Gouache and Tempera Paint

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.

Work in progress wedding painting commission by Jean Tori 2019
Work in progress wedding painting commission by Jean Tori 2019

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.

Elliot and the Perfect Wave back of cover work in progress by Jean Tori 2020
Elliot and the Perfect Wave back of cover work in progress by Jean Tori 2020

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.”

Jean Painting Elliot the Pig Falling Off the Surfboard 2020
Jean Painting Elliot the Pig Falling Off the Surfboard 2020

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.

Castle and Olive Trees work in progress Jean Tori 2021
Castle and Olive Trees work in progress Jean Tori 2021

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.

Jean Tori Garden painting in the art studio 2021
Jean Tori Garden painting in the art studio 2021

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.

Kathryn's Rooster artwork in progress Jean Tori

For more about Jean's artwork visit www.jeantoriartwork.com