Using art masking fluid: Masking Fluid: Your Watercolor Secret Weapon!


Masking Fluid: Your Watercolor Secret Weapon!

Watercolor painting isn’t just about where you put your paint, but also where you don’t. Leaving some white space on your paper gives your paintings contrast, creates highlights and puts the snow on those mountaintops.

Of course keeping watery paints from wading into those white spaces can be tricky, especially if the spots are small or intricately shaped. That’s where masking fluid comes in. Essentially liquid latex, masking fluid can take on any shape, repels both paint and water, and peels off without leaving a trace. No wonder some artists call it liquid magic!

To use masking fluid effectively, there’s definitely some technique involved. Here’s what you need to know to become a masking master.

How to Use Masking Fluid

Plan Out Your Painting

Before picking up your brush, you need to have your painting pretty well mapped out so you know exactly where the highlights and areas you want to preserve will be located.

It’s always good to have a game plan.

Make That Stirred, Not Shaken

Sorry 007, but you don’t want to shake this concoction. You’ll end up with a lumpy mess that’s impossible to apply with any accuracy. So before dipping your brush in masking fluid, just stir the fluid gently with a wooden skewer (or even the handle of a paint brush).

Add Water — But Sparingly

If your fluid becomes too thick, you can add a drop or two of water to thin it out and make it easier to spread. Just don’t go crazy. Adding too much alters the masking fluid’s resistant properties. If you thin the fluid too much, it’ll end up adhering to the paper and become a real pain to peel off later.

Keep Your Best Brushes Far, Far Away

Masking fluid is where brushes go to die, so always use an old brush or a cheap plastic one. To help your brush hold up a little better, wet it and then coat it with some soap before you dip it into the medium. This will protect the bristles and make the brush much easier to clean off later. And speaking of cleaning, do it right away, before the gunk dries.

Consider Silicone

If you start using masking fluid on the reg, you might want to pick up some silicone brushes. These are great for getting into smaller areas, and all you need to do to clean them is let them dry and the masking fluid magically peels right off!

Think Beyond the Brush

Using different applicators for masking fluid can yield a range of amazing effects. Try a toothpick for thin lines or tiny dots, a squeeze bottle for larger areas, or an old toothbrush to create a splatter effect (a great way to mimic the random effect of light sparkling on water).

Use It on Painted Areas, Too!

You can also use masking fluid to preserve an area that’s already been painted so the colors don’t become muddy as you paint nearby. Just keep in mind: the fluid may pick up some of the color and make that area a little bit lighter after it’s removed.

Toss That Water

After cleaning your brush, immediately change the water or use a different glass altogether. Even the tiniest bit of masking fluid in your paint water can make your watercolors appear dull.

Be Patient

Wait for the masking fluid to dry completely before starting to paint; otherwise, it might mix and mingle with your paint, which is the opposite of what you want! And resist the urge to hasten the process with a hair dryer, as the heat will make the fluid bond with the paper — for good.

Be Patient (Again)

Once you’ve completed your painting, wait until it’s completely dry before coming back to the masking fluid. Then use a soft eraser, rubber pick-up tool, or your even just your fingers to gently peel the masking fluid off the paper . When you think you’ve got it all, slowly pass your hand over the painting to see if you can detect any areas you may have missed.

Add a Soft Touch

Masking fluid works very well to preserve white areas on your paper. So well, in fact, that you can end up with hard, unnatural edges around these shapes. If that happens, just use a stiff brush and some water to soften the edges up a bit. Now you’ve got a masterpiece on your hands!

9 tips for working with masking fluid – How To – Artists & Illustrators

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Add contrast to watercolour paintings as Rob Dudley helps you master the art of using masking fluid in 9 simple steps

I have always enjoyed the challenge of painting in watercolour. The way that a wash runs down a sheet of stretched paper to resemble reflections in a moorland river, or the merging of two granulated colours that conveys the simple beauty of wet estuarine mud, excites me. My method of painting is to allow the colour to flow and mix on the paper and from that to add detail and structure as the painting develops.

I use a great deal of water, sometimes pouring colour onto the paper from a small jar and then responding to its progress with further washes as it begins to dry. The use of masking fluid to reserve areas of untouched paper allows me to work in this dynamic way. Indeed, masking fluid has become so much part of my painting process that not to use it would seem almost unnatural to me.

I normally apply masking fluid to protect small, relatively complex shapes in a painting; a gate in a landscape or the sails of distant yachts far out to sea or, if applied as a fine spatter, to represent the effects of light on water or on a road after a passing shower. The masking fluid allows me to paint freely over the masked area, which is much easier than having to paint around such complex objects.

Masking fluid is often perceived as a difficult medium. Its usefulness is undermined by the apparent difficulties, sometimes to the extent that artists give up on it. However by following the tips outlined below, the ‘difficulties’ can quite easily be overcome, allowing the artist to add a new range of marks and effects to the already incredibly versatile medium of watercolour.

1 Plan thoroughly. To get the most out of masking fluid, it should be considered very carefully at the planning stage of a painting. In most cases it is applied before any paint comes into contact with the paper.

The marks made and therefore consequently left by the masking fluid on its removal have to be carefully appraised. It might help to think of it not as masking fluid but as ‘white paint’. I am amazed at how often a painting can be ruined when the artist has obviously considered the placement of paint but has taken a less than considered approach to the application of the masking fluid. A badly planned and poorly applied area of masking fluid can have as damaging effect to a painting as a poorly painted passage and can leave the painting in ruins.

2 Dilute to taste. Through experience, I have learnt that sometimes masking fluid can be too thick if used straight from the bottle. I often water it down to aid the flow of the masking fluid onto the paper, which is useful for creating finer lines or more finely spattered areas in the painting than are possible using thicker fluid.

Test the effectiveness of the masking fluid on some sample scraps of your intended watercolour paper. If the paper used is a soft paper, the masking fluid might pull at the paper when it is removed. It might be advantageous to dilute the masking fluid with water, as this would exert less of a pull on the paper.

3 Handle with care. Never shake the bottle of masking fluid. This can cause the masking fluid to coagulate, resulting in a ‘stringy’ lump of masking fluid that, if used directly from the jar, can land in a blobby mess right where you don’t want it! With that in mind, I also decant the required quantity into an old jar, as I can see any lumps that might have formed exiting the bottle and remove them accordingly.

4 Choose different tools. I use a variety of tools to apply the masking fluid to the paper, dependent on the effects that I wish to achieve. It can be applied using a brush, dip pen, a colour shaper, toothbrush, stencil brush or rolled up paper. Allow masking fluid to build up on a ‘grotty brush’ and you will end up with a unique tool that offers the artist a number of exciting application possibilities, useful for adding sky holes to trees or highlights to stones or pebbles on seashores and riverbanks.

5 Soapy water is invaluable. When choosing a brush to apply the masking fluid, I will go for an old brush that has lost both spring and point; a nylon-haired brush will stay cleaner than one made from natural fibres. I will also have a jar of soapy water to hand, into which I dip my brush, removing any excess with kitchen roll before I dip it into the masking fluid.

Coating the hairs of the brush with this weak detergent solution helps to prevent the masking fluid from clinging to them, making dispersal much easier. It also helps to prevent the masking fluid drying out too quickly and clogging the brush in mid application. When assessing the application of the masking fluid, don’t keep the brush resting on a saucer or on the table – pop it back into the soapy water solution to prevent it drying out.

