• How to Write Calligraphy with Art Masking Fluid

    Today, we’ll explore a new calligraphy technique with art masking fluid! Follow TPK’s video and written tutorial to learn how to use this versatile tool to achieve a stunning and unique calligraphy effect.

    Calligraphy written using art masking fluid

    Here’s why I love pointed pen calligraphy: you can switch up your ink on a whim. Indeed, you don’t have to use any ink whatsoever. Instead, try writing calligraphy with art masking fluid! This technique allows you to create stunning, unique effects by preserving parts of your paper from paint or ink.

    How to Write Calligraphy With Art Masking Fluid: The Video Tutorial

    For a visual demonstration, check out the video I made for you! It’s just over seven minutes long and covers everything you need to know. For the written tutorial, keep scrolling down.

    How to Write Calligraphy With Art Masking Fluid: The Written Tutorial

    1. Gather Your Supplies

    Creating calligraphy with art masking fluid isn’t difficult, but it does call for some forethought. The most important thing is to pick paper and ink that offer a clear contrast.

    A compilation of supplies including an envelope, a pointed pen and nib, art masking fluid, sumi ink, and a paintbrush

    Here are the specific supplies that I recommend:

    2. Write Calligraphy with the Art Masking Fluid

    Begin by transferring your art masking fluid into a small (1 oz. or so) glass jar with a screw-top lid. The transfer will make for easy and convenient dipping, both today and in the future.

    Art masking fluid in a 1 oz. glass jar, ready for a pointed pen
    I like to store art masking fluid in one of these jars. The screw-top lid ensures that the masking fluid stays good for years.

    Then, use your Brause Rose nib and a casual no-guidelines calligraphy style (like the Kaitlin) to write your calligraphy. (Don’t know how to write calligraphy yet? Take my beginner’s course.) Treat the art masking fluid just as you would any other ink: dip the nib in the fluid, write, and re-dip. When the nib starts to get gunky, simply swish it off in your cleaning water, wipe clean, and start again.

    Clear calligraphy written using art masking fluid
    It’s important to use a Brause Rose nib because you want to produce upstrokes that are somewhat hefty. Sharper nibs have a tough time achieving a more substantial upstroke.

    3. Brush Over the Calligraphy With Ink

    Once your art masking fluid calligraphy looks totally clear, with no cream-colored blobs, you can use your paintbrush and sumi ink to paint over it. Take care to cover all of the calligraphy with wide, loose strokes.

    Black sumi ink applied over art masking fluid calligraphy
    You can use any ink or thin paint such as watercolor for this step.

    4. Remove the Art Masking Fluid

    Give your ink anywhere from 10 to 30 minutes to dry. Once you’re certain everything has dried, use your fingers to gently rub the art masking fluid off of the paper. The result will be crisp, clear calligraphy that’s the same color as your paper.

    And that’s it! Nice, easy, and simple.

    Art Masking Fluid FAQs

    When I’ve posted videos of me writing calligraphy with art masking fluid in the past, here are some of the questions that have cropped up:

    How do I prevent the art masking fluid from damaging my nibs?

    Because masking fluid can be pretty sticky and dries quickly, it’s important to take extra care of your nib. Be sure to swish your nib frequently in your cleaning water to prevent the masking fluid from drying on it. After swishing, wipe the nib down with a cleaning cloth to remove any remaining residue. When you finish your calligraphy session, give your nib a thorough rinse in the cleaning water. Gently wipe it clean with your cloth to remove any leftover masking fluid.

    Can I mix different inks or paints over the masking fluid for a layered or gradient effect?

    Definitely! Once the masking fluid is applied and dried, you can paint or ink over it with various colors and mediums. After your layers have dried, you can carefully remove the masking fluid to reveal the untouched paper underneath.

    How long can I leave the masking fluid on the paper before it becomes difficult to remove?

    You can usually leave masking fluid on the paper for up to a few days without any issues, but it’s best to remove it within 24-48 hours to ensure easy removal. Leaving it on for too long can cause the fluid to bond too strongly with the paper, making it difficult to remove. Your best bet is to apply the paint or ink soon after the masking fluid has dried, and then carefully remove the fluid once everything is completely dry.

    How can I fix any areas where the masking fluid didn’t work as expected?

    If the underlying paper was inadvertently exposed to paint or ink, you can scrape off the pigment (learn how here). Alternatively, you can try carefully touching up those spots with paint to try and match the paper color. Also consider incorporating the mishap into your design creatively, which can turn it into an intentional part of your calligraphy.

    Can I use art masking fluid on any type of paper, or are there specific types that work better?

    Sturdy papers with a bit of tooth — like watercolor paper, drawing paper, or high-quality envelopes work best. These surfaces allow for clean application and easy removal of the masking fluid. Avoid thin or delicate papers because they may tear or get damaged. It’s always a good idea to test the masking fluid on a test piece of paper first to ensure it’s compatible

    I hope that you enjoyed this tutorial on using art masking fluid to create unique calligraphy pieces! This technique is fun and versatile, allowing you to experiment with different styles and effects. I’d love to see how you use art masking fluid in your calligraphy projects! You can share your work with me on Instagram (@thepostmansknock) or Facebook. It’s always inspiring to see the beautiful creations this community comes up with. Plus, your work might just inspire someone else to try this technique.

    A #10 envelope with art masking fluid calligraphy on it

    If you have any questions or run into any issues, feel free to leave a comment below. I’m here to help and am happy to provide any additional guidance you might need. Your feedback also helps me improve future tutorials, so don’t hesitate to reach out! Until next time, keep practicing and enjoy your creative journey.