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13 Easy Watercolor Techniques, Tips, & Tricks

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Step 1: Preserving White Shapes With Masking Fluid


Kicking off this demonstration of easy watercolor techniques is the introduction of liquid frisket, a.k.a. masking fluid. Popular with “watercolor purists” who don’t use white paint, masking fluid preserves the white of a painting instead. It’s especially good for strong highlights or reflected light, and any small details that would be a pain to paint around.

Since masking fluid is essentially liquid plastic mixed with some dye, you need to take care when you use it. For instance, use a chopstick to mix it, as the dye settles at the bottom of the bottle. You also need to prepare your brush before using by coating the bristles with a layer of liquid soap.

While masking fluid is good for preserving white areas, it’s fine to use thicker paint like gouache to add the whites later. The only downside is that white is a cool color, so it won’t work as well on a painting with a warmer theme (such as a sunny day).

Isabella quickly paints a rose with the size 2 round brush and masking fluid and adds a little splatter before leaving it to dry for a later exercise. NOTE: Masking fluid must be completely dry before you can continue painting on top! Also, make sure to clean your brush thoroughly afterwards as you don’t want to ruin the bristles.