Negative Space Lettering Pt. 2 (Masking + Watercolor)

WOO-HOO we're back again with another Negative Space Lettering tutorial! This one isn't focused so much on lettering, but I think you'll like it just the same! If you missed my first Negative Space Post, you can catch it here. 

Today's blog post uses several techniques I've previously talked about on the, throughout the post, watch out for links to previous blog posts that will help answer any additional questions you may have about the techniques I'm using today! 

Let's jump in, shall we? 

Here's what I used: 
Mixed Media or Watercolor Paper
1 Sheet of Kraft Paper or scrap paper (optional)
Masking Fluid or Masking Pen
Paint palette or container for Masking Fluid
Blending Palette (I used this one, but a paper baggie or plastic surface works too)
A water sprayer or spritzer
1 Paint Brush You Don't Mind Ruining Forever :-/
1 Paint Brush You Actually Like Using :)
A pencil
A White Gel Pen (Optional)
Tombow Dual Brush Pens in your favorite color family

For this technique, I began by lightly sketching out a simple design. In this case, I chose a heart with a scripted 'Love' inside. Feel free to do whatever works best for you, but my intention was to cover every bit of pencil with masking fluid, so I don't have to worry about erasing later. (If that doesn't make sense to you yet, it will as we move through the tutorial!)

Next up is masking fluid! 

Ok, let's talk about this first. Despite having seen masking fluid being used countless times on Instagram or in YouTube art tutorials, I have only used it for the first time this week. There's a few things you should  know before you dive in:

1. Masking fluid ain't necessarily least, this kind isn't. This brand sells for $15 at Hobby Lobby. I'm sure I could have gotten it cheaper on Amazon, but I have no patience. There are also other forms and brands of masking fluid that I'm sure are much more affordable, but once again...I wasn't patient! I wanted it right then and there at the store.

2. It will ruin your brush, so choose one you don't love, and deem that brush your 'masking fluid brush forever and ever amen.'

3. It dries FAST, so go in with a plan and work quickly. 

With all that in mind, I went ahead and applied my masking fluid on top of my pencil sketch. 

While my masking fluid is drying on my paper, I picked the colors I wanted to use for the next step! Since I'll be doing some watercolor with these Tombow Dual Brush Pens, I chose colors in the same family, because we want them to blend well together!

For more tips about watercoloring with Tombows, you can check out these blog posts: 
Unique + Gorgeous Lettered Art

Tombow Techniques: DIY Summertime Watercolor Wall Art

Brush Lettering + Watercolor Floral Art

And UGH, my camera was out of focus for the next step, but take my word for it: I scribbled a bit of each color down onto my blending palette in no particular order or pattern. 

Next, as you can kind of see below (lol), I took a tiny water spritzer and sprayed the palette a couple of times until all the ink had mixed with some water. The Kraft paper below the palette is simply to protect my workspace, and not a necessity at all :)

Once my palette was wet with the water and ink combination, I took a round brush and began picking up the color from the palette, and laying it onto the blank areas of my design. 

This is the fun part about masking fluid! You can be as messy as you want to be, and it doesn't matter: your design will come out (mostly) clean everywhere you put your masking fluid!

Once you've applied all your color, you must wait until your paint or ink is completely dry before you attempt to peel off the masking fluid....I know, the temptation is so real! Trust me! I made the mistake of pulling the fluid up too early and the wet parts of the paper were completely ripped up along with the fluid. Not worth it. 

When my design was ready, I simply used my thumb to rub up a piece of the tacky fluid. From there, I peeled it off slowly, and my gorgeous negative space design was revealed! I finished by cleaning up the design with an eraser, getting rid of the remaining pencil marks that were hidden beneath the masking fluid. 

For my second design, I repeated the same beginning steps:
1. Lightly sketch
2. Cover in masking fluid
3. Wait to dry

For the next step, I wanted to use the leftover ink and water mixture on my palette, and I added to it a bit before spritzing it with water!

Before the next step, I double-checked to make sure my masking fluid had dried completely! When I was sure it had, I quickly flipped over my palette and pressed it down onto the paper. I did sort of a dabbing motion to spread the color around.

For a much more detailed explanation of this technique (except using a plastic baggie), check out this blog post:
The Hefty Hack How To

Oops! More blurry photos! Sorrrryyyyyy :(

When I felt like I couldn't get anymore color from my palette, I grabbed a clean paint brush and laid down the remaining bits of ink on the paper to fill in any blank spots around the masking. I did this until my little design eye was happy! 

Ok... once again, we must wait until our ink or paint has COMPLETELY DRIED!!! Ahhhh, the AGONY! 

But it'll be worth it FOR SURE.

Ok! So my finished design didn't quite come out as clean as I hoped it would...but that's where our handy-dandy gel pen comes in to save the day!

If you want to take the time to clean up your edges with a gel pen, go for it! However, I only needed to cover up a few spots where my masking fluid wasn't completely smooth and even. 

Ta-da! It's done! What do you think?

Ok y'all, that's it for this week's blog post! I had a lot of fun with this one, and as always, I hope you'll explore your own instincts and personal style if yy;'ou decide to give this tutorial a try! Tag me on Instagram and show me your designs if you do :) OR leave me a comment below and tell me which color family you would choose: greens, blues, reds, violets? I love seeing how each artist puts their own spin on things!