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  • Julia Henze

FIRST AID FOR DRY GOUACHE

This article gives a handy tip on what to do if your gouache has dried hard inside its tube.


This happens to all of us, professional artists and amateurs alike: gouache can dry hard inside the tube and you can't get it out. Don't panic, and don't throw out your paints just yet! There is an easy fix.

In this picture you see a tube with dried gouache, a bottle of Winsor & Newton Arabic Gum, a dropper and a toothpick. This are the instrument you need to revive or reactivate your gouache if it has dried hard inside its tube in a pan.

If gouache dries in your palette while you are painting, it is pretty easy to reactivate it by adding a few drops of water. However, it seems impossible to soften gouache once it gets dry in the tube. You can't really pour water into the tube, nor can you mix the paint up.


Now, remember these magic words: Gum Arabic.


All you need to do is use a dropper to put several drops of gum arabic inside the tube, stir the paint a bit with a toothpick, put the cap back on, and massage the tube gently with your fingers.


Gum arabic comes in different forms. It can be liquid (dissolved in water), or it can come in the form of crystals. If you have it at home, you're a pro already and don't really need my advice! If you want to buy gum arabic to soften your gouache, get the liquid one. This way you don't have to worry about dissolving it in water.


The same fix works for gouache in pans, by the way. So it's a good idea to have gum arabic in your artist's kit!

 
If you are new to gouache, read this Beginner's Guide to Gouache on my blog.
Follow my gouache and colored pencils classes on Skillshare if you want to learn more about gouache painting. As a new member, you will get 1-month of Skillshare Premium for Free!

My beginner classes on Skillshare:


Working with Gouache & Colored Pencils: Let's Draw Some Homes!”: This class will teach you how to sketch three beautiful Amsterdam canal houses. You will learn the basics of gouache and colored pencils. It's perfect for beginners and fun for experienced artists who love to draw architecture and want to learn new techniques.


“Draw with Me: Expressive Sketching with Gouache & Colored Pencils”: You will learn how to create a loose and whimsical sketch. I will take you through the tools and materials, give you some useful tips. We will mix colors, put a color palette together and play a bit with gouache and colored pencils. You will have a beautiful window sketch.






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