Friday, April 17, 2015
Masking Watercolors Tutorial
April is National Letter Writing Month according to the USPS. So this seems like a good time to make some stationary. This is a super easy project to make your own cards and get to play with watercolors.
Wax Resist Sticks*
Large Square Paintbrush
Palette (or something to use as a palette)
Jar or Cup for Water
I had hoped that I could use a white colored pencil to make a more fine line on my cards, but they didn't turn out as well as I'd hoped. I ended up going out and buying the wax resist sticks from my local art supply store as well as some masking fluid (see after the tutorial for a comparison of all three of these products).
Draw out your design. I taped up a design I liked to the window and a piece of watercolor paper on top of it and then traced out the design I wanted. You can also try drawing freehand. If you draw freehand, keep in mind that it's hard to see the wax on the white paper, so a loose, messy design is probably going to work out best.
Note: If you want to make folded note cards, score and fold the paper now so you place your design in the right place.
Paint! Use a large paint brush and not too much water. More saturation of color works better for this project, so bright or darker colors and the minimum amount of water to flow across the page.
Try moving around in an circular motion to create a shape on the page, or a series of swipes all in the same direction. Allow the colors to mix on the paper instead of on the palette. If you've never painted a watercolor wash before, I recommend checking out this tutorial for the process.
Let the paint dry almost all the way and then very very carefully using a paper towel, tissue, or q-tip dab the paint from the waxed areas. It will bead up a bit on the wax, which looks pretty cool, but it will stand out more if you clean it off. Dabbing at the paper is counter-productive, but the paint on the paper will dry faster, so just a wait a few moments.
Different Masking Options:
I first tried using a white colored pencil I already had at home. But it turned out like this:
You can almost see where it says Happy Birthday, right? I think maybe that particular colored pencil didn't have enough wax to it. Not all pencils are created equal, I think. But I got so fed up that I went looking for something that I knew would work.
My local art store had this Art Masking Fluid and these Wax Resist Sticks. You can see above how the wax resist sticks did. They don't have the same level of detail that the colored pencil might have, but I really like the messy look they provided.
The Masking Fluid* though is hands down my favorite. I could lightly draw (or use graphite transfer paper) a design on to the paper and as long as I cover up all of my pencil marks with the masking fluid I was able to erase my marks after the paint was dry and the masking fluid had been removed. I'm really excited to try out ALL of the projects with this masking fluid now.
Keep in mind that how well it works is mostly dependent on your painting or calligraphy skills. (The instructions on the bottle specified that it could be used like ink for a calligraphy pen.) I am not at all skilled with a calligraphy pen, but I'm not too bad with a paintbrush. So I painted this penguin with a paintbrush in the masking fluid and I'm pretty happy with the way it turned out.
*These links are Amazon Affiliate Links. I make a few pennies off of these if you order from my links.