So, here I am at my kitchen table (where I paint) with all pre painting tools.* First I tape the edges of the paper down onto a piece of heavy cardboard. Then I draw out the lines of the trees, leaves, etc will go in later. Then I use PEBO drawing gum to mask off the areas that I will want white. Normally I just avoid the white areas when painting but for this one I knew I was going to have many layers and wanted a nice clean look to it. I also used painters masking tape to tape off the bulk of the focal tree since it was mostly straight. I use the rounded end of my drawing pencil to apply the masking fluid. (I also like manicure tools for this process- nail dotters, ends of wooden cuticle pushing sticks also work well. ) Once the masking fluid is dry then I will start to paint. Nope -- I'm still not painting yet!
*Pre painting tools include a kneaded rubber eraser, blue painters tape, Pebo drawing gum (or miskit) Pebo is thinner and colored so I think it's easier to apply and use, my drawing pencil , my reference photos, and my sketchbook.
Here is my broken cuticle or orange stick. Works great for applying the masking fluid. I also use the end of a drawing pencil, nail tools-dotters, and an angled end that is on one of my rigger brushes.