6 Vary your application. Masking fluid can be painted, drawn, spattered, dabbed or flicked on to your painting surface. Spend some time experimenting with some of the effects and marks that you can make with the different tools that you have at your disposal, and consider how they might be used in a painting. For example, a flicked application from a stencil brush can create a wonderfully random effect of light sparkling on water.

7 Don’t work wet. Make certain that the paper is thoroughly dry before applying the masking fluid, otherwise you run the risk of the masking fluid penetrating the top layer of the paper. This could result in the paper being torn when the masking fluid is removed.

Always leave the masking fluid to dry fully before over-painting too. To check this, carefully touch the masking fluid with your finger tip. If some comes away, then leave it for a few minutes and re check. Only when you touch the masking fluid without it being disturbed is it safe to proceed. I clean my masking fluid brushes in water, but I never use the same water to paint with, as the small amount of masking fluid in the water will damage and clog up the brush hairs.

8 Remove it carefully. Some artists use a soft rubber to remove the masking fluid from the paper. I remove it by gently rubbing with my fingertips, but only when I have checked that the paint and paper are both completely dry. Touch the paper with the back of your fingers; if it is still cold to the touch then the work is too damp to safely remove the masking fluid.

9 Soften the edges. Masking fluid can leave hard-edged marks on your work. If the wash painted over a masked area is not a staining colour, then once the masking fluid is removed the edges of these marks can, if desired, be softened by gently lifting out with a damp brush.

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Read more: learn how to use masking fluid and tape or browse hundreds of How to Guides in watercolour. 

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Project by Rob Dudley – In association with Cass Art. 

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Artists and Illustrators

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How to use Masking Fluid for Watercolor Painting

Ever tried painting a big wash of color around a complex shape ?

There are many occasions when you want to preserve the white paper and conserve key features in a composition. This watercolor technique is usually referred to as “reserving whites”. Of course, you can paint around shapes with some intricate brushwork, but often I find that the best solution is to protect parts of the paper by masking them. There are a few different methods you can use for masking, but for complicated forms most artists use masking fluid (also known as liquid frisket).

So how do you use watercolor masking fluid?

Before you start, stir the masking fluid thoroughly. Don’t shake the bottle or you will get bubbles in the mixture. Use a masking fluid applicator to paint the shapes you want to mask. Various techniques can be used. Only apply masking fluid to dry paper, and make sure the fluid is dry before you apply a wash of watercolor. Once the fluid is completely dry washes can be applied quickly and freely. Clean any brushes or applicators immediately after use. When you’ve finished painting, wait for the paint to dry entirely before removing the masking fluid.

The are a lot of great techniques that can be used to apply masking fluid, and you can produce some really impressive effects. I use a variety of tools with this method and I’ll go over them in detail below. I’ll also explain all the tips and tricks that I’ve learned about using watercolor masking!

What is Watercolor Masking Fluid?

Masking fluid creates a protective barrier on your watercolor paper to prevent the paper from being colored by paint. The main ingredient in masking fluid is liquid latex. Most products you can find are tinted with coloring to provide a better contrast on white paper, making it easier to see where you are painting the mask.

This liquid is applied to paper using various application techniques where it dries to form a watertight coating.

The conventional way to achieve white with watercolor is to use the white of the paper, and not by painting with white paint as you do with other media such as oil or acrylics. Some artists do use white gouache for example, but to get the purest whites and highest contrast you need to preserve the white of the paper.

When you want a large number of complicated white shapes with a darker background the easiest way to accomplish this is by masking your paper.

This is where masking fluid comes in very handy. It can be used to shield any white or light toned shapes beforehand. You can then paint a continuous background wash as if the white shapes were not there, making brush strokes free and easy.

The advantage of masking fluid is that you can preserve numerous complicated shapes without having to paint around them. You can use any other watercolor techniques in conjunction with masking. The downside is that masking fluid produces hard edged shapes, so if you want soft blended edges to any white shapes this may not be the best solution.

Watercolor masking fluid is especially good for negative painting techniques where you establish a subject by painting around it rather than painting just the subject itself.

How to use Watercolor Masking Fluid

The first step is to plan your artwork. Most of the time I begin a new painting with a pencil sketch. I then think about any zones which need to remain white and whether masking fluid is the appropriate way to conserve them. I can then use my pencil outline as a guide for locating highlights and applying the frisket (Try to think of it as painting the whites rather than masking shapes).

There are a few important tips to keep in mind before using masking fluid on your watercolor project.

Masking Fluid Tips

  • Don’t use the masking fluid on damp paper. There’s a risk that the masking fluid will seep into the paper and you can damage the paper when you remove it.
  • Don’t leave the masking fluid on the surface of your paper for a long period before removal. Over time it becomes harder to remove, and because masks usually contain a pigment to color them, you run the risk of staining the white paper, which kind of defeats the purpose ! I tend to remove the masking three or four hours after the painting is finished. If you leave the masking a day or two, removal becomes more tricky !
  • ​Similarly you should be sure that your watercolor paint is thoroughly dry before attempting to remove the mask. If you paint is still moist during removal then it’s easy to smear the paint and contaminate the white paper.
  • ​Keep in mind that you can also use masking fluid on a previously painted area. If you have some light toned shapes you want to preserve then you can mask them with fluid. However this will almost always lift off a small amount of paint when you remove the masking fluid. The amount of lifting off generally depends on the staining properties of your watercolors. I don’t advise using student grade watercolors for this kind of thing because they seem to lift off too easily.
  • Don’t try to speed up the drying process for masking fluid. Because it’s composed mostly of latex rubber, any heat can cook the rubber and make it very difficult to lift off the paper afterwards. So don’t use a hair dryer and no direct sunlight.
  • Good quality watercolor paper seems to work better in conjunction with masking fluid. This is probably because watercolor paper has a coating of protective sizing which prevents too much moisture from being absorbed by the paper. If you use soft velvety paper you will probably rip it when the masking fluid is removed.
  • Almost all masking fluids contain ammonia so they smell quite strongly, and if you’re sensitive to this kind of thing then try to use it in a ventilated space (if you’re susceptible to odors the only product I know of without ammonia is made by Schmincke). Personally I’ve never found the smell overwhelming.

How to Thin Watercolor Masking Fluid

Masking liquid is soluble with water. This is useful to know because it dries quickly and can become lumpy over time. If your masking liquid is too thick to flow properly you can thin it with a couple of drops of water. I find the thinner consistency really helps for masking fine details.

To prevent the contents of the bottle from drying I usually pour a small amount of masking fluid into a ceramic dish and cap the bottle immediately.

How to Remove Masking Fluid

There are a few good methods for removing dried liquid mask and I’ll go over them in more detail here. Masking fluid can be removed as soon as your painting is sufficiently dry. Don’t attempt to remove it when your artwork is still damp or you could spoil the painting with smudges. Don’t forget to remove the masking quickly after your artwork is finished or it will become more and more difficult to remove as time goes on.

How do you Remove Masking Fluid from Paper?

To make sure your painting is completely dry, touch the painting gently with the back of your fingers, and if the paper feels cool then it probably needs more drying time.

Dried masking usually peels off quite easily, but whichever method you choose for removing the mask, do this slowly and gently so you don’t damage the paper.

You can of course use your fingers, but I would keep this to a minimum. You run the risk of leaving traces of oil from your fingertips which can stain the paper and effect the way watercolors are absorbed by the paper when you come back to paint.

The best method I have found for removing masking fluid is with a kneadable eraser (also called a putty rubber). These things are great because you can mold them to the shape you want for more precise erasing and they don’t leave any residue on the paper. Rub the edges of the dried masking with the eraser to start lifting off the mask then peel off with your fingers.

