Masking & Stippling

To see the gallery, go here: Masking & Stippling Gallery on Flickr

With C. Lion

Masking Without StipplingPartial stamp masking with  scrap paper.

You can do this several ways, use either torn or cut paper and either put it on the paper or on the stamp after inking. The image at the right is an example of partial masking with scrap paper.

End productI got a bit carried away with my little balls and trying to cover the strings I ended up covering the masked area, but hey, that is what we do sometimes. Originally I was just going to add a few small balls there.

The third image (at right) may be a better example of masking an area of a background stamp. Masked area of a large stampMany times we forget that instead of stamping and tearing paper we can achieve an even different look by masking. Use a torn soft paper towel to get a less distinct edge and torn copy paper for sharper definition.

resist_reg_opt_small1 This one (at left) is done with a single color but you can choose to do it in layers of color. First you take white glossy CS and stamp using a clear embossing pad (Versamark, Top Boss etc.) and emboss with clear EP. Take a stamp pad (dye ink) and cover card stock; the embossed area will resist the color. You can create even more layers. I used the white CS and black just to get a clear sample.

In this example (last one on right) I did not want the bulk of a number of layers as I wanted to cut out portions on the fish and have the mottled red polished stone show through. Step 1 was to stamp the koi circle and emboss as well as stamping off a second onto copy paper. After heating the EP and Stamp in a Stampdrying the second stamping with the heat gut I cut out the circle and attached it over the koi circle. I then stamped the leaves over the koi circle. If you are worried about second stamp placement use a stamp positioner.

Stippling Without MaskingAging paper with Distress Inks

The new Distress Inks are great to use with stippling. In the example above I used the Aged Paper Distress Ink. When you are creating collages or assemblages that are to look aged, remember not to take your stippling right up to the edge of the item on top of it. If you notice real aged items there is usually a halo around them. I suspect because the acid in the papers react a bit differently and there is less smudging and dirt there as well.

Combining Stippling and MaskingHard edge mask - cut paper

To get the hardest edge in your masking use cut paper, in the case of the butterfly, I wanted the stippling right up to the edge of the butterfly. It helps give the impression it is floating above the surrounding area. Try using more than 1 color to make a more interesting background.

Edge softened by not getting too close to maskIn the case of the goldfish, I also cut out my mask but I did not get as close to the edges. The reasons for this are two-fold. It helps make your subject pop and in this case it also assists in giving a sense of movement and being IN the background.

This fan was made simply by placing a piece of cardstock downPaper mask softened by over-stippling and stippling each blade of the fan. Take the stippling down the edge and around the corner. Rotate the cardstock for each successive blade. As you go around the over-stippling that happens softens the atmosphere. Should you want it sharp, use a smaller brush and be more careful as you work. Remember to start from the left or you will be smudging your work.

Different things used to mask create different effects. You have seen how cutting gives a very definite edge. In this example I used wild colors so you evo_mountains_opt_smallcould see the sections better. start by tearing a piece of copy paper thinking of mountains. You will want to keep both pieces of this. Start by placing the the paper the mountains were cut out of. Hold it down or use repositioning glue. Stipple heavily at the edge and lighter as you move away. Tear that paper mire for more mountains and repeat going down. Dry with a heat gun. Now take the other half of the first sheet of paper and do your yellow part of the sunset, getting lighter as you go up. From this point up tear a fluffy paper towel to get a softer edge. Tear and stipple, tear and stipple.

In this case I had stamped the images and did not want a thick card so I masked it first then Masked embossed image and cross-hatched stipplingstipples. I used a piece of CS and stippled one direction diagonally. If you want to make sure you are completely diagonal start in the middle and work out. REMEMBER to dry before turning it around. I used chalk inks here. After going one way I went diagonal from the opposite corners. I wish the scan could show you the pillowing the card has. It looks like it is quilted; raised centers of fabric stitched along the lines. I painted the rest with pearlescent inks.

In this example I stamped the Monarch butterfly on white CS, masked it and stippled the light monarch_opt_smallgreen.  I stippled a second piece of CS in a darker green. To make a seamless frame, again with only 1 thickness of paper, place the 2 sheets one on top of the other and then cut the frame. Then take out the middle piece and replace it with the corresponding dark green one. At the end you have a set of frame parts in reverse to use for another project. You could also have use 3 colors of green, just cut them all together.

