Jean uses gouache paint as her chosen medium, which is very similar to tempera. Often, gouache and tempera are interchanged and are even listed together on Jean’s paint tubes, however, they do differ.
Gouache is a watercolour consisting of a natural colour pigment, water and a binding agent. Tempera is made of coloured pigments combined with egg yolk as a binder. The reason why they are often considered the same is that they are both fast-drying mediums that result opaque when dry.
Jean began to use gouache in art school as it was ideal for graphic design work. Unlike watercolour that looks almost transparent when it dries, gouache paint has a matte finish and requires great precision. Here’s Jean painting a surf scene from our children’s book “Elliot and the Perfect Wave.”
Gouache paint is not ideal to paint over, which is another reason why precision painting is essential. Fortunately, this works well with Jean’s method of first drawing the artwork and then painting within the lines.
Additionally, Jean chose this medium because gouache dries very quickly and she can paint continuously. She also likes the solid consistency of gouache paint because, when dry, you can’t see the brush strokes, just the smooth matt finish. This effect makes it preferable when painting larger surfaces such as Jean’s big suns, moons and skies.
In order to achieve this opaque consistency, Jean mixes the necessary amount of water to the paint. Although gouache is opaque, Jean loves seeing the texture of her handmade paper through the paint, because it adds another layer to the artwork.