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An introduction to gouache paints and the intense drama of them when painted onto black paper.

Final Piece


  • A4 black paper
  • Gouache paints
  • Small paintbrush
  • White chalk
  • Pencil or biro
  • Coloured pencils (optional)

Instruction Video


  1. Transfer your octopus onto a piece of black paper.
  2. Turn the transfer page over and, using the side of your chalk, rub evenly over the whole of the back.
  3. Turn the page over so the Octopus is on top and is positioned centrally on your black paper.
  4. Use a biro, or sharp pencil and draw over the whole of the Octopus image and the scroll (ignore the lettering for now)
  5. Take the transfer sheet off to reveal the chalky template.
  6. Draw over the chalky Octopus with a white pencil, being careful not to smudge it.
  7. Wipe the chalk away using a tissue or hand towel.
  8. Choose a colour and put a small blob of Gouache paint on to your palette.
  9. Add a little white to ensure the paint is not too translucent.
  10. Start to paint using your small brush.
  11. Work in three shades, light for highlights and dark for undersides of tentacles and shadows.
  12. Don’t worry about painting around the ‘sucker’ dots as we can paint these over the base layer when dry.
  13. Once the octopus is painted, add the ‘suckers’ in either a contrasting colour or lighter colour.
  14. Paint the eyes white.
  15. Add Colour pencil shading and definition, you could make the tentacles
  16. Darker in areas where the are behind.
  17. Draw around the ‘sucker’ dots giving them more definition.
  18. For the inner dots, you can either paint these in with a darker colour or draw them in with coloured pencil.
  19. Paint the scroll. First in a mid-colour, leaving the corners of the folds.
  20. Then add darker paint in the ‘shaddows’
  21. Finally, transfer the lettering. Do this by drawing over the red mirror-writing, turn it over and position it on the scroll, scribble firmly over the back in pencil to transfer the lettering to your scroll.
  22. Either draw over the letters of paint.

Reference / Transfer Material