Brush & Pencil Titanium White and Water

Brush & Pencil Titanium White and Water

Is mixing Brush & Pencil Titanium White and water a good way to draw whiskers on a cat? Is mixing it with water a good idea?

That’s what a reader wants to know. Here’s her question.

I am drawing a cat in colored pencil. I was thinking of using Brush and Pencil’s Titanium White ( powder just add water) and use a very thin brush to paint the whiskers. I used this product for snow..and it worked great. Any thoughts from you on whiskers?

What Is Titanium White?

For those who don’t know, Titanium White from Brush & Pencil is dry pigment. It’s naturally opaque because it contains no binding agents or mediums. It’s similar to the dry pigments you can buy from Dick Blick and other sources. These pigments are mixed and blended for making all kinds of art mediums.

Including colored pencils.

Brush & Pencil Titanium White is designed to be mixed with Touch-Up Texture, also made by Brush & Pencil. When these two products are mixed, they make a paint-able white pigment that’s opaque and can be safely used over colored pencil. Once it dries, you can also draw over it.

It’s ideal for covering mistakes and drawing fine details like the whiskers on animals. The best part is that these two products are completely archival.

So part of my answer to this reader’s question is that you can paint whiskers using Titanium White mixed with Touch-Up Texture.

But what about mixing it with water?

Mixing Brush & Pencil Titanium White and Water

The general rule of thumb with colored pencils is that you never apply a water-based medium over colored pencils. That’s because water and oil (or wax) don’t mix in this way. Water will not stick to the waxiness of the colored pencils.

But I was curious, so I decided to try mixing Titanium White with water, just to see what happened.

I mixed one batch of Titanium White with water, and another with Touch-Up Texture. The resulting mixtures looked pretty much the same.

Next, I shaded color onto a sheet of paper with a variety of pressures and layers.

Then I used small brushes to apply a few strokes of each mixture. Each stroke was a little bit heavier, because I wanted to see if that made a difference.

The strokes on the top are the water-based mixture. The strokes on the bottom are the Touch-Up Texture mixture.

Titanium White and Water

As you can see, it’s difficult to tell the difference. The strokes look about the same, and the two mixtures went onto the paper the same way. One wasn’t thicker than the other, and they behaved the same coming off the brush.

In fact, the only difference I noticed while using these two mixtures was that the water-based mixture took longer to dry.

Once they were both dry, I scratched at each one with a fingernail. You’ll notice that both of them scratched, but that the damage to the water-based mixture was worse than to the Touch-Up Texture mixture.

The Bottom Line

It is possible to mix Titanium White with water and get a paintable medium.

You can apply this water-based mixture over colored pencil in much the same way you apply Titanium White and Touch-Up Texture. It’s even difficult to tell the difference in a side-by-side comparison, as shown above.

But water-based products will not stick to colored pencil very well, no matter what type of colored pencils you use. It’s also more easily damaged.

So while it is possible, I don’t recommend mixing Titanium White with water. Even if the mixture sticks to the drawing when it’s applied, it may not last very long.

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  1. Mary Friesen

    Hi Carrie, I recently did a picture where I used titanium white to create snow flakes. I decided to try water in order to avoid the time spent shaking my little bottle of touch up texture. I used Polychromos pencils and the titanium white worked great – until I started noticing snowflakes on the table under my little easel. As it dried, it started to flake off with just the slightest of movement. So I would not recommend taking a chance on it.

    1. Mary,

      Thank you for sharing this experience. I didn’t check my test drawing after I finished the article, but I was amazed at how easy it was to scratch off the Titanium White/Water mixture after it dried. It’s far better to have the snowflakes on your drawing rather than under your easel!

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