Monday, 1 July 2013

Pebeo Drawing Gum

The use of making fluid isn't universal, with some artists for and many against. I don't have any hangups and am prepared to use anything if I feel it beneficial. Don't overdo it though. I have used it sporadically from time to time and a few months ago attended a Bathampton demo where the head of the Bath University Art Department gave a portrait demonstration. During it he mentioned Pebeo Drawing Gum, which he said was hard to find but was the best he had ever used. I'd never heard of it but soon realised he was talking about  masking fluid. Subsequently, although he said one of the Bath art shops stocked it, I found it in Jacksons catalogue. It is listed on page 54 of the latest catalogue under Watercolour Mediums.  The small container contains 45 ml and I found it best applied with a ruling pen. It costs £3.95p. 

Pebeo Drawing Gum and ruling pen. The pen is four inches long and the bottle less than 3 inches from top to bottom. Note the huge relative size of the top.

I am still not expert in it's use but am getting better and the application of masking fluid is one where practice makes perfect or at least acceptable! With the ruling pen you can get very thin lines and the control is excellent - becoming better as I become used to it.

We now come to the negative bit. If you spill any liquid either on clothing, carpets or anything else lookout! This stuff is lethal and I haven't found a satisfactory way of removing it. Other masking fluids may be similar but I think the problem is compounded here by the cap design. For some reason - probably cost - makers are changing many of their bottled products from the old - easy to remove - smallish metal screw tops to these plastic ones, which are much larger and have a lot of threads. This coincides with the change from glass to plastic. Winsor & Newton have done the same and my latest bottle of ox gall has a top that is almost impossible to remove. You can get it partially off which then causes it to leak. With the Pebeo I returned from a Bathampton session to find most had leaked in my carry bag, went through it and onto the carpet. The cap was on but had not fully clicked into place and the liquid went everywhere. At another session drips from the cap went onto my trousers and can't be removed. Also make sure it is absolutely dry before painting because otherwise it will ruin your brushes.

Is it worth buying? If you use masking fluid in small amounts then absolutely providing you are extremely careful when unscrewing the top and even applying it. Liquid also collects inside the rings of the top and can drip out when you take it off. Be very, very careful.

I have not been terribly active on the blog recently due to a combination of circumstances, illness (nothing really serious), holidays, and complications with our projected house move which has affected my focus. The holiday is over and the illness improving but the latter remains a problem, hopefully for not much longer.


Mick Carney said...

Well that's put me off using Pebeo. I'm not a fan of masking fluid and that's probably the reason I've not done the sort of work necessary to do it well and as for ruling pens I am an incompetent. Hope things improve on your various activity fronts and hope to be in touch soon.

Peter Ward said...

I think masking fluid in general is pretty tricky stuff but certainly extreme care is needed to avoid the pitfalls I mentioned. Maybe I'm just clumsy!

mrspdvn said...

I'm not a big fan either; I have had Pebeo for a long time but as long as I remember the bottle and its cap has always been the same in plastic

mrspdvn said...
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Peter Ward said...

Thanks for comments Marisa. As related I only learned about Pebeo a short time ago. I don't like the cap design at all though.