Tools of the trade: Whiteout

I know, I know, you don’t make mistakes. Even so, being able to apply white to an already inked black page is a pretty handy tool. So we’re gonna cover a couple of the more popular methods of doing that, along with a trade secret from Jock.

Tippex (or Liquid Paper)

The great thing about tippex is its ubiquity, every stationary store across the land sells it. And, for most artists, it’s the first way they discover of applying white. It’s pretty rubbish though, it’s glopey and horrible and almost impossible to ink on top of (and it smells terrible). Still, these days there are neat little pens that make applying it easier, but, even so, it’s not a precision tool.


Process White

Ah, process white, this is what most people come to next, it’s the ‘textbook’ method of applying white. Process white can be put down with a brush – and will often need to be reinvigorated by applying a little dab of water to the paint (it usually drys to a brick in the pot). Process white can be used to do all sorts of cool effects, including splatter for stars, painting thin lines over things (great for rain) and, just, generally correcting things. The problem is, it’s not water resistant. If you go to paint black OVER process white you’ll end up with grey – the black ink will damp the white and cause them to mix, added to that, Process White – with the advent of photoshop – is something that’s disappearing from the shelves, developed originally, to add lettering to photos/

Acrylic W


hite Ink

Here it is. Jock’s secret white (well, it was Jock that first suggested it to me, years ago). Acrylic ink, as with process white, can be applied with a brush. You’ll need to mix it, shaking it up in the bottle will, inevitably, involve lots of white ink flying everywhere (it’s quiet a thin liquid). I recommend leaving the lid off for a little while so it can thicken up a bit. The big advantage over Process white, is that you can paint over acrylic white ink – it’s completely water proof. Allowing you to paint a thin layer of white over a mistake, and then paint black over the top of that. There’re a number of brands available, my ink of choice is Winsor and Newtown (pictured right) mainly because it’s the only one I can find in the shops!


And here’s a thing, rather than using a toothbrush dipped in white ink (and splattered all over the page) try dipping a small brush into the pot and flicking the brush along the lip of the pot around the area that you want the white (or black) splatter. The result is a finer, more controlled spray of ink along with a lot less mess on your fingers and thumbs.

(The links on above are intended for information purposes only, I haven’t purchased from either of the shops online above so can’t say whether they’re any good or not – most art supply shops will stock Acrylic White Ink).

Author: PJ

Belfast based Comic Artist who won’t shut up on twitter.