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Masking fluid for watercolours... wrecks your brushes?!

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Luckily, the first time I used my masking fluid I used one of my three-year-old's paintbrushes because although it said, "Rinse immediately," on the bottle it totally did not rinse! In fact the water seemed to make it worse! I tried washing liquid, wiping and ended up trying to pick out the sticky bits with my fingernails.

Now I'm using the same brush as it's ruined but painting the masking fluid on with this slightly hardened wonky brush is a bit like me using my big toe to paint. Hardly ideal.

Any tips, oh wise illustrating ones?
#1 - December 28, 2010, 06:27 PM

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the lady at the art store gave me a wooden chop stick she sharpened in a pencil sharpener at one end, and used an exacto knife to make a wide flat end at the other. Works well and saves your brushes.
#2 - December 28, 2010, 06:50 PM
THIS LITTLE PIGGY (AN OWNER'S MANUAL), Aladdin PIX June 2017 :pigsnort
KUNG POW CHICKEN 1-4, Scholastic 2014 :chicken

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Aha! I knew there had to be a secret technique. Thanks,  ARTemesia! :paint
#3 - December 28, 2010, 07:31 PM

is kooky.
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An art store should carry a latex solvent as well.
#4 - December 28, 2010, 07:46 PM
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I've also heard dipping the brush in liquid soap first works to save the bristles, but I haven't tried it.
#5 - December 28, 2010, 09:51 PM
THIS LITTLE PIGGY (AN OWNER'S MANUAL), Aladdin PIX June 2017 :pigsnort
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I always keep a stock of cheap brushes on hand for materials like this. I do a lot of collage with matte medium, and that just gets gummy after a while. No sense putting a good brush in gunk.
(Cheap supplies sometimes work just as well as the expensive art store stuff!)
#6 - December 29, 2010, 06:10 AM

It can also wreck your picture if you are not careful. I stopped using it b/c it gave me problems.

But who knows, maybe you will love it! Hope you master it. :)
#7 - December 29, 2010, 07:36 AM
What's for pudding, Mimmy?

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AE, how can it wreck a picture? So far, I've only used it for stars/clouds. It worked okay for stars, fantastic for clouds.

Lindsey B, where is your collage work? I love your Esty stuff! Those coffee-cup holders are just yummy.

Latex solvent sounds like a worthwhile investment too, Aimee. The people at the big chain art store i go to don't seem to know much about anything, I'm not sure they'd even know what I mean if I asked. But that could be my accent. Apparently I'm quite difficult to understand. Had a hilarious time the other day at Wegmans when I asked whether there was a photocopier anywhere. The guy told me I should try the deli counter!!! He he he. I think I should have said copying machine maybe?
#8 - December 29, 2010, 08:15 AM

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Siski, you do have to be careful with masking fluid. Some of them can leave a stain if they have a pigment added to show where you've put it, and I've had it happen where I was a little too eager in removing it and it took the finish off the paper and caused the paint to bleed when I tried to paint in that area. You need to remove it very slowly and carefully. And you want to remove it in as short a time as possible, they say within two weeks, but I like to have mine off within the same day. Also, if you are masking a very large area, (I haven't tried this yet) you can buy masking film that you cut to shape and lay down and just paint the edges with the masking fluid to seal it. It can help save damage to your paper.

A good trick for clouds is to lay down your wash, and then use a balled up tissue to lift the color off in a cloud shape. If you start with a dry tissue at the top of the cloud formation, it will lift the most paint, then move down is it gets wetter, and it will lift less, this gives shape and depth to the cloud. I'm sure there are many tricks to doing clouds, this one gives some very nice realistic, subtle clouds.
#9 - December 29, 2010, 12:26 PM
THIS LITTLE PIGGY (AN OWNER'S MANUAL), Aladdin PIX June 2017 :pigsnort
KUNG POW CHICKEN 1-4, Scholastic 2014 :chicken

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Love it! Cloud 101! More tips, please! I was trying to emulate Marie-Louise Gay's clouds in the Stella books. You can see one of the pix here:

http://www.allenandunwin.com/default.aspx?page=397&book=9781741144161

Do you think she did that with masking fluid? I wish ALL illustrators had 'how I did it' sections on their websites... but I guess it takes up a lot of time explaining it all. Thanks for the tissue tip. Will try it later on!
#10 - December 29, 2010, 12:38 PM

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I love her style! It does look like she may done that with masking fluid, but there are other techniques, too...like using wax. (I haven't tried wax either...so many techniques, so little time)  :yoda

I'm still experimenting and trying to learn techniques, too. I'm actually going to be heading to the library today as they carry a ton of books on watercolor technique. If I find some good ones, I'll send you the titles.



#11 - December 29, 2010, 01:17 PM
THIS LITTLE PIGGY (AN OWNER'S MANUAL), Aladdin PIX June 2017 :pigsnort
KUNG POW CHICKEN 1-4, Scholastic 2014 :chicken

http://cyndimarko.com
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When I use masking fluid, I rub an old brush (or an "Ugly Brush" from Cheap Joes) on a bar of soap like Ivory. Be careful not to make bubbles but do make sure the soap coats the hairs.

For fine lines I use a sharpened toothpick or wrong end of a ruined paintbrush.

Don't use your good sable brushes with mask.

Don't use a hair dryer on paper with mask on it.

Remove mask as soon as possible from paper after painting your washes.

I use an old rubber cement pick up to pull mask off paper.

In fact, now that I am using computers more in my work, I just don't use mask and put in the whites after I scan the artwork. Masking fluid is evil stuff. :yuk:
#12 - December 29, 2010, 04:24 PM
« Last Edit: December 29, 2010, 04:28 PM by Lyon »
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AE, how can it wreck a picture? So far, I've only used it for stars/clouds. It worked okay for stars, fantastic for clouds.

Lindsey B, where is your collage work? I love your Esty stuff! Those coffee-cup holders are just yummy.
 

I had an online porfolio for a while, but it got a bit neglected while I was focusing on finishing my last novel. Plan for the New Year involoves updating my portfolio a bit!
#13 - December 29, 2010, 06:15 PM

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I have been using liquid mask for awhile, I found the trick is to lay it on thick and let it dry well then use an eraser to take it off. As far as brush care I use warm soapy water and I have yet to ruin my brushes.
#14 - January 03, 2011, 09:14 AM

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