To finish off you can try using low tack masking tape wrapped around your finger which you can dab on the surface to pick off any remaining mask.

You can also get a specialized remover known as a rubber cement pickup. This is also a reliable way to remove dried masking and is used just like an eraser.

How do you Remove Masking Fluid from a Brush?

Brushes can simply be cleaned using water because masking fluid mixes with water. Be sure to clean your brush immediately after use, otherwise you have to pick the dried latex off the brush.

A bit of advice – don’t use your best brushes for applying masking liquid. This stuff can ruin them. The best brushes I’ve found for this purpose are synthetic brushes. They have the advantage of keeping a nice pointed head and they clean up more easily than other types of hair (some artists recommend using old brushes, but if they can’t form a good point then they’re no good for precision work).

As mentioned previously, to make cleaning easier, I recommend you dip the brush head in washing up liquid or rub it on a bar of soap to protect the brush hairs before dipping in your masking fluid every few brush strokes.

If you do find yourself with a gummed up brush that you have difficulty cleaning, I’ve heard that some artists use lighter fluid to help soften the latex for cleaning.

Watercolor Masking Fluid Techniques

Masking fluid techniques mostly depend on the type of tool you use to apply the liquid mask to paper. You’re only limited by your imagination !

To work with masking fluid I use the following setup:

  • Masking fluid.
  • A small ceramic dish into which you pour some masking fluid.
  • A small bowl with some soapy water (this is if you’re using a brush to apply the masking).
  • A masking fluid applicator, brush, or whatever you want to try.
  • A kneadable eraser for removing the mask.

You can use just about anything you like to apply masking fluid to paper, and each tool will help to create different effects. Apart from brushes, I use things like a ruling pen, toothbrushes for splatter effects, sponges, bamboo quills, and “color shapers” which are silicone tools traditionally used for painting, blending and sculpting.

Masking Fluid with a Brush

The most obvious and direct technique for using masking fluid is with a brush. Masking fluid flows off a brush well and you can get a long flowing brush stroke. I have a set of synthetic brushes in different sizes by Frisk which I’m really happy with. They clean up fine so long as you do this quickly after use.

To use brushes I dip them first into soapy water which to a certain extent will protect the fibers of the brush. A good technique is to fill up a small container with water mixed with a small amount of washing up liquid. After every few applications of mask, dip the brush head in the soapy water again. This helps prevent the latex drying out on the brush which can become gummy after a while. When the brush gums up you also lose precision because the tip will no longer have a sharp point.

Masking Fluid with a Ruling Pen

A ruling pen is a drawing instrument which can be filled with fluid for drawing lines. Most of the time you dip the tip into some ink, but you can also use this tool with masking fluid.

The advantage with a ruling pen is that you can drag out precise thin lines so it’s an excellent way to mask grass, hair, whiskers, wires or anything that needs representing with fine lines.

Masking fluid Silicone Applicator

These things are usually called color shapers – not sure why, but they do make a handy instrument for laying down masking frisket. You can get a variety of shapes and sizes of heads. The silicone rubber head is quite elastic and pleasant to use and you can create a variety of marks including quite fine detail. 

They need to be dipped often in the masking fluid​. The advantage of these things is that cleaning is obviously simple because there are no fibres to get gummed up with dry frisket. But personally i prefer using a brush because the flow of the marks is easier. ​

Masking Fluid with a Bamboo Quill

These are the kind of things used for calligraphy and they’re pretty inexpensive. I find these work quite well and have a good level of precision. Really simple to use and easy to clean because you just pull the latex off when dry.

I have a set with a variety of nibs which lets me apply broad strokes or very small detail. So they’re good for drawing a variety of marks on the paper.

The only downside is that they don’t hold a lot of liquid so you have to repeatedly dip the nib in the masking fluid.

Masking Fluid with a Sponge

This is a fun way to apply masking fluid and creates some interesting texture effects. I use natural sponges since they have a good variety of surface texture. This is a great technique for creating beautiful sporadic patterns.

To use this method your sponge needs to be damp before dipping it in masking fluid.

Clean the sponge directly after use to remove the masking fluid. I keep a couple of sponges specifically for using frisket because over time you can get a build up of latex which is difficult to clean, but it doesn’t much effect their usability.

Masking with Toothbrush Splatters

You’re probably familiar with this technique for applying colored splatters to your paintings. But a toothbrush is just as effective for creating speckled white dots for adding texture to watercolor paintings. Again, you might want to keep a toothbrush specifically for use with masking fluid.

Masking Fluid Pen

This is any kind of bottle with a nozzle at the tip for squeezing out the frisket. It sounds like a good idea for applying the liquid with precision but I have not had great experience with this method. I much prefer having one of the above tools which I feel gives me much more control.

Above all these pens are an expensive way to buy masking fluid ! The “pens” are small – about half the size of a standard bottle for the same price ! So basically twice as expensive…

Watercolor Masking Fluid Alternatives

There are a few other ways to reserve the white paper or to create white with watercolor painting.

  • White gouache is a handy way to paint in some highlights when needed, but even though this kind of paint is fairly opaque, it does not have the same brightness and contrast as preserving the white paper. It’s good for small specks of white but not very effective over large areas.
  • Wax resist is a technique you may remember from your childhood ? Wax repels water so you can use it in a similar way to masking fluid to protect parts of the paper. You can find white wax crayons specifically for applying wax resist. This technique produces some interesting textures, but the downside is that it is not very good for precise details or sharp edges. Also, the wax normally remains in place on the paper, because removal is difficult.
  • Lifting Off & Scraping are well known techniques for recovering highlights and small zones of white paper, or for creating marks of a lighter tone. Scraping is achieved with a razor or a similar sharp tool. It’s a good technique for making small linear marks of white by removing the surface layers of paint, but it does damage the surface of the paper, and is really only good for small areas. Lifting off involves brushing the paint with a damp brush (or a a damp clean cloth, sponge, tissue, etc.). This technique has its limits because it depends mostly on the staining properties of your watercolor paints
  • Frisket film is a low tack transparent film mostly used by airbrush artists. I have found this tricky to use on watercolor paper because of the textured surface, but it is a handy solution for large areas that need masking. ​Just be sure to press the film down firmly to get a good seal. Masking tape is also a good solution to have to hand for masking larger surfaces and prevent you from wasting large amounts of frisket. Make sure it’s a low tack version of masking tape ! I use Frog tape which in my experience leaves crisp edges and doesn’t ruin the paper or paint when you remove it.

Best Watercolor Masking Fluid

My favorite masking fluid is a product by Pebeo known as “drawing gum”. This is a liquid latex frisket like many other brands but it has the advantage of being tinted with a blue color which I find makes it easier to apply precisely. On top of that it’s one of the few brands that come in a big 250 ml bottle which makes it great value. Also it doesn’t smell as bad as some of the other products I’ve tried !

Phew !

Masking Fluid Mistakes to Avoid

For me, masking fluid can either be your greatest friend or your worst enemy. It’s your greatest friend when you are trying to cover an area of the painting that you’re not working on at the given moment. The problem is when you’re ready to rip it off and begin working on the painting below it. Sometimes it rips off nicely, but then sometimes it decides to rip off the watercolor paper instead – thereby ruining your whole painting!

I know I know, you’ve spent the last few hours or even days and it’s ruined. This is why I want you to read till the end – to make sure this doesn’t happen to you. And I know I’m not alone because this is one of the most asked questions I get when it comes to watercolor (besides basic techniques of course).

