What Paint to Use

Acrylic, oil, watercolor, pigments, gouache…all ways to paint color on to the canvas of your choosing. But what is best for scroll making?

If you are like me, and you want to get the best period-looking scroll for the best amount of money, then your best choice is to go with gouache. It is a water based paint that does not crack and react the way acrylic and oil paints do. It also does not have any plastic or oil by-products that would not have existed in the medieval ages.

A few tips I would like to pass on that may seem obvious (they were taught to me by people who had been doing this for a long time), but it took me a while to learn them:

  • Purchase small containers (I prefer airtight) to keep small quantities of paint to use
  • Purchase a container with a water dropper in the lid. Then all you have to do it open one of your containers of paint, drop some water in it, and start painting.
  • A friend recommended Holbein permanent White gouache for white work. I agree with this recommendation.
  • ONLY use gold paint or metallic gold that is water based. If you are talented enough to use gold leaf, even better.
  • Liner and Script liner brushes are my favorite to use. I prefer 10/0, 18/0, and 1 sized liners/ script liners
  • Before you paint, apply the gold first. It is easier and helps burnish the gold as you move your hands over it.
  • If you can stand it, wear gloves while painting. If you do not, your hand will smear the pencil drawing and you are left with a pencil mess to clean up after you are done with your painting.
  • If you are also applying a script or otherwise writing on your scroll, do the writing first. If you mess up, you did not just waste your time painting.
  • Keep in mind, you can paint over mistakes.
  • Do not be afraid. It is easy to get fearful of messing up. But once you get over it, the process becomes super easy.

The most period method is to use pigments. I have not attempted to purchase or use pigments yet. Once I have more information in this area, I will be sharing it on the site, so please stay tuned.

Links of where to purchase paint and supplies:




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