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“Hey! What Kind of Paint Do You Use?”

Let’s talk about paint.

People frequently ask me what kind of paint I like to use, and when my response is “gouache” the next thing out of their mouth is usually, “what’s that?” Most people are familiar with acrylic, and oil, and watercolor. I guess gouache is a lesser known variety, but that doesn’t make it any less awesome!


How do you pronounce the word gouache? Well, it’s one syllable. It rhymes with squash. And wash. And…that’s all I can think of. Gouache.

The best way I can describe it is that it behaves much like watercolor, but instead of being transparent it is opaque. In other words, if I painted a red area and let it dry, I could paint on top of the red area with blue and the red would not show through. If I did the same thing with watercolor, the red would show through, and where the two colors overlapped it would probably look purple.

Make sense?


It’s not too hard to get nice clean edges between colors, and you can lay down big areas of color, and then go in later and add details. It’s also possible to mix colors and get a lot of variation.

It’s so versatile! And that’s why it’s great.

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There are two brands that I like – Windsor and Newton, and M. Graham & Co. The little 0.5 oz. tubes can be expensive, but it is WORTH IT for the quality! I can tell you, it is absolutely true that in the world of art supplies you get exactly what you pay for.


Work surface is important. Recently I have been working on illustration board, but there are other good options out there as well. I also have a few favorite brushes – a good brush is necessary. I could talk a lot about both of these things, but I think they might be conversations for another day!

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My experience with gouache is not as extensive as you may think! In the past I have painted a lot with watercolor and acrylic, and just a little bit here and there with gouache. About a year and a half ago when we decided to expand our card line to include some with hand painted illustrations gouache seemed to be the natural choice to me. Since then that’s about all I’ve been using. I’m still learning, and my painting style keeps evolving. I hope that’s always the case! That is my favorite thing about the whole artistic process – learning and making changes and seeing my work evolve and get better.

Have you ever used gouache? What is your favorite painting medium? Do you have any secrets to share?

:: Carrie ::


“Hey! What kind of pens do you use?”

I’ve been asked this question many, many times, so I thought I would just spill the beans.

Actually, it’s no closely guarded secret. It’s not like I have some magical pen with super-powers. I’m still looking for that one, so if you know where I could get it, please tell me about it.

These are the four that I use the most, and I like them all for different reasons.

The Uni-ball vision and I have been tight for a long time now. It’s a ball point pen, and it draws a nice clean, fine line. It’s also waterproof, so you can paint overtop of it with no bleeding, if you want to.

The Zig Real Brush pen is new to the line-up, and I’m growing to love it. It has an actual brush, like a paint brush, for the tip. It takes some getting used to, but once you get the hang of it, it’s pretty great. The best part is that the tip never wears out, as long as you take care of it. That’s a big plus. I’ve been using it quite a bit for lettering, especially for fancy script lettering. It makes some good curves with varying thicknesses.

For drawing on a little bigger scale I like the Faber-Castell brush pens. They are really easy to control and they produce a nice line quality. I also like them for lettering of all kinds. What I DON’T like about them is that they wear out SO quickly. They have a felt tip, which means they are really awesome when they are brand new, the tip breaks down really fast. I go through these like crazy.

For drawing and writing on an even larger scale I love the Prismacolor Premier brush marker. I usually only use black, but these come in a whole rainbow of colors, if you are interested.

What are your favorites? I’m always looking for better ones. I’d love to hear some suggestions!

:: Carrie ::

A New Favorite Thing

I’ve got a new favorite thing. It’s called Dr. Ph. Martin’s Bleed Proof White.

I can be kind of a snob about the art supplies I use. High quality materials are the only way to go, and this stuff has definitely made the cut. Not only has it made the cut, but it has soared to the top of the list, and it has revolutionized the way that I’ve been working lately. But, apparently I haven’t been using it the way that it is intended to be used. Here is how it’s described…

“Cover mistakes using Dr. Ph. Martin’s Bleed Proof White. It is an opaque watercolor that covers dye colors, markers and designer colors such as gouache. It is not intended for mixing.”

Well, that’s not true! I’ve been mixing it with my gouache and watercolors and it has done amazing things! It makes the paint more opaque. In other words, it makes it non-translucent, so I can paint multiple layers. I know some people who use it as as ink for calligraphy. It can be watered down and tinted to any color, and writes beautifully on dark paper.

It’s good stuff. Real good. My only complaint is that it comes in tiny little 1 ounce jars.

:: Carrie ::

Go Outside & Play: Second Edition

Our “Go Outside and Play” print has been a hit!  We completely sold out of our first edition, so it was time for a re-print.  This print is in four colors, which means that we load up the press with ink and clean it up four separate times.  And, each print goes through the press four times, once for each color.  Ever wonder what that looks like?  Here’s how this print looked throughout the process…

It’s a time consuming process, but we love it!

:: Carrie ::


Happily Ever After

Look!  It’s our newest addition to the 1canoe2 greeting card line…Happily Ever After!  This card is printed in 4 colors, and is perfect for congratulating your favorite newly married or soon-to-be-married couple.  I snapped some quick photos as I went along to show you the stages in the four color printing process.

First I printed the most detailed part in black.  Once this is printed I know exactly where the rest of the colors will be placed.

Blue came next, to fill the background.

Just a little bit of pink.And, finally, gold was the fourth color.

Seems pretty simple, right?  Well, there is a lot more work that goes into printing a card like this than this would lead you to believe.  Sometime soon I’ll show you the FULL process – how a design goes from a drawing in our sketchbook to a printed piece.

You will be amazed.  I promise.

:: Carrie ::

Outlaws of the Wild West

It’s in the shop!  Our latest print, Outlaws of the Wild West.  We’re pretty excited about it, and we think you’ll like it too.  Sixteen of the biggest and baddest outlaws the wild west ever saw.

Train robberies, gun fights, stagecoach heists, and cold blooded murder.  These guys (and gals) didn’t mess around.  

This is Butch Cassidy and his gang.  Don’t let their fancy suits and neatly groomed mustaches fool you, they have guns, and they’re not afraid to use them.


This is Black Jack Ketchum.

He was a big time train robber.  I mean big time.  He was caught and sentenced to death by hanging.  Ouch.  His last words were “Let ‘er rip!”









And this, my friends, is the legendary Jesse James.

Born in Clay County, Missouri, but known around the world.  He was the leader of a gang.  Altogether they robbed 12 banks, 7 trains, and 6 stagecoaches for a total of over a quarter million dollars.  Jesse’s father was a Baptist minister.  I bet he didn’t approve.







And, here’s some shots of my sketchbook, where our design started taking shape.

Gotta get those mustaches juuuuuust right.


From the portraits to the lettering, everything about this print is hand drawn before putting it all together, and printing it on our Chandler & Price Letterpress.


Outlaws of the Wild West, 11×14 inches. Printed on bright white Cranes Lettra Letterpress paper with brown and light blue ink.

:: Carrie ::