So what is it about this supply that makes it so tricky? And how do you avoid ruining a painting while ripping off my masking fluid? Well, the key is in avoiding these common mistakes which I’ve made countless times.

Simply learn from my mistakes below…



Yep, that’s right – there are certain tools you need to be using when working with Masking fluid.

But what about those tiny intricate lines – such as branches? Well, that’s where my second supply comes in…

Silicone Brush: For me, using a silicone brush with a point is great for tackling those pesky little lines or details that need the smallest amount of masking. I also tend to use this brush when painting edges with my masking fluid. The reason is that – since this brush is made of a silicone tip it allows me maximum control when using my masking fluid.

Rubber Cement Pickup: The last supply you will need is a rubber cement pickup – or a masking fluid remover block. This supply helps start the peeling/removing process of your masking fluid. It also helps prevents you from pulling too hard and tearing your paper.


Another common mistake when using masking fluid is using way too much! Masking fluid should be nearly transparent on the paper with a thin smooth and even layer coating. It should not be clumpy or thick. This actually causes tearing and ripping of the paper as well as weird textures when removed.

ALWAYS ALWAYS ALWAYS – do a test strip of your masking fluid before adding it to your main painting. Sometimes I’ve found watering down my masking fluid in a small plastic cup has helped prevent the glue from adhering to strongly on the paper. By slightly diluting the fluid, I’ve found that it helps to achieve a thinner coat as well as easier removal when finished.


The next common mistake when working with masking fluid is time – using either too much or too little. First – you should never leave your masking fluid on longer than 48 hours. And frankly, I never leave mine on longer than 24 hours. Why? We’ll, the longer your masking fluid stays on your paper the harder it will be to remove.

So plan and work out a time frame when you can tackle your painting (at least while the masking fluid is on your paper) promptly. The next mistake – is not allowing your masking fluid to sit long enough or dry thoroughly. I tend to wait about an hour or two before adding paint over my masking fluid. Your masking fluid should feel tacky when dry and room temp. If your masking fluid is squishy or cool – it’s not thoroughly dry yet. So let it sit!


I’ve said this for years – but when it comes to masking fluid “AIR IS YOUR ENEMY!” This is why I never leave my bottle open while using my masking fluid. Rather I pour a small amount into a plastic cup and then quickly twist on the cap. As an added pro-caution – I also flip the bottom upside down trapping the excess air at the bottom of the bottle.

This prevents those gunky dried up pieces from contaminating the rim of your lid and bottle, which can then contaminate your brush and finally, your painting. I’ve included the masking fluid I use below.


And finally, the last common mistake often made when working with masking fluid is using heat. Heat can corrupt your masking fluid and make it adhere even tighter to your watercolor paper (meaning more likely for tearing and ripping when removed).

So – if you have to use a drying tool – use cool air such as a hairdryer on the cool setting. It may take a bit longer for your paint to dry using this method – but it will save your masking fluid and, ultimately, your entire painting.

Night Owl – Painted by Carrie Luc (Watercolor Misfit)

Using masking fluid – Jackson’s Art Blog

In watercolour painting, unlike other media, the whites are not added as paint but are reserved areas of the paper that are not painted on, so the white is the colour of the paper. Masking fluid is a liquid latex-based product that is very effective at keeping small areas and thin lines white when painting on watercolour paper. The rubber prevents the paint from reaching the paper and is peeled off to expose the white paper left untouched.

The masking fluid can be applied in many ways, almost any tool will work. You may use a brush, a ruling pen, a dental pick, a Colourshaper applicator or a special Masquepen or Super Nib which is a needle that gives extremely fine lines. (The Super Nib comes with an empty bottle that is for filling with water, attaching the needle to the end and squirting the water through the needle tip to clean it when finished. Do this straight away or the needle will be very difficult to clean.) If you need splattered white dots you can flick the masking fluid from an old toothbrush.

Jackson’s Masking Fluid

If using a brush you might want to keep one inexpensive brush to use exclusively for masking fluid because the latex might not come out completely when you are finished. One trick to make it easier to clean your brush is to wet the brush thoroughly and wipe the hairs over a bar of soap or dip it into washing up liquid, making sure that the hairs are thoroughly coated right up to the ferrule and then use it to apply the masking fluid. Wash the brush thoroughly immediately after use.

Masking fluids come in different tints so you can see where you have painted it. The places that masking are most useful are small white areas or lines within a large even wash of colour, like sailboat rigging against the sky, where you don’t want to paint around areas and interrupt a smooth wash.

The paper must be dry when you apply the masking fluid. If it is wet the masking fluid will soak deeply into the paper rather than sitting on the surface. The paper will usually tear off with the masking fluid when you attempt to remove it when you are finished. The same problem occurs if you dilute the masking fluid when you use it. Shaking the bottle will introduce air bubbles and if applied the bubbles will pop during drying and leave unprotected spotty areas.

Wait until the masking fluid is completely dry, at least five minutes, before you paint the watercolour. After you have finished your painting and it is completely dry you can then remove the masking fluid. Some artists rub with their finger or a putty rubber to get it started. The artist Kory Fluckiger shows in his book Watercolour for the First Time how he paints a patch of masking fluid the size of a penny on a corner of his palette when he starts painting and later when it is dry he rubs it into a little stump and uses this, as the masking fluid sticks best to itself. Get a corner to pull away and then lift this away from the paper and it should pull away in thin stretchy strips or sheets.

Remove the masking fluid as soon as possible after the painting is dry. The longer the mask is left on the paper the more likely it will be to adhere and be harder to remove. Also, the colouring in the tinted fluids can stain the paper if left on for a long time.

After you have mastered using masking fluid you will be rewarded with those lovely sparkling whites in your watercolour paintings.

Watercolor For the First Time by Kory Fluckiger

Note: All of the underlined words in the articles are links to those items on the Jackson’s website.

How To Use Masking Fluid, Masquepen & Ruling Pen by Jackson’s Art Supplies

Julie Caves

Julie was the editor of the Jackson’s Art Blog for 10 years and now writes for the blog part time. With an encyclopaedic knowledge of art materials (majoring in oils and acrylics), she loves researching and writing pieces for the blog as she learns something new each time. Julie is also a professional artist who studied on the Turps Studio Painting Programme and Camberwell College of Art.

Tips For Using Masking Fluid In Watercolour Painting

What Is Masking Fluid For?

Masking Fluid, also known as Liquid Frisket, is a latex solution that can be applied to dry watercolour paper before you paint on it. The purpose of it is to preserve specific areas of white paper, as white paint is not traditionally used in watercolour painting . The masking fluid will form a thin film of latex that adheres to the paper. Once the painting is dry, the latex film can be carefully peeled off, leaving the white surface of the paper untouched.

In the example painting below entitled “Sun shower tree” I wanted to illustrate the dramatic reversal of light that often occurs just before a sun shower.

The sky has dark clouds but the sun is still shining, lighting up the subject. So, in this painting, the tree was lighter than the background sky. You cannot paint light over dark with transparent watercolours, so the only options are to paint around the tree, or mask it out altogether.

Painting around large simple shapes is easy enough to do but painting around shapes with complex detailed edges (e.g. trees) can be a problem. Especially when you are trying to be free and loose with your brush painting nice broad washes for a sky for instance. (Always try to be loose and free with your brush strokes!).

Having to paint slowly and carefully around a subject can result in all kinds of problems. e.g. Paint drying before you complete the wash, uneven areas of colour and tone giving a patchwork appearance to your painting.

