How to Paint a Landscape Using Gouache: Studio Ghibli Style

I recently got the Himi Gouache Set (check out my review of it here) and painted a scene from Howl’s Moving Castle with it.

I wanted to share my process of how I created this landscape painting using gouache paints.

I hope this inspires you to give this painting a try and create art!

how to paint landscape using gouache studio ghibli

Below is the reference image I used from Howl’s Moving Castle.

studio ghibli landscape scene to paint

Materials Needed:

  • Paint (I used the Himi Gouache Set from Amazon)
  • Paint Brushes (I used 3 different sizes)
  • A cup of water for cleaning your brushes
  • Mixing palette (Mine came with Gouache Set)
  • Paper for painting (I used a sketchbook from Walmart)
  • Scrap paper for testing colors
  • Washi Tape
  • Paper Towel
himi gouache landscape painting

I created this painting in a sketchbook. It’s actually not made for gouache, as it’s just a drawing sketchbook from Walmart, but I like how it stays flat and has many pages.

It’s also the perfect size for creating smaller paintings that can be finished quickly.

I highly recommend if you are are using Gouache to use paper made for watercolors or mixed media. They are heavier and won’t get wavy when wet.

I like this one from Canson because the paper is very thick and is made specifically for watercolor application. I also have their mixed media one as well.

Things to Remember When Painting

Your painting doesn’t have to look exactly like your reference photo. It’s easier and more fun to paint it your own way.

Mistakes are okay. They can be painted over.

Test mixed colors out on a scrap sheet.

Be careful of using too much water – Use a paper towel to remove excess water from your brush.

Take your time and enjoy the painting process!

Step 1: Tape Out the Painting Area

Use washi tape to create your painting area (I used masking tape in this tutorial)

When we peel off the washi tape in the end, it will leave clean edges and it is just the most satisfying feeling – so make sure to do it!

Washi tape is the best tape for clean removal. You can find it in pretty much any craft store or you can purchase a set like this on Amazon.

Step 2: Paint the Horizon

Starting the painting can be a really intimidating part of the painting process.

Creating a light pencil sketch of the painting can help you be more confident in starting your painting.

For this painting, I just started by painting the horizon and the slope behind it.

Painting the horizon is a great place to start because it lays the foundation for perspective and everything else in the painting.

For the first layer, I use gouache in a more watered down way, similar to watercolors so that I can spread the color more easily.

gouache landscape painting

Step 3: Paint the Grassy Hills

Next, I worked on the hills.

I like to generally work at the initial stage of a painting by filling in areas with color.

I don’t worry too much whether it’s right or wrong – It’s just the initial stage and it will be painted over by more layers.

gouache painting landscape studio ghibli

Step 4: Paint the Sky and Mountains

Next, I created the mountains and painted the sky.

I painted the mountains brown initially, but the end result will be very different.

I just like to get color down on my painting, even if that color isn’t what I’m going to stick with.

gouache painting landscape studio ghibli

Step 5: Paint the Water

Next, I painted the water.

I made sure to also incorporate the cloud and grass reflection as well.

I made the reflection below the grass or hills a more darker blue while the cloud reflection is a light blue.

gouache landscape painting step by step

I also painted another layer on the grass to make it more green.

The colors I used for the grass was a mixture of green (Pale Green in Himi Set) and yellow (Lemon Yellow in Himi Set).

Below is a photo of my mixing palette.

mixing palette gouache

Step 6: Paint the Clouds

Next, use white to paint the clouds.

Don’t forget the reflection of the clouds in the water as well.

gouache landscape painting

Step 7: Paint Flowers

Start painting the flowers using the colors pink, yellow, orange, and purple.

gouache studio ghibli painting

Take your times with this step. There are a lot of flowers across the hills and even along the horizon.

Flowers are best painted with little water. I wet my brush and dabbed it on a paper towel before getting more color. This makes the gouache paint more opaque.

howls moving castle painting

Step 8: Paint Details in the Mountain

I first painted the shadowed sides of the mountain using a combination of a dark blue (Ultramarine in Himi Set), brown (Burnt Umber in Himi Set) and white or black.

The tops of the mountains were painted white to portray snow-capped mountains.

I also added some green at the base of the mountain as well.

painting mountains landscape

Here is the finished painting after much work on the mountains and lots of retouching in the water and grass.

As you can see, the mountains don’t look exactly like the mountains in the reference photo, and that’s okay. Paint however you like because that is what’s going to make painting more fun for you!

Painting is a mixture of copying from the outer world and creating from yourself.

howls moving castle
gouache painting closeup

Step 9: Peel Off the Tape

Once you are happy with your painting, it is time to peel off the tape!

peel of tape gouache painting

The Finished Painting!

studio ghibli painting gouache himi

Related Reads:
Himi Gouache Set Review
31 Easy Watercolor Painting Ideas
30 DIY Easy Canvas Painting Ideas
30 Easy Circle Drawing Ideas

I hope you enjoyed this little painting session of a scene from Howl’s Moving Castle.

This painting was so much fun to create and I can’t wait to create even more paintings in this sketchbook.

If you are interested in the Gouache set I used to create this painting, you can check it out here on Amazon.

Thank you for stopping by this blog post and I hope that you have a wonderful day or night wherever you may be. Take care <3

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