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Masking Fluid



As watercolor artists, we know that the "white of the paper" is important. It creates the LIGHT in the painting. It can easily get lost and once lost is hard to get back. Watercolor paints and paper have minds of their own - that quality of "happy accidents" is what makes this medium so much fun! But also so difficult, some say the hardest, to master.

A lot of artists will never use masking and others swear by it. Anything goes and whatever works for you to create the painting you want is okay. Experiment with all sorts of masking aids to find what works best for you.

Masking fluid is the most common masking agent. It comes in colorless and in colors. Most artists use the colored so they can see where it has been applied. Others say the colored fluid is distracting or can cause them to alter the color of paints they use.Without a question the best type of frisket for me is called drawing gum and is made by "PEBEO". It dilutes and cleans with water to protect the brush that you apply it with (don't use one of your better brushes). First wash the brush with soap and then wipe without rinsing before applying the drawing gum.

All artists will tell you to apply masking fluid to dry paper and to make sure it is well dried before you begin painting over it. Wait 20 minutes, no hair drier, it dries within 5 min., so wait. Don't let it dry in direct sunlight, as it will adhere to the paper and pulls paper up. You should remove the masking fluid within a week, so plan ahead and know where you are going with your painting before you begin.

Use an old brush and dip it in soapy water before using it for masking fluid. This will enable you to remove the dried frisket and maybe save the brush for another use.

Also, don't shake the bottle. This creates bubbles that make a strange mottled effect when they burst on the paper. Unless of course, that is what you want.

Use only "PEBEO DRAWING GUM". Trust me I have used and watched students use all the other makes. Nothing comes close to Pebeo's stuff.

You can draw very fine lines with this gum. I use a fine steel nib in a wooden holder. Try this with other makes of fluid, no way, tilt.

To remove any fluid a frisket remover is available made of crape like an eraser, or if you don't care about your finger tips wearing out - they work. The paper must be dry and needless to say the paper normally will be dry when you apply the frisket. Although I have good results with dampening the paper and applying the frisket. Be sure you test it on your paper before you try this tip. By using this wet method you avoid the hard lines that frisket gives you when it is removed.



1) For special effects on wet paint.


2) Remove mistakes on dry paint

For special effects. paper towels, toilet tissue,damp brush, natural sponge. All these will do the job. But for the paper products NO embossing on the paper unless you want those pretty patterns in your sky etc. Plain Paper Only.

Wad up a piece of paper and use it as a negative painting tool.

Solid painted sky in Blue, clouds blotted out with paper.

Paper rolled into a cigar shape, and pressed into wet paint. Great for sunsets.

Paper, sponges all can be applied to remove wet paint (staining pigment will be difficult to remove).

Paper must not be used in a scrubbing action. SEE MAGIC ERASER.


1) Don't ever, ever be tempted to paint leaves of a plant or tree with sponge. It will look like leaves painted in an amateurish manner.

The brush you put the paint down with can ,also "suck" up the paint. Damp brush will wick up the wet paint.

2) REMOVING DRY PAINT - (Difficult if staining pigment).

This will be the very best thing or technique you have read about in a long time.

NOTHING BEATS MAGIC ERASER BY: Mr. Clean from the grocery store

Wipes it out, down to white paper without scuffing up the surface of the paper, dry it, paint right over it, no problem.


Go to Magic Eraser

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