How Do You Apply Masking Fluid?

Masking fluid can be applied just like you would apply paint, with a brush. I wouldn’t recommend using your finest Kolinsky Sable brushes to do this though! To be honest I wouldn’t recommend using a brush at all, as the masking fluid can be quite difficult to remove and will eventually ruin your brushes.

I use a Royal Sovereign Colour Shaper This is a brush like tool that has regular brush handle, with a chisel shaped rubber tip at the end instead of hair. The beauty of a colour shaper, is that you can apply the masking fluid very precisely, then simply peel the dried masking fluid off. Easy. Well,usually.

The video below shows some interesting techniques for using Winsor & Newton masking fluid, including spatter and texture techniques that you may find useful to experiment with.

How Long Does Masking Fluid Take To Dry?

On average, masking fluid takes around four, or five minutes to dry. As soon as it is dry, it’s safe to start painting over it. If you try to paint over it to soon you will simply end up diluting it and washing it away.

How Long Can Masking Fluid Be Left On Paper?

This is a difficult question to answer as the brand of masking fluid and the brand of paper can affect this. The longer that masking fluid is left on the paper, the more difficult it becomes to remove. It actually starts to bond with the paper over time.

I’ve heard of masking fluid being left on for as long as six months but that is extreme and I don’t recommend it. Leaving it on for up to twenty four hours is generally no problem at all.

How Do You Clean/Remove Masking Fluid From Paint Brushes?

Masking fluid can be removed from brushes with soap and warm water. Never clean brushes in hot water though, as that can cause the ferrule to expand and hairs to fall out over time.

Can You Put Masking Fluid Over Painted Areas?

The simple answer to this is, yes you can. The most important thing to remember is that the surface you are applying it to, whether painted or unpainted, must be absolutely dry.

Can You Dilute Masking Fluid?

You can and you should. Masking fluid does tend to evaporate and thicken over time, making it much more difficult to apply. You can thin it out again by adding water. It’s very easy to add too much though! Try adding one drop of water with an eyedropper pipette like this and slowly stirring (Not shaking) it in before testing it out and then add another drop. If it’s still too thick. Another way to add water is to give a quick spray of water from a mister spray bottle like this one which are so incredibly useful in several ways for watercolour painting.

How Do You Remove Masking Fluid From Watercolour Paper?

Tip. Wash your hands and throughly dry them before doing this. To remove the masking fluid from your paper you can simply use your finger and start rubbing gently at one of the edges until it starts to lift. Once it starts to come away, gently pull it off slowly and carefully. It will stretch and snap. Just keep working away at it until it’s all removed.

Alternatively, you could use a product like this Masking fluid remover block .

The advantage of using a masking fluid remover is that there is no chance of transferring sweat or oils from your fingers to the paper and potentially ruining your painting.

Does Masking Fluid Tear The Paper?

Masking fluid can and will tear the paper on removal, if you leave it on too long, or pull it off too quickly. Certain brands of paper seem to be more prone to tearing than others. I’ve never had any problems with Arches but I have had problems with other brands.

Tips Using For Masking Fluid

  • Never shake or agitate the bottle of masking fluid. This will make bubbles from and cause it to congeal, creating little floating clumps of latex.
  • Keep within the lines. It’s easy to over estimate how much masking fluid to apply. This can leave you with thicker areas and blobby looking spots than you anticipated. So stay well within your drawn lines and you’ll probably be ok.
  • Soften edges. Masking fluid will inevitably leave you with a hard edged shape. These edges can be softened through the application of a damp detail brush.
  • Test your masking fluid on a small scrap of paper before you use it on an actual painting. If it tears the paper, or is unusually difficult to remove you may want to consider using a different brand of paper.
  • Don’t use a hot hair dryer on your painting if it has masking fluid on it. You’ll probably end up baking it on to your paper!

Recommended Masking Fluid Brands

Daniel Smith Watercolor Masking Fluid
Comes with a handy set of applicator nozzles for masking off areas which require fine detail.

Buy from Amazon

Pebeo Drawing Gum, Masking Fluid
This masking fluid has a blue tint making it easy to see on the paper. Many users recommend it for it’s ease of application and removal.

Buy from Amazon

Winsor and Newton Watercolor Art Masking Fluid
Winsor and Newton always make quality art products and this masking fluid is no exception. easy to apply and remove. Has a yellow tint for easy visibility.

Buy from Amazon

Grumbacher Miskit Liquid Frisket
This masking fluid has a bright orange tint for easy visibility. Recommended for its ease of use and removal.

Buy from Amazon

Painting “Sun Shower Tree”

Materials List

I’ve linked to where you can purchase the paints and the other art materials I used from Amazon.

Colour Palette

Sap Green: Winsor & Newton | Daniel Smith
Ultramarine Blue: Winsor & Newton | Daniel Smith
Cadmium Yellow: Winsor & Newton | Daniel Smith

Burnt Umber : Winsor & Newton | Daniel Smith
Alizarin Crimson: Winsor & Newton | Daniel Smith
Paynes Gray: Winsor & Newton | Daniel Smith

Masking Fluid and Accessories

Winsor and Newton Watercolor Art Masking Fluid

Royal Sovereign Colour Shaper


Da Vinci No.4 Petit Gris Round Mop brush
Winsor & Newton Cotman 111 Round No.3
Mimik synthetic squirrel hair 3/4″ flat brush


Arches Watercolor Paper Block, Cold Press, 9″ x 12″, 140 pound Buy from Amazon


Easy release painters masking tape Buy from Amazon
Watercolour Palette Buy from Amazon
Fantasea Misting Spray Bottle Buy from Amazon

I began by lightly sketching my composition on to a sheet of paper and carefully applying the masking fluid to the tree.

I also wanted to mask off the fence posts as they will be the same light tone as the tree. As you can see, the colour shaper is ideal for applying masking fluid. It works equally well on the irregular tree branches and the regular angular shapes of the posts.

Once the masking fluid was dry, I began by painting the lightest tones of the grassy foreground. For the grass I wanted to have a variegated wash of different strength greens. To create this, I squeezed out some Sap Green. I don’t like using pure tube greens but Sap Green works well when modified with some Burnt Umber, Ultramarine and Cadmium Yellow in varying degrees.

To create the impression of a grey sky darkened by storm clouds I used a wash of Paynes Grey mixed with Ultramarine. These are both cool colours (Cool as in colour temperature that is) It’s supposed to be a sunny day. So I warmed this up with some Alizarin Crimson.

I waited for the painting to dry completely before carefully removing the masking fluid by gently rubbing at it with my finger.

All the masking fluid has been removed at this stage. Revealing the white of the paper underneath. There are a couple of unintentional specks of colour on the tree, where I hadn’t quite closed the gap between applications of masking fluid.

I wasn’t going to worry about that though. Let’s just call it tree bark texture!

I applied a thin wash of Burnt Umber for the tree with a small flat brush. Flat brushes are perfect for carving out hard, knife like edges

Burnt Umber Mixed with a little Ultramarine to cool it down was used for the shadow side of the tree. Again, a small flat brush works perfectly for doing this kind of thing.

Finally. I painted the dark trees in the foreground with a stronger mix of Burnt Umber and Ultramarine. I later decided that I needed to add some very thin lines for the fence wire with a small round brush and the end results were shown in the pic at the start of this post.

That’s all for this tutorial. Although I don’t use masking fluid in my work a lot, I think you’ll find it’s definitely worth experimenting with if you’re prepared to exercise a bit of patience and just give it a try.

