Gouache is a versatile medium, often described as paint that is in-between watercolor and acrylic, with the best features of both. Vidhi Khandelwal makes wonderful use of these features in her book Painting Florals with Gouache: An Introduction to Creating Beautiful Botanical Artwork.
Vidhi’s floral illustrations are rich in a traditional style that appeals to modern sensibilities.
Specs – Painting Florals With Gouache
- No. of Pages: 144
- Size: 7.83 x 0.36 x 8.99 inches
- Cover: Softcover paperback
- Binding: Sewn
- Publisher: Page Street Publishing
- Published: November 3, 2020
- Language: English
- Weight: 10.6 ounces
Look and Feel
The book has a sewn binding and soft cover. The paper is high quality, thick and glossy, with bright intense color. There is some weight to the book, making it sturdy, but it is still sized and light enough to make it an easy carry.
With a little initial prep, the pages lay flat enough to see full pages without holding onto the book. This makes it easy to read and follow the instructions while painting.
The book is broken down into an introductory section, five tutorial sections, a section of sketches that can be used for the tutorials, and ends with acknowledgments, information about the author, and an index.
The first section of the book introduces the reader to gouache, the tools that Vidhi uses, a brief explanation of color theory and shows the techniques that will be used in the book.
None of the initial explanation is deep – this isn’t a text book. Vidhi gives you enough to get you started, shows you what you can expect from the book, and then gets to the tutorials.
Vidhi Khandelwal’s artwork is stylized in a way that takes inspiration from many types of folk art, with simple shapes and layers of color. Her palette is full of earthy and neutral colors. I was surprised to see the only yellow was ochre. She doesn’t use bright or brilliant colors, yet the effect is lively and colorful.
The style is highly decorative, lending itself to borders and cards. Although the tutorials are aimed at painting on paper, they could easily be used on other surfaces, such as wood, journal covers or any surface that is gouache-friendly.
As the title implies, these tutorials are all done in gouache. However, they could easily be done in acrylic though they would look a bit different.
Personally, I’d use this style mostly for cards, but I came away with ideas that I can incorporate into my daily work as well.
The instructions are laid out in easy-to-follow steps, clear language and lovely illustrations. Each tutorial starts out with a brief explanation of the project and the techniques that will be used.
The colors to be used are shown in a labeled palette, with each color assigned an alphabetical character.
The instructions that follow use the alphabetical color instead of the color name. On one hand, this is handy. I found that a little annoying – my memory isn’t that good these days. I didn’t want to keep looking back a page or two, so I just wrote the character=color the border with a pencil. Many of you will be able to remember without having to write it down.
The tools and materials are listed for each tutorial.
Each tutorial has four – eight steps, starting with the shapes to be used in the painting.
As the steps progress, Vidhi lets you know what size brushes to use and the technique used for each bit of detail and layers of color. At first, if you are a beginner, you might need to refer back to the beginning of the book where techniques are explained. They are repeated often enough, though, that you’ll soon catch on and won’t need to look back.
The instructions cover:
- sketching the drawing
- filling in the basic color
- adding detail and texture/techniques to use
There are only six techniques: Wet on Dry, Wet on Wet, Layering, Stippling, Flat Application and Line Drawing. These are basic techniques used for any wet mediums (watercolor, acrylic, gouache, etc.), so this book is an excellent way to learn them.
Painting Florals With Gouache – The Tutorials
The book contains twenty tutorials. They are grouped into five sections: Wildflower Meadows, Romantic Garden, Tropical Botanicals, Succulents, and Botanical Typography. The tutorials in each section has a specific focus.
This tutorial focuses on simple painting and delicate forms.
The tutorials are Floral Spray, Mixed Round Berries, Delicate Phlox, …
… Lavender and Daisy, and Meadow in Bloom.
This section focuses on more complex flowers.
The tutorials are A Rose Bunch, Black-Eyed Susan, Anemone and Poppy Garden, …
… Magnolia Branch, and Holiday Floral.
This section focuses on leaves and composition with multiple forms and shapes.
