How to Paint a Fruit Cart with Gouache

Have you all seen those cute carts in the street, so bright and fun? Well, today we are going to be painting one using gouache paints. This is really fun to experiment with, as you can use this tutorial, and choose to turn it into a candy, coffee, fruit or even your local street food cart.

Hello everyone! I’m Doriana, architect and illustrator, all things colorful lover, and I think this is a going to be a perfect tutorial to learn a little bit about proportions, and have fun with colors.


stillman and birn sketchbook for gouache sketches

For this tutorial you’ll need:

  • Pencil and Eraser
  • Gouache paint: I’m working with Davinci and Linel Gouache. Choose the brand you feel most comfortable with.
  • Sketchbook or watercolor paper: I’m using a Stillman and Birn Beta Series Sketchbook.
  • Brush: TPL Studio Round 4 and 8
  • 2 Jars of water
  • Cloth or paper towels
  • A mat to protect your desk from paint or water damage
? Did you grab all your supplies? Let's work with our cute cart!

Step 1: Find references for your fruit cart

use ipad pro with images for reference to paint with gouache

If you know me, you know I’m a reference hoarder, even though I don’t think that’s an actual term, let’s go with it. I think it is important to search before drawing, that way you can have an actual thing to compare your drawing. That’s how we learn baby!

For this, I used websites like Pexels and Unsplash, that are free stock photos services. That way we are making sure we don’t make any copyright infringement.

Why are references so important? You’ll never know what is going to surprise you. I was thinking about making a Candy cart, but ended up finding some cute little oranges (or tangerines), and it suddenly clicked that I should make a Fruit cart instead.

? Here are the pictures I found as references:
how to use references to paint with gouache

Step 2: Sketch the fruit cart

gouache sketch practice in stillman and birn sketchbook

Grab your sketchbook, pencil and eraser to start, we’ll sketch the cart base first. Think about proportions when sketching. As you see the lower part of the cart is about the same height as the upper part. Also, the space above the ground level is roughly half the cart’s height. Keep in mind the wheels, and compare the size to the proportions you already know.

For the roof part, it is about 3/4 of the height of the cart, including the ruffles. Start by sketching from the largest, biggest element, and from then build up.

? Here is a timelapse of how I did it.

Step 3: Place your food or fruit elements.

After you sketch the basic shape of your food cart, it is time to sketch some elements that are going to give character to your illustration. I incorporated a bowl and a stand full of oranges, a flower vase and a little blackboard to indicate the price.

I also added some leaves to the sides, to decorate the cart and make it look fancier.

Step 4: Prepare your gouache color palette

Because this is an orange fruit cart, I’ll be using oranges, yellows and some pink and light blue as accents. As my base color, I used Bumblebee Yellow from Arteza Gouache, mixed with Linel Cadmium Red … To get a dark green I mixed Brilliant Green with Ultramarine Blue. And for the pink, I used the same Cadmium Red mixed with Titanium White.

Using white turns color into pastel-like versions of themselves, use that in your favor to achieve a cute look. If you like vibrant colors, you can just use them as they come.

? ProTip: Do a thumbnail of your drawing to plan your colors.

Step 5: Paint your flat colors

As I said earlier, I usually start always from the largest shapes, like the main cart. You can use a larger brush for this part, the TPL Studio Round 8 is really good for this, that way is easier to fill in the area without the fear of it being dry before you finish.

Moving up to the roof, and then all the details, paint all your basic shapes, based on your thumbnail study.

For the wheels, I mixed my yellow, red and blue colors to create a dark gray or black. That way my black is not pure, but a mix of the colors I’ve been using already

Step 6: Paint depth and shadows to your cart

Wait for your paint to dry before you start building up your flat colors. Define your light source, I kind of always go with the top left to place my “sun”. In that case, cast shadows will appear at the bottom right of my elements (opposite to my light)

Use the colors you have and mix a little bit of ultramarine blue, to make it darker and blue-ish for the shadows.

Also paint the cast shadow for the ground with a lighter tone of the color you used for the wheels, to set it, and it doesn’t look like it’s floating.

You nailed it! A beautiful food cart is born ? Thank you so much for following along with this tutorial. I can’t wait to see what you all make with it, and what other food options you turn it into. Remember to share your work and tag me

Don’t forget to share it or pin it!

fruit cart gouache sketch

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