6 masking fluid tips, how to preserve white areas in your watercolors

Watercolor and acrylic paint are somewhat translucent by nature, so it makes sense to preserve some areas of your paper or canvas so they stay white or light. Masking fluid is the best way to achieve that result.

Of course you can always use white gouache on top of watercolor, or paint with white acrylic on top of acrylic or watercolor, but you are loosing that transparency effect that is so unique to these media.

You might also be interested in:Watercolor and fluid acrylic: similarities and differences

You can paint with gouache on top of watercolor, like in the background of this portrait, but you are loosing some of the transparency of the medium. Although in portraits I like this effect of transparent and opaque passages.


Tip 1- Don’t shake the bottle but stir it

There are some chemicals composants in masking fluid, mostly latex and ammonia (preservative) that will agglomerate if you shake the bottle. So if you want to avoid big lumps in your bottle, gently stir the contents. If the fluid becomes too thick you can add a bit of water until you get to the right consistency.

Tip 2- Don’t Dry it with a hair dryer

It is tempting to use a hair dryer as masking fluid takes a long time to dry, but I don’t recommand it, especially on paper. The heat will make the latex bind to the paper and the masking fluid will be very difficult to take off.

The same thing can happen if the temperature in your studio is very high.

I am a Blick Art Materials affiliate and I receive a small compensation for sales. That does not effect in any way the cost of the purchaser’s order but it helps me keeping the content of this blog free.


Daler-Rowney Masking Fluid

This fluid is used to create striking white highlights or to mask areas for overpainting at a later stage. It forms a fast-drying, water-resistant film on watercolor paper and board, and is easily removed when dry.

Tip 3- Masking fluid is great to preserve some details in a painting

Masking fluid works well for all the details that would take too much time to paint around like letters on a street sign or details in a flower.

Here I used masking fluid so I did not have to paint around the tiny bird legs.

Tip 4-Silicon brushes and dipping pens are the perfect tool to apply masking fluid

Masking fluid will stick to regular brushes and even if you cover them in soap before, it won’t be long before the brush feels like a stick. I find that the most convenient tool to apply masking fluid is a silicon brush, once the fluid had time to dry you can just peel it off the brush.

A silicon brush is the perfect tool to apply the fluid.

I am a Blick Art Materials affiliate and I receive a small compensation for sales. That does not effect in any way the cost of the purchaser’s order but it helps me keeping the content of this blog free.

Colour Shapers Tools

Apply oil or acrylic straight from tube with a Colour Shaper, then carve back into paint for unusual surface effects. Also for calligraphy. Use the rubber tip shapes to lift or blend paint, draw line, and draw contours.

For bigger areas I also like to use a squeeze bottle to apply the masking fluid.

You can also apply masking fluid with a dipping pen.

I am a Blick Art Materials affiliate and I receive a small compensation for sales. That does not effect in any way the cost of the purchaser’s order but it helps me keeping the content of this blog free.

Speedball Sketching Project Set

This calligraphy pen and nib set gives you the tools needed to create beautiful works of art. Ideal for drawing, crosshatching, lithography, and fine details. Includes two plastic pen holders and six nibs.

Tip 5- It works great on canvas

Masking fluid is great for watercolor on paper but it works also really well with fluid acrylic on canvas. I use it all the time on my big canvas paintings to preserve some areas from being painted.

Here I want to preserve some light green fern leaves on a painting, I am using masking fluid to do so.

You can peel off dried fluid from a canvas the same way you would from paper.

Tip 6- Soften the edges

Masking tend to make very hard edges. If you want a more realistic look you might want to soften some of those edges.

On paper I would use a stiff brush and a bit of water to do so.

The edges left by the masking fluid are often very hard edges

You can easily soften them with a stiff brush and a bit of water.

On canvas you could paint over each masked area with a light white glaze or use a Mr Clean Magic eraser sponge and a bit of water to soften the edges.

A Mister Clean magic sponge works wonders to lift off acrylic from canvas.

Do you have some tips you would like to share about masking fluid?

90,000 Experience with masking liquid for watercolor: conjure – LiveJournal This is not the first time I have heard that Russian-speaking watercolorists, especially beginners, use such auxiliary materials as masking liquid, whitewash, structural pastes and primers as almost cheating (from English to cheat – to cheat).

It is difficult for me to understand this position, because all my adult life I have lived in Germany, and almost no Western textbook on watercolor can do without a story about masking fluid or drawing gum.In addition, I believe that if there is some kind of device that makes life easier for an artist, you should try and use it. For some reason, nobody bothers that the quality of modern brushes, paper and paints is simply an order of magnitude higher than those that were used 100 years ago. However, the use of other modern aids is just the OS-guard. Professional watercolors use everything they can, and do not ask anyone for permission, in what technique they should do their work. They especially loved and love to work with whitewash – the same Zbukvich, and a number of other famous watercolourists-contemporaries.

Today I would like to tell you about my experience with masking fluid. If you do not know what it is, we are talking about a liquid latex solution, which forms a protective film when dried on the surface of the paper without spoiling it, paper, structure after removal. What is such a liquid for? In order not to meticulously go around with a brush light places, for example, glare or small villi. I covered them with a layer of mask , protected them from paint penetration, and work yourself more freely and sweepingly, using plane fills and stretch marks.Moreover, you can mask it on a white background, or you can fill it and go through a well-dried layer of paint in the right places with a masking liquid so that they remain much lighter at the end of the rest of the picture.

Basically, masking fluid is used to keep the glare on objects in the color of untouched paper, or to keep it lighter than the rest of the layers. But in general, the possibilities of using the mask are quite wide. For example, in the work below, I covered the entire flatness of the inflorescence of a plant with it, which is called the romantically beautiful female name Veronica.

I generally wanted to try to work with mask for a long time, but, I must admit, I was confused by two things in working with it. Firstly, it is difficult to apply it neatly with a brush – you need to work with something rubber or metal, because it dries quickly enough. And secondly, the fact that the rubber hardens somewhat unnaturally, and the images get sloppy, torn edges. But when I tried to work with the mask myself, I quickly realized that it was just a matter of perfected technique.You can apply liquid with a brush and touch up the image after removing the layer of dried liquid. By the way, the masking liquid can be easily removed with an eraser or gently by hand. Although I would not advise doing this with your hand, because there are always traces of grease on your fingers – you can ruin the work, and the next layer of watercolor will not fall on it. I just come to me when people grab hold of my finished works. These are always traces of grease and a damaged surface of the drawing.

I have two types of concealment liquid – neutral (transparent – Schmincke Rubbelkrepp) and blue (Schmincke Rubbelkrepp blue).

Here again the bubbles from a different angle.

And these are the brushes with which I apply the liquid. One rubber – it is easier to clean after it, the other is regular – the cheapest for a hobby. By the way, I like to apply the mask more with a brush. It only needs to be washed more often in the process so that the rubber does not have time to settle on the hairs. Well, we must not regret it later – over time, it still clogs up, however, like acrylic brushes. By the way, the mask can be diluted with water if it is very thick.She behaves in this regard like acrylic. But usually it is already the correct consistency in the jar.

At first it seemed to me that a tinted masking fluid is more convenient. After all, you immediately see in the work, where you have already applied it and protected the surface from subsequent layers of paint. However, when I created the work below, I quickly realized that the blue color strongly interferes with perception. I covered all the highlights on the corn kernels with a blue liquid, and the blue dots began to flicker in my eyes so that I could not really figure out the tonality of the work.I drew in the literal sense of the word by touch. Instead of making the work easier, there was a full load and even some annoyance.

