Drawing Techniques: a Guide
Liquid Media: Bodycolor  

Opaque lead white pigment was mixed with color to make bodycolor, or gouache. This opaque paint first appears in drawings in the early sixteenth century, when Dčrer used it for nature studies. As in this study by Giovanni da Udine, artists often combined bodycolor with transparent washes and watercolors. In the eighteenth century landscapists used it by itself for small paintings on paper or leather, and in the nineteenth watercolorists combined it with watercolor for richness and depth. After 1834 Chinese White was often substituted for lead.

Today the term bodycolor is loosely used interchangeably with gouache.


Giovanni da Udine. Study of a Rock Dove. MusÄe du Louvre, Paris

Chinese white