Multi-Method Masking With Stippling

Muli-method masking with stippling

This example uses several methods we have seen above. I had a basic Idea of what I wanted to start with and just free hand stippled here and there, the grass and the sky area and I wanted lighter rocks to the right. Then I stippled my main character and made a mask for him. I out the mask on with repositional glue-stick. I have a stamp that is a scene including rock hills, a mountain, pine branch, house and so on. I used markers to color in the stamp and positioned it where I wanted it. I did not color in certain portions of the stamp as I did not want them there (several people and a stream). I then took a **Masque-Pen and drew the other mountain and finished the first one. I also drew the edges of the left side rocks.

A masque-pen holds liquid masking or frisket. Watercolorists use it a lot as you cannot fix mistakes in water-color very easily. It keeps color out of places they do not want it. You can purchase other liquid masking or frisket in bottles and use with a brush- do not use a good brush and clean it immediately after application. The liquid masking in the Masque-Pen comes out unevenly unless you get pretty good at it but uneven is what I wanted here so off we went.

After applying the frisket and letting it dry I stippled up to it in the case of the sky and mountains and all around it in the case of the rocks. once I got the stippling the way I wanted it I let it dry and then colored and stamped the pine branch on the left. Next I pealed off the frisket (it is cool; it peels off like a facial masque) and took a marker to the remaining white spaces. It actually allows what is left of the white to help dimentionalize the rocks. I also took pens to the roof of the shack and other places to give it a more ‘drawn’ look. I ran short of time and I still need to paint the fisherman. I also wanted to take time to decide on colors.

Edges for stippling Cut paper or CS edge – Hard edge
Torn paper – Medium edge
Torn fluffy paper towel – Soft edge
Torn mulberry paper – Uneven edge
Creating edges To assist you in getting the basic shape you want wet a brush or use a waterbrush and draw out the design. Let it soak in the paper and taking the the flats of fingers or palms and pull apart rather than tearing. The mountains are usually better torn from dry paper but if you have a special shape you want, do the water method but then trim any fluffy edges a bit.
General Not inking or coloring part of a stamp is in effect masking the un-inked part
You can mask in stages, masking some areas, stamping or stippling, then masking other areas, and inking those. I n this way building layers of color
Stippling right up to the edge of a masked stamping pulls the subject visually up on top of the background.
Stippling not to the edge can leave the impression of movement, it makes the subject looks like it is in something or backlit. It makes the subject pop.
In most cases you want to stipple the darkest at the edge of the mask and lighten as you go away from it. This is especially true when creating a landscape or something like the fan.
Stipple Brushes In general you want stiffer brushes to stipple or you will get smudges You can get cheap stippling brushes in the kids section of the craft store, at dollar stores or big lots
Keep different sizes of brushes for different areas or sizes or jobs Shaving brushes are great stippling brushes
Aging When stippling to age and you are going to have something on top of the aged paper. Do not stipple right up to the edge, leave a ‘halo’ around the top layer. It looks more natural as and in in the case of a similarly colored item separates them.
Framing To get a seamless frame in various colors, place papers on top of each other and cut through all layers together
Masking with frisketfound in fine arts department

near watercolors or near airbrushing supplies.

Frisket comes in several mediums as well as methods of application. Liquid frisket is usually latex and can be applied with a brush or with a Masque-Pen. The pen looks like an old white-out plastic bottle with a tiny metal tip. You can get a very fine line of frisket this way and my applying with unequal pressure get great lines for mountains and rocks. Frisket must dry after using and when done peals off. Be careful not to pull up a piece of paper getting it started.Frisket also comes in a film that is often used by people who airbrush. You can cut it over a tracing and peal off the backing as you add it to the item to be masked – like a motorcycle, there are frisket made for photos and all sorts of other items you might want to mask.

See Masquepen at

If I forgot something or you have an addition to make or a tip, let me know.

I really enjoyed all of you in class, let’s do it again soon! Don’t forget to share your photos of your

work: Masking & Stippling Gallery on Flickr

Copyright @2005 C Sullivan all rights reserved

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