And then I bought myself a transparent mask and realized that it is much more comfortable with it, because it simply does not confuse in terms of color schemes.

There are flowers closer here, so that you can see that in fact there is a white background and only the grooves are worked out in a different color to create volume.

Both works were done in the same technique

Closer to see the details

Well, what can I say, I liked the neutral masking fluid.Most likely I will continue to use it. Still, the white spots left look more natural than when you work over white to add some fluff or glare.

Other posts about materials and their properties on my blog can be found under the tags materials and the artist at note.

3 ways to use permanent masking liquid

Have you ever heard of a permanent concealer?

Photos and illustrations via CakeSpy

Also known as “permanent masking medium”, this is a permanent transparent mask that can be used in painting.It can be applied directly to the paper, for example with a removable masking fluid. However, unlike a removable concealer, it can be mixed with watercolors before being applied to paper for an interesting color effect.

In terms of texture, it stains a little smoother than most removable oily fluids, which can be somewhat rubbery. When dried, the permanent masking fluid is much smoother than the removable masking fluid.

If you have never used a permanent oily liquid before, it may seem counterintuitive to use a mask that cannot be removed. But permanent masking fluid is an exciting medium worth discovering. Let’s explore.

Working with permanent masking liquid

Here are some important tips to know before you start painting.

1. Shake the bottle first.

Mixture can settle, so be sure to give bottle a vigorous cocktail before opening and using.

2. Don’t use your best brushes.

While you can wash your brushes after use, the stickiness of the permanent concealer can have a permanent effect on the bristles, dulling the edges and making them stick. Therefore, until you have perfected the art of working with persistent oily liquid, do not use your smallest brushes.

3. Let the liquid dry, but not too long.

As with the removable concealer, you want the permanent oily liquid to be dry before starting any painting methods.

Here’s the catch: don’t let it dry out for too long. The texture will change over time, so the rinse applied to the freshly dried layer of permanent masking fluid will be different from the oily fluid applied a few days ago.

Using permanent masking fluid

Here are some easy ways to use a permanent masking fluid.

Complex color layers

Permanent masking fluid can be used to create layers of colors.In this vignette, the word “love” was superimposed on hearts painted with permanent masking fluid. After drying, the inscription was painted with watercolors. When the wash watercolors are dried, more hearts are dyed in a permanent oily liquid and a second wash is applied.

See how you get a layered, interesting effect because different layers have different colors underneath the masking fluid? Use a persistent mask to create complex, interesting layers.

Mix with watercolor

Unlike replacement masking fluid, you can mix permanent oily fluid directly with watercolor to make it more permanent.For example, the green ink used here to record “permanent masking fluid” was mixed with a permanent oily fluid. See how it retains its shape when the watercolor is washed on top? It was a little blurry because only a small portion of the masking fluid was mixed into it, but it retained much more structure than the smaller portion of the paint, down to the lower right side where the “p” was dyed green and then washed. The watercolor letter disappeared completely as soon as the wash was painted on top.Permanent masking fluid can help you retain the details you want in watercolor.

Painting over oil liquid

Once a permanent oily fluid has been established, it will be watercolor resistant but less than a removable masking fluid. Once dry, you can paint on it and the watercolor will stick. This allows you to create interesting, textured color effects with watercolors that are different from painting the negative space left after removing the masking fluid.

How to use masking fluid in watercolor painting

Masking Fluid, also known as Fluid Shavings, is a very handy tool for fine art watercolorists to preserve white areas that would be too tiny or difficult to paint.

What is masking fluid, exactly? It is made from a suspension of latex in water and is usually slightly tinted to make it easier to see light yellow or gray on paper.Ammonia is added as a preservative.

While masking the liquid, I poured a small amount into the container to keep the liquid in the bottle from drying out.

Here are some tips for using concealer:

1. Before using masking fluid, you need to plan the entire painting so that you know exactly where the highlights or areas you want to preserve are highlighted.

Tiny areas in this painting are preserved with masking fluid.

2. Never shake the bottle as this will rupture the product and you may get tiny air bubbles in the liquid. You can move gently.

Rubbing the brush on a strip of soap before painting with oil.

3. Use an old paintbrush or a cheap plastic brush to apply the concealer, as it will ruin the pleasant ride. The brush will be easier to wash if you wipe it down with soap and a little water.Silicone brushes (Color Shapers) are also very handy for small areas, as you only need to wait for the masking liquid to dry and then clean it off the brush. You can also spray masking fluid with a toothbrush or draw lines with a toothpick or fine-tipped squeeze bottle.

Application of masking fluid with silicone brush (Color Shaper)

4. You can add a little water to mask the liquid to make it easier to apply, but adding too much water will cause it to lose its resisting properties and stick too much to the paper.

5. If using a brush, clean it as soon as possible. The masking fluid dries quickly and becomes more difficult to remove.

6. Oily liquid can be applied to an area that has been previously painted, just be aware that when removed, latex will likely lift some of the color underneath and make that area lighter.

7. Change the water before you start painting, as latex will make colors look dull.

Removing masking fluid by gently pulling with fingers

8.Wait until the oily liquid is completely dry before you start painting, otherwise it may mix with your paint. Unfortunately, you cannot save time by using a hair dryer as the heat will make the latex stick to the paper and be very difficult to remove. Exposure to full sun or high temperatures will have the same effect.

9. If you stay on the painting for too long, the concealer can be nearly impossible to remove. The time at which you can safely hold your masking fluid on the paper depends on a number of factors, including brand, outside temperature, shelf life, etc.D.

10. When the painting is completely dry, you can use a soft eraser, a rubber makeup tool, or simply remove the liquid by pulling it gently. You can slowly pass your hand over the paper to find a small area of ​​concealer that you forgot to remove.

“From Blue” Sandrine Pelissier. Small white areas were preserved with masking fluid.

11. Masking fluid works very well to preserve the white areas on your paper, but these areas have a very hard (sharp) edge that can give an unnatural look to your painting, almost like decoupage.A good way to prevent this is to soften the edges with a hard brush and water.

12. You don’t need to keep all the white areas with the masking fluid – sometimes it’s easier to just draw around it if the shape is fairly simple.

