How to mix gouache to make Taupe colored calligraphy ink.

I recently needed to mix a custom color to match a return address...digitally printed in taupe colored ink.  The vast majority of calligraphers use gouache blended with water as calligraphy ink, especially when a custom color is needed, other than black, white, or gold.  It is very easy to mix gouache to make taupe colored ink to use for calligraphy.

Color Theory was one of my favorite classes in design school, and taupe is an easy peasy mix, if you understand the color wheel.

Start with the three primary colors: red, blue, and yellow.  You only need a small, and equal amount of each primary color, because you will be using the resulting color to tint white.

After you blend the primaries, you will end up with a dark brown color.  The color will vary depending on what brand/s of gouache you use and if your primary colors are warm or cool (we will save that tangent for another time).

Next add a good dollop of white gouache or Bleed Proof White.  Personally I like Bleed Proof White because the opacity is awesome and I love the consistency.  Stir well.  You can start to see your brown sludge turn into cafe au lait...then add water and stir to your desired consistency.  Test for flow with your nib as you normally would.  

And that is pretty much it.  You can alter the color with the addition of:

red - warms up the taupe, making it more pink,

blue - cools down the taupe making it more purpley,

black - making it a grey-taupe. be careful with black, just a little bit.  a safer option is...

gray - something like a No. 2 cool gray works really well.  add a smidge of red as well and you get a nice dusty blush.

white - adding more white pigment will make it lighter.

Taupe, it can be a nude-blush, a grey-nude, a many different shades of pretty!

Happy Mixing!




joi hunt