One thing that can be a little tricky to achieve in watercolors is white on watercolors. There are however plenty of ways to accomplish that. And I’m going to show you a few ideas in this blog post.

Painting with white on watercolors can be a bit tricky. Learn different mediums you can use in this detailed blog post - Inkstruck Studio #watercolor #watercolortutorial

Now, I’m not a watercolor purist! I don’t mind using other media along with it if it helps enhance the art. And besides, art has no rules so play with it, enjoy it and most importantly have fun with it. I’ve shown all of the mediums over galaxies just to make it fun and interesting.

Before I talk about the techniques in white on watercolors, I’d like to make a little disclaimer that this is my way of doing things and each artist has a different perspective. So feel free to share your techniques in the comments.

Painting with white on watercolors can be a bit tricky. Learn different mediums you can use in this detailed blog post - Inkstruck Studio #watercolor #watercolortutorial

{This post contains affiliate links. This means that I will earn a small percentage if you decide to buy from one of the links you click below.You will not be charged extra.}

Method 1 – Using Bleedproof white ink

The thick, beautiful bleedproof white is one of my favorite products to use. It creates a very dense, opaque white on paper. If you see the description on the website, it mentions that the ink is used for covering colors. So primarily it is used to mask out the layer beneath which makes it perfect for the job. It is quite thick, so a little goes a long way. I like to thin it with a little bit of water using an eye dropper. The ink is waterproof and stays opaque.

Method 2 – Dr. Ph.Martins Bombay India ink white

You can use Bombay inks straight from the bottle. They are of thin consistency, and the product sometimes separates in the bottle, so shake well before using. You can dip a small brush directly into the jar or use an eye dropper to get the contents out. The website mentions that it has excellent covering properties. Moreover, they are waterproof, lightfast and permanent.

Method 3 – White gel pen

This method is easily the most convenient way to achieve white on watercolors. There is no use of paintbrushes, no cleaning up and certainly no spillage. But, it is also one of my least favorite methods. This is because I find it time-consuming for more significant works and areas which call for thicker whites. There are several brands namely Gelly roll and Uniball Signo.

Method 4 – Uni Posca pen in white

The Posca pen is an excellent product for creating white on watercolors. It has the advantage of a pen with beautiful covering properties. The pen needs to be shaken well before use, and you’ll need to test it out on a scrap sheet to see if the ink flows appropriately. Once it starts flowing, it creates rich white lines that glode on smoothly. It comes in four different nib thickness.

Method 5 – White Gouache

The medium gouache has the properties of both watercolor and acrylic. It can be thinned down with water but can stay opaque like acrylics. I like to use the Winsor and Newton designers gouache in permanent white mixed in a small container that has a lid. You can only use it thick directly from the tube if your painting calls for it. Make sure the product isn’t diluted too much if you need deep white.

Recommended reading on gouache – A detailed gouache painting tutorial

Method 6 – Masking fluid

Masking fluid makes use of the white of the paper by masking the area on which it is applied. The fluid needs to be applied before painting, and it must be completely dry. Make sure to use cheap brushes and keep a jar of soapy water to rinse it out. My favorite brand is the Pebeo drawing gum because it is thin in consistency, doesn’t smell much and is blue. Other brands are Winsor and Newton Masking fluid and Sennelier masking fluid.

I hope you enjoyed this fun tutorial on how to achieve white in watercolors. I’m sure there are plenty more ways, so make sure you use the comments section below to tell me yours.

As always thanks for stopping by. x


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About zakkiya hamza @ inkstruck

Zakkiya is the creative blogger and founder of Inkstruck Studio. She’s a self taught artist who let go of her architecture profession to pursue her passion in art. Zakkiya likes to write detailed tutorials in watercolor, calligraphy, and hand lettering. She also teaches watercolor workshops occasionally in Doha where she’s based currently. Other passions include traveling, photography, and basketball.When she’s not working, you can find her cuddling and running around with her toddler boy.


  1. Thank you, Zakkiya. This was very helpful. I use bleedproof white or white acrylic gouache, for stars. I picked up an inexpensive set of nail dotting tools from Amazon like these:
    I’ve used them for starry skies, to do sgraffito work in painting plus I use them (gently) for playing eyes and turning work in art doll-making.

  2. Hi Zakkiya, I’m sorry that I’m not a prolific artist so no Instagram. But…right now I’m working on a hand-drawn and painted map for a gift where I may be using bleed-proof white as an accent on top of greenery. I also just received white Jelly-Roll pens, medium point, that I saw used to highlight watercolor on a YouTube video. I was impressed with the result. If the map works out well, I will be happy to make sure you get a scan of it and I’ll tell you what I used.

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