My name is Jonene Ficklin, and I'm a full-time wife, mom, writer, and professional artist. I've been drawing since I was old enough to hold a pencil. I use colored pencils, oil paints, and watercolors. I love what I do!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Lesson 32 - Watercolor - Frisket

One of the hardest parts of doing a watercolor painting is avoiding the places you want left white. Luckily, there's an easy solution.

It is a product called liquid frisket or drawing gum. Basically, it's just like rubber cement, but it's made for watercolors. You paint it on the areas you don't want to accidentally paint over, like a highlight, clouds in a blue sky, or water splashes, etc.

Once the frisket is on and dry (it dries quickly), you can paint right over the top of it, for instance a sky. After you frisket the clouds off, you can paint the entire sky, going over the frisketed area (if you want to), without anything getting on the clouds.

Once the sky area that you've painted has dried, too, you can rub or erase the frisket off.

Here's what you'll need:

Liquid frisket (there are many brands and several sizes. I went for super large, but you can find nice small bottles at an art supply store)

This is called "The Incredible Nib." You use it to paint the frisket on. I highly recommend avoiding using a paintbrush because it will ruin it - but if you must, first dip the paintbrush in liquid soap and let it dry, then use to paint with the frisket. Or - use a very cheap brush that you don't mind throwing away.

But take my word for it, investing in a nib is worth it. The ends are simply shaped wood and you can use and re-use it over and over. It's easy to peel the frisket off when you're done.

To erase the frisket, I've used my finger (it gets sore after a while), and a regular eraser (which works), but this is an eraser made just for frisket removal. It's not a mandatory buy, but it's very nice. It works perfectly. You'll usually find it at your art store with the frisket and nib at the watercolor painting section.

Okay, now you're ready to use it. Dip your nib into the frisket bottle (not too deep) and spread on your paper. It will take a little practice not to end up with it getting gummy as you paint, but don't worry, you'll get the hang of it. Paint an area, and don't worry about putting on a thick coat. You just need a thin layer, but fill in all the holes or the paint will seep through in those spots.

And don't get aggrivated if you start to paint over a half-dried area and your nib grabs a strand and it pulls up. Just tear the strand off, and wait for that area to dry, then go back and fill it in again.

Like I said, you'll soon get the hang of it, and then it's no problem.

Have fun frisketing! The magic happens when you pull it off and have an awesome sparkle or cloud. I'll show you how I do it next week as I work the sky area.

--Comments--I apologize in advance. I've been trying for three days to reply to your comments and comment on your blogs, but blogger is having a problem, (something to do with internet explorer) and keeps kicking me off. I'll keep trying, though!


  1. Frisket? Is that name for real? I didn't even know this stuff existed!

    On another note, I had major problems with Blogger too but once I got of IE and onto Firefox, all was well!

  2. Lydia, yeah, it's for real and a miracle tool, too. Wait until you see how it can be used to make awesome sand. That's where the real fun will be!

    Yeah, I had to get off IE, too. It's still not working. Thanks!

  3. I may have to get brave enough to try watercolors. It does look fun. And messy. Mwahahahah. :)

  4. Leisha, it is fun, and deliciously messy, too - but nothing like pastels. : )

  5. Cool. I've dabbled in art myself a little--mostly oils--but I've never heard of frisket. My son does watercolors, maybe I should get some for him. I can't wait to see your painting come to life!

  6. Julie, wow, oils aren't for wimps! I'd love to see your work. Compared to oils, watercolors are very simple, but they dry fast. Your son will love the liquid frisket!


Theme images by Zarin Ficklin. Powered by Blogger.

Copyright 2011

Site by Zarin Ficklin