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How to Create a Realistic Gouache Effect in Procreate + 3 Free Gouache Brushes

It is no industry secret that gouache is trending right now!  The loose and layered gouache look evokes folk art with a modern twist and usually features bold and bright colors that pop on screen and in print!

If you’re like me, you love the gouache look but don’t necessarily want to pull out your paints every day, especially if you have to do your drawing time in the car, or on the couch while your toddler yells that her snacks are on the “wrong kind of plate”.  Just me?

In this quick and easy tutorial I want to show you how to get a gouache effect in your illustrations so you can create that real gouache feel on your iPad without ever having to pull out your paints!

Here are the steps:

1. Download

Pick up the three brushes I made you (below) so you can get that real gouache feel in your paintings. 

2. Sketch

Create a rough sketch of your object (I recommend starting with something easy like a vintage object or a simple floral).  You can also play with some preliminary color ideas, but we’ll be playing with more palettes later on!  I’m using a 1080x 1920 canvas so this is easy to share as an Instagram Story or Reel, so feel free to do the same and tag me @lizkohlerbrown so I can see it!

3. Refine

Refine your sketch.  Don’t spend too much time on this step though because we are keeping it loose and gouache-y!

4. Background Layer

Paint a background shape for your object using the Dark Gouache Glaze brush, then get a slightly darker color of that same shade and use the Wet Streaky Gouache to add some haphazard marks.  You can go as dramatic or subtle as you want with this step.  Remember to make the darker layer a Clipping Mask layer by tapping on it and tapping Clipping Mask to keep the color within your original shape.

5. Base Shapes

Using the Dark Gouache Glaze brush, fill in the sketch LOOSELY (I mean pretend you are drawing in the dark) to get that loose gouache feel.  Remember to keep each color on its own layer so you can edit and alter each layer later.

6. Details

Use the same brush to add detail in a darker or lighter color than your original base color.  Keep these marks loose and playful and imagine you are painting them with a paintbrush (which is harder to control than an Apple Pencil!).

7. Gouache Texture

Here comes the gouache texture part: On a clipping mask layer above each layer, paint a slightly darker or lighter version of your original color using the Wet Streaky Gouache and/or Dry Gouache brush(es).  You can combine the two brushes with varying layers of light and dark colors to get a lot of gouache depth!

8. Experiment

Try different versions!  Below on the left I combined the Dry and Wet Streaky brushes, whereas ton the right I just used the Wet Streaky.  Just with these three brushes you could create a lot of different effects and layering styles!

9. Play With Color

 Try multiple color versions!  Our first color choices are rarely our best, so make sure to test out a few color versions or share a few!

10. Share It!

10. Share your illustration with me on Instagram @lizkohlerbrown so I can see it!

Ready for Color Changing Gouache Brushes?

I created a set of 24 Gouache Brushes including 10 color changing brushes that get lighter and more saturated with pressure.  So you can create that real-multidimensional gouache feel with every stroke!  

You can pick up the brushes inside my new Gouache Techniques Class!

Gouache Techniques in Procreate Class

  • Includes 24 Gouache Brushes for Procreate
  • 3 Step-by-step projects
  • A workbook detailing 6 different gouache techniques