Masking fluid

Masking fluid (or liquid frisket) is a pretty handy item to have around. Many of the scenes in Jack and the Giant Barbecue have characters in front of the big, wild & woolly American West. I like to spread out and paint that kind of backdrop with equally wild brush strokes. That’s a whole lot easier if you don’t have to carefully paint around the characters.

Masking fluid is kind of a rubbery syrup that you paint on your paper wherever you don’t want watercolor. It dries to a water-repellant film. As you see in the pictures, I masked out Jack and his faithful pony (also using bits of masking tape) so I could slather on the paint with abandon.When I finished painting the background, I peeled away the mask using a rubber cement pickup.


0 replies
  1. ddhearn
    ddhearn says:

    I love seeing your loose brush strokes and see how the use of masking fluid really helps. I was wondering if you could tell me how you transfer your sketch to the watercolor paper, especially since I read that you do your sketches half size. I’ve always used a light box, which makes it necessary for me to use paper that light can pass through. I’d love to know your technique. Thanks.

    • johnmanders
      johnmanders says:

      I paint on 300# watercolor paper, so it’s too thick for a lightbox to penetrate. My sketches are usually half-size, so I enlarge them on a photocopier and tape the top edge to my paper. I slip a piece of Saral paper (or any brand of transfer paper) between the photocopy and the paper, then trace the image with a ballpoint pen—pressing hard enough for the image to transfer. It’s pretty low-tech but it works for me.


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