will remain black. Check out Ignite’s Gouache Painting kit. And follow along with these steps for the gouache ink resist technique as I create a painting of an elephant.

Painting the resist

To begin, you need either a canvas, or heavy paper that can withstand a lot of water. The gouache should be applied thick or in several layers. Any thin areas may allow the black ink to get to the paper. A few things to keep in mind when painting:

  • The color of the painting will be the first color that hits the paper. Because of this, unlike traditional painting, you can’t correct mistakes with additional layers
  • Make sure not to add any paint on the areas you’d like to be black. Don’t paint it black. The ink layer will do that for you.
  • If you want an area to remain white, paint it white. Otherwise, it will be stained black with ink.

Once you are finished painting. Let the painting dry.

Ink Layer

Once your painting has completely dried. Prepare a working area to cover your painting in waterproof ink. Rather than dumping the ink on like I did, it may work better to brush the ink on one stroke at a time. It’s better to work with thinner layers as you don’t want to reactivate the gouache and move around that paint.

Once you’ve covered your painting in black ink, let it dry overnight.

The Reveal

Once your project has dried overnight, begin pouring running water over it to wash away the ink. Using a brush, brush the painting to help the ink wash away. Brush gently to avoid washing away more ink than you’d like.

Touch Ups

If more ink washed away than you’d like, you can always go back in with a brush and add more ink to refine your painting.

Share your gouache ink resist painting with us on the Ignite Community Discussion board. Happy Making!