Auxiliary fluids for watercolors

Changing and correcting the properties of paints is the main function of auxiliary fluids for paints. They not only improve the quality of painting, affect the safety of the drawing, but also allow the use of new methods and techniques in drawing.Thus, when using auxiliary fluids, the artist can achieve the necessary viscosity, transparency of the material, drying speed, and for a novice fan of painting, the process of achieving the desired effect can be greatly simplified. Watercolor is one of the most controversial paints, which, on the one hand, does not need to use many means, but requires care and accuracy – you can read about simple tips for handling Art-Kvartal watercolors in this small article. And if at first you might think that Apart from water, there is no better tool for this material, which means that the creative person has not yet faced the new opportunities that the Schmincke brand opens up – a German art supplies manufacturer that was the first to produce paints without the use of harmful resins.Especially for watercolor work, Schmincke has several suggestions that will diversify the process of creating light and airy illustrations. It is not uncommon for an artist to find himself in a situation where he needs to create a background or a large painting, but some details must remain unaffected. How can this be done? For this purpose, it is not necessary to use stencils when there is a masking fluid. Masking fluid is a special latex solution that creates a thin, waterproof film, protecting the desired areas, after which it can be easily removed by hand or with an eraser.The liquid should be applied first to the background with a synthetic brush, since, due to its composition, the masking liquid sticks together the pile and this can damage the brush. After painting with the required color, you need to wait until the paint has completely dried, and then carefully remove the film. Many people notice that from the use of such an auxiliary material, the color of the paper begins to turn yellow – in the case of Schmincke, this does not happen and you can work with color without worrying about changing the shade. What happens if you apply liquid to the painted area? The masking liquid will lighten the color after removal, which will allow you to correct some mistakes or make changes to an almost finished drawing.One of the most unusual and rare art materials is bovine bile. What is it for? It is a natural emollient not only for watercolors but also for gouache. Unlike water, bovine bile allows you to more evenly apply paint, prevents it from collecting in drops. One of the special effects of this thinner is the unpredictability when working with layers. If you apply the first layer of watercolors, diluted with bovine bile, and apply the next one on top, you will get unusual and uncontrollable stains.The behavior of the paint has become clearer, but if you want to tackle the texture? Add grain, press-paper-like density – Schmincke’s Watercolor Primer does a great job of creating a rougher surface. Working on it with watercolors will add volume to the color and image, and the rough surface will be pleasant to touch with your hand.

Masking fluid for watercolor art paints “Nevskaya Palitra” – “Testing masking fluid” White nights “, comparison with Pebeo.Amateur review. What can masking fluid do? »

Parallel testing Pebeo masking fluid here. I will say right away that the comparison is in favor of the masking liquid “White Nights” from “Nevskaya Palitra”.

First, by analogy with Pebeo, I test the liquid using a simple example (Palazzo premium watercolor paper 260 g / m2).

I draw a heart and the likeness of a blade of grass.

The structure of the liquid resembles PVA glue, at the time of application it smells like something chemical.

After application, it is recommended to wait for complete drying, not less than 2 hours. I leave Pebeo together with the sample for almost a day.

And I apply watercolor on the dried liquid.

After the watercolors have dried, I trace over the drawing with the pads of my fingers. And, oh, a miracle! it can be easily removed!

Also, in the evening, I prudently envisaged the option that the liquid was of high quality and tried it at work more difficult according to the lesson of Valerio Libralatto.

The artist offers this option for applying a masking liquid to a drawing.

Trying to repeat. The liquid is applied easily with a thin brush, but it is unclear how thick the layer should be.

Gently wash the brush after use.

Everything washed out, but it feels better for me to start a thin cheap brush especially for this liquid, if I use it.

Further, as I can with watercolors: thin tendrils of plants are covered with liquid and when the sky is poured with a lot of water, the water floats from a thin mustache and leaves them white, but under a film. And when pouring a thicker paint on the railings, the camouflage film turns out to be painted on top.

I also leave it for almost a day.

I rub gently with my fingertips. And to my great joy, the fingers themselves grope for the location of the thin rubber film, because visually it is no longer visible where exactly I drew the thin mustache of the plant.

I recommend this masking fluid, it is inexpensive, even slightly cheaper than the Pebeo!

And even being a beginner in watercolor, I was able to cope with it.

Special auxiliaries for watercolors Schmincke

To impart completely new properties to paints during the process of work – for this, the artist uses special auxiliary liquids that complement the details of the process and make them special.The money not only changes the quality of the finished work for the better, but also opens up new opportunities for using the artistic material you like.
If desired and necessary, a professional artist can achieve the speed of drying of the material he needs, the viscosity of the paint and its transparency, and for a beginner this will become a kind of find in the world of painting, because it is the auxiliary fluids that help to achieve the desired effects!
One of the most controversial colors is watercolor, with which many start and rarely stop, using it in completely different techniques.On the one hand, dealing with watercolors does not require the use of many additional tools, but attention and accuracy is required when working with this artistic material that does not forgive mistakes.

Many who have worked with watercolors may at first think that the best liquid for this paint is water. However, the art store “Kraski-Brush” is ready to tell a creative person what new unique opportunities you can discover for yourself together with the German brand Schmincke, which was one of the first to produce materials for artists without adding harmful resins.
Schmincke proposes to diversify the process of creating light and airy illustrations using some means that can be useful in the artist’s work.
For example, when creating a background or painting large objects on paper, it is often necessary to bypass any small details or make a neat edging, which should not get paint in any way.
How can you achieve these results? Some people use stencils, but it will be much better and more convenient to use a concealer.
Masking liquid is a special latex solution that forms a thin, almost transparent film on the surface, which does not get liquid underneath. Removing such film is easy with an eraser or manually.

In order not to spoil the brush when applying liquid, it is best to use a synthetic one and immediately after coating wash it in warm water with a special agent. After all the important details have been protected, you can apply a watercolor layer, even brushing over it – and only after final drying, remove the film.
Some people notice that when using masking liquid, the paper begins to change its color, but with Schminck, a similar result has not been observed in practice.
Another feature of this liquid is the effect of being applied to an already painted surface – the film picks up the pigment along with moisture, which allows you to lighten some parts or even correct minor mistakes in the drawing!
What is bovine bile for? One of the most, perhaps, non-standard art materials, in the opinion of Kraski-Brush.

The emollient and natural agent can be used not only for watercolors, but also for gouache paints.
In terms of its properties, bovine bile can be compared with ordinary water, but there are some peculiarities – the use of this liquid allows you to more evenly distribute the paint and prevents the paint from collecting in drops on a sheet of paper, but spreads smoothly over it.
When working with watercolors in layers, bovine bile can add an additional and unpredictable effect!
If you apply a layer of watercolors already diluted with an auxiliary liquid on paper and, without waiting for drying, apply the next one, then the surface will become covered with chaotic stains, which will create unique shades for the artist’s work.

Using masking fluid in watercolor step by step for beginners

My Google searches yielded nothing and I still don’t know how to correctly call it in Russian – but let it be “masking fluid”. It is something like liquid rubber – in a jar it is a liquid, rather viscous, which dries in air and becomes like dried glue “moment”. A jar is visible in the picture. Those interested in particular may even find out how much it costs here.

The principle of operation is very simple – we reliably cover those areas of the paper that should remain white and work freely with the rest of the surface.

I will also use watercolor pencils here, which are also in the photo. Why watercolors – just because I don’t like how a simple pencil drawing shines through the paint in the final picture. Drawing with a watercolor pencil partially dissolves in the process of drawing, and at the same time gives a little of its color to the picture.

The plot will be floral for simplicity. We take a flower.

and do a linear drawing with a watercolor pencil:

Now we dilute the liquid a little with water.I only do this because the masking fluid from Windsor & Newton is quite thick and it is difficult for her to draw fine lines; some of these liquids do not require dilution, whether it is established to be diluted or not solely experimentally. We take an old paintbrush, which we do not mind (!) And a few matches. Quickly paint over the entire flower, “pulling” thin lines from ponds with liquid matches, as needed. If inadvertently dropped on paper outside the drawing – it does not matter, all this can be removed, but THEN! Do not panic and wash while the liquid is still wet, do not try.We get this (a drop to demonstrate that you don’t need to panic):

My brush (otherwise you will have to throw away the brush at a time, even the old, unnecessary ones will not be enough). We go about our business, for a long time (at least an hour). All this dries up, stops shimmering wet – it’s time to proceed to the next stage, but first remove the extra drop (how to remove – shown below).

Now we generously wet the paper with water, dilute the paint and boldly draw it right on top of our flower:

You can stop the background preparation at this stage, but I really liked how this paper takes salt, so let’s add salt.

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