How to Use Gelatos: 5 Techniques You Might Not Have Thought to Try

by Stampington & Company

How to use Gelatos

Gelatos are one of my favorite mixed-media tools to work with. This creamy smooth product blends easily with or without water and can be used on all sorts of canvases and substrates. There are also a lot of techniques that can be used with these gelatos. 

From watercolors to a blendable pigment — here are five unique techniques using gelatos that you might not have thought to try.

Technique #1: Textured Gesso Board

Using Gelatos to Create Textured Gesso Board

Substrate Used in Photo: Smooth gesso board

Scribble gelatos in patches over the whole board. Apply plenty of pigment to the board because you will need a lot of pigment to allow for the texturing at the end.

With a round-tipped brush, begin to blend the colors together with water, starting with the lightest colors and working through to the darkest colors last.

With the same brush, plant the brush flat on the page multiple times in rows to create a stippling pattern across the board. Apply more water as needed to allow the pigments to flow well and continue creating this stippling pattern over the whole page.

When finished and satisfied with the result, allow the board to air dry. Tip: Do not use a heat tool to speed up dry time because this will blur your stippling pattern when the heat gun blows across the page.

Technique #2: Dry Blend

Substrate Used in Photo: Watercolor paper primed with clear gesso

Apply gelatos in random patches across the entire page. The idiom is usually “less is more,” but in this case, more is more and be sure to apply plenty of pigment to the page so that the pigments blend easily. Colors should be close together, with no need to leave a border in between.

With a blending tool, begin smoothing out the lightest colors, slowly working in the darker colors.

This method requires plenty of elbow grease and patience. I recommend this technique only for sturdier papers. However, the end result is beautiful, vivid, and fluid color, so it is totally worth it!

Technique #3: Watercolor Effect

Substrate Used in Photo: Watercolor paper primed with clear gesso

Apply gelatos in random patches across entire page, keeping plenty of white space in between the different colors. This technique doesn’t require a lot of pigment on the page, so you don’t have to press very hard when scribbling the gelatos onto the page.

Use a brush that absorbs plenty of color to blend the colors, from lightest to darkest. Add additional water often to keep the colors flowing easily. Blot away any excess pigment that isn’t needed with a paper towel.

Technique #4: Wet Blend

Substrate Used in Photo: Watercolor paper primed with clear gesso

This is one of my favorite new techniques with gelatos. It is very similar to the watercolor effects technique, but the end result is very ethereal vertical stripes that are well blended and beautifully translucent like watercolors.

Color plenty of gelatos at the very edge of the page. You will only need pigment in a stripe along the edge of the page to make this technique work well, but that stripe will need to be somewhat saturated with gelatos.

Wet the entire page with a spritz bottle and wet the gelatos stripe with plenty of water. If desired, rub your finger along the gelatos to gently blend the gelatos, keeping them at one end of the page.

Hold the page vertically and allow the gelatos to flow freely down the page. Because the rest of the page is already wet, the gelatos shouldn’t form drips, but instead should blend and flow easily. Spritz more water as needed until desired effect is achieved.

Technique #5: Drips

Wet Blend Gelatos Technique

Substrate Used in Photo: smooth watercolor paper primed with clear gesso

This technique is very similar to the wet blend, but does not wet the entire page. It’s a great technique for adding a little bit of grungy detail to a page.

Scribble gelatos along one end of the page. Mask the rest of the page and spritz just the gelatos with water.

Hold the page vertically and allow the gelatos to form drips down the page. Spritz top of the page as needed until you have the desired amount of drips.

You might also enjoy ...

 "Painting" with Gelatos Video • Faber-Castell Collection • The Ultimate Guide to Water-Soluble Color Tools