The tutorials are Hibiscus, Mighty Protea, …
… Anthurium Pattern, and Graphic Monstera.
This section focuses on textures and contrasting colors.
The tutorials are Bunny Ears Cactus, Blooming Torch Cacti, and Terrarium.
My favorite section! It focuses on using and combining the floral techniques you’ve learned with calligraphy and on creating beautiful alphabetical characters painted in flowers.
The tutorials are Floral Letter, Floral Word, and Floral Quote.
Vidhi’s style is quite different than my own. I could immediately see ways to learn from hers and enrich my own. Although a beginner would be best served by following the tutorials in order, it is easy to jump around. I was drawn to the second tutorial and started there.
I used the art sketches in the back of the book to trace the circle, but drew the rest of it free-hand. One of the integral parts to this style is simple shapes, and I wanted practice in drawing them.
The thing that impressed me most in this tutorial was the use of stippling. I’ve done a lot of stippling (drawing with dots instead of lines) in my pen work, and some light random stippling in my watercolor. I hadn’t realized what fabulous texture you could get with structured stippling in painting. I’ll be using this technique a lot in the future.
The section that immediately caught my attention was the last one: Botanical Typography. I love the look of calligraphy, but don’t really enjoy doing it that much. So, finding a way to fancy up letters that is more about painting is perfect for me.
The exercise from the book was for the letter ‘R’, but it was easy to adapt it for another letter.
There are enough tutorials and variation of flowers that many artists will be happy to just do the exercises and variations of them and be happy with this book.
I like to use what I learn to create my own work. I found it easy to do this after doing only two of the tutorials. Even though the style is quite different from my own, I was able to use it for this painting from my own concept. My favorite subjects are animals, and it was easy to adapt the techniques I learned to give this jackrabbit interesting fur.
- Getting Started with Gouache
- Tools and Materials
- Color Theory
- Painting Techniques
- Wildflower Meadow
- Floral Spray
- Mixed Round Berries
- Delicate Phlox
- Meadow in Bloom
- Romantic Garden
- A Rose Bunch
- Black-Eyed Susan
- Anemone and Poppy Garden
- Magnolia Branch
- Holiday Floral
- Tropical Botanicals
- Mighty Protea
- Anthurium Pattern
- Graphic Monstera
- Bunny Ears Cactus
- Blooming Torch Cacti
- Botanical Typography
- Floral Letter
- Floral Word
- Floral Quote
- Artwork Sketches
- About the Author
Painting Florals With Gouache – Overall
Vidhi Khanderlwal teaches you how paint in a way that is both traditional and fresh. Her instructions are clear and the tutorials are laid out in a way that is easy to follow. Each section focuses on specific elements. A beginner would be best served by following the tutorials in order, but it would be easy for others to skip around.
Her style is simple and lively, lending itself to decoration. Although the lessons are taught using gouache and paper, it wouldn’t be difficult to complete many of them with watercolor and/or acrylic. They would also lend themselves to decorating many items – chairs, journals, plates.
The techniques you learn from this book are all basics in painting so you come away with skills that can be transferred to other paintings and other styles.
Whether you are a beginner to painting, a beginner to gouache, or simply an artist that wants to learn more about painting florals, ‘Painting Florals with Gouache’ has something for you.
About the Author
Vidhi Khandelwal is a young artist and entrepreneur from India. Her education in textiles and fashion, combined with a passion for art, led her to found the Ink Bucket, where she sells planners, calendars and more. She teaches classes on Skillshare.
- The Book – Painting Florals with Gouache
- Hahnemuhle The Collection Series Watercolor Block 9×12 Hot Press 140lb (300gsm)
- Winsor & Newton Designers Gouache:
- Daler Rowney Aquafine Brushes
Disclaimer: I received a copy of ‘Painting Florals with Gouache’, from Page Street Publishing, for the purpose of this review. I received no other considerations, though this post may contain affiliate links which help support Doodlewash. As always, all opinions expressed are my own.Recommended3 recommendationsPublished in