Masking fluid, also called liquid frisket, covers an area of the paper you’re working on. It usually isn’t part of a beginning calligrapher’s art tools since it has nothing to do with your mastery of letterforms, drills, or muscle memory. Once you use it as “ink” to write on paper, though, then that’s where the magic happens.
Materials: masking fluid, paintbrushes, paint palette, eraser, paper that can withstand water/paint, soapy water (tissue if needed)
I love using masking fluid when brush lettering. A lot of people don’t like dipping their brushes in the fluid, but I have a trick! If we own the same brand of masking fluid (Dr. PH Martin’s Frisket Mask Liquid), and if you like reading labels as well, you’ll discover that they added a tip on how to use the product. (Hopefully, this tip applies to all kinds of masking fluid.)
Dip brush in soapy water to assist flow.
That line changed the way I use a masking liquid. I prepare a cup of water with 2-3 pumps of shampoo or liquid soap and stir my brush in it. That’s the only time I dip my brush in the fluid. I periodically slosh the brush in the soapy water again to rinse it and prevent hardness. I’m careful not to write with the brush when it’s too wet either—I always make sure that there is more masking fluid than water on my brush. Once you’ve mastered this, you won’t even need to use a disposable brush. I use my Daler Rowney Round #2 brush all the time!
Your brush strokes have to be fast when coated in the masking fluid. It dries up quickly as soon as it comes in contact with air. Practice and create a rhythm for your slosh-dip-write routine. Wait for it to dry, then paint over it as you wish. Once the paint is dry, remove the masked area by using an eraser to rub it off. The friction will cause the rubber latex to come off the paper, and you’ll see the negative space it left on your art!
I got my bottle of masking fluid from Craft Carrot for around PHP 400-450. This is a Manila-based online art store. Unfortunately, I don’t know where else to get one if you’re not from the Philippines. Try asking your local art shops or order online as well. I hope this helped you handle your masking fluid! If you have more questions, don’t hesitate to comment below!