Saturday, June 11, 2016

Quick Tutorial: Easy Masking with Sticky Notes

On my YouTube channel, I've talked about using masking fluid and frisket to mask off areas of a painting or marker illustration.  There are several ways to mask, but the quick tutorial I'm sharing with you guys today might be the easiest.

  • Your piece
  • Sticky notes on a roll
  • A knife or scissors

For this little watercolor, I really just needed to mask the bottom half of the painting off from the sky, so I could apply stars.  I didn't need my mask to be waterproof or markerproof, and I'd had negative experiences with both frisket and masking fluid in the past.  Fortunately, my roll of sticky notes caught my eye.  It was just perfect for what I wanted- not so sticky that it would disrupt the paint or tear the paper, it wouldn't leave a residue the way frisket can, and it was easy.

All I did was layer my sticky note paper on top of the area I wanted to mask.  If you needed to cut your sticky notes for finer details, just remove your watercolor paper from the block, flick on your light table or lightpad, and begin tracing with a pencil.

I used these sticky notes to mask off the grass and people from the sky, so I could flick some Copic Opaque White and FW Acrylic Pearlescent ink across the sky for stars. 

For a quick masking application like this, you don't even need to press down your sticky note onto the paper, but if you want a more secure seal, you definitely can.  The adhesive should be low tack enough that it shouldn't disturb dry layers of watercolor or gouache.

The hardest part is selecting a brand to use.  I'm currently using Yoobi's roll of sticky notes, but there are lots of options available.  I've selected a few likely suspects to help you guys out.

These aren't just great for masking off areas either.  I go through A LOT of sticky notes in my studio- from labelling things to making notes, so a roll o' sticky is handy to have, and I can tear it as long as I need.