Giving frisket another try

I’ve never been much of a fan of using masking fluid in watercolour. I tried it many years ago (it was thick and greyish), probably ruined a few brushes in the process and threw out the bottle. It always seems so obvious that an area in a painting has been masked and besides, I’d rather just paint around the whites. Despite my hesitation about using the stuff, I bought some recently to use on a freelance illustration job that I’m working on. I have to save a light area in a large, gradated wash and I’m pretty sure it will be quite impossible to paint around it. I tested out the masking fluid (Daniel Smith brand) on this apple sketch (in the apple highlights) just to see if the stuff is any better than I remember it. Fortunately it is. It’s a lot easier to apply, much thinner, transparent and very easy to remove with a rubber cement pick up. And now that I’m older and wiser, I also remembered to wash the frisket out of the brush before I ruined it.


17 Comments on “Giving frisket another try”

  1. carolyn Jones says:

    Great job!

    I use frisket on and off depending on the subject. I don’t worry about my brushes. If you wet the brush and remove excess water then dip it in the frisket, the frisket won’t stick to the bristles. However with this method, you have to remember to clean the brush very often. Another safer way is to apply the brush cleaning soap or the cheap motel soap to the brush before you dip in the frisket and this will protect the bristles. I would still clean the brush from time to time, but it is a bit less critical. Then.. ,, if all else fails there is Goof off that I buy at Canadian Tire that will remove the dried ffisket on the brush. I clean my brush with soap afterwards. Hope this is useful


  2. Janice Kelly says:

    It has taken me years to wrap my brush and head around masking. It’s still a challenge – particularly with subjects like ocean surf. But it does provide a drama that straight painting can’t quite achieve. Good for lace, fringes etc. as well.


  3. Janice Kelly says:

    Actually, it’s best to use synthetic brushes. Keep a tiny cup of clear water and dip brush,
    stroke brush over bar soap (pure) and then swish again in water, dry slightly on paper towel and then dip into frisket and apply.
    Best to do this each time as it protects the brushes.


  4. Did you have to soften the edges later? or did you just leave them ? – my bottle of frisket is still full and looking at me, I guess I’ll give it a go!


  5. Beverly Grice says:

    Some one suggested dipping your brush in detergent first and then give it a quick rinse. Seems to help the frisket wash off easily and yes the real trick is to wash the brush when you are finished with it not a while later. I assume you also know never to use a hair dryer on the frisket….seems to cook it into the paper. Beverly


  6. designsweet says:

    My almost unused bottle of frisket came out in a great big solid ‘gloop’ the other day …I wash my frisket brushes in hand-wash liquid for delicates!


  7. Now I have memories of using the Windsor and Newton masking fluid back in my watercolor days!


  8. Lee Kline says:

    I like your apples. I have never been able to get much from masking fluids.


  9. Michael says:

    Like you, I tend to stay away from using frisket. Usually I can somehow manage to keep spaces blank even if I’m applying a wash. Where its more difficult is where a large area has to have plenty of small blank dots – like a night sky with stars, or a summer field with daisies. In these sorts of situations I reach for my smelly bottle of frisket which is usually dried up. Frisket is an expensive tool but regrettably one that you can’t just do without.


  10. Joy Makon says:

    I have a love/hate thing going on with the Winsor Newton bottle of masking fluid. I get good success applying it in thin lines using a Speedball pen nib. I constantly dip the pen in water first, then the masking fluid, and clean the nib frequently. The watered-down fluid seems to mask just as well and is a little less obnoxious to use.


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