Toolbar Box Seven: Mask

Mask IconsMask: Normal, Mask & Reverse Mask
Normal: This is the default setting and the one you want to have selected whenever you are not using the Mask or Reverse Mask Tools. Remember to change back to it when you've finished with your Masking work.
Mask: The purpose of the Mask Tool is to cover, block or, well, Mask a specified area of your drawing. While it is "Masked" you can draw all around it and across it, even, without making a mark on it.
Reverse Mask: The Reverse Mask Tool (known as "Inverse" in Photoshop) does the exact opposite of the Mask Tool. It makes the specified, selected area the only place on the canvas where you are able to draw. If you try to draw outside the "Masked" area while Reverse Mask is selected, nothing will appear on the canvas.
Since these tools are a bit more complicated to use than most, this seemed like a good opportunity to create a Step-by-Step section for the tutorial. You can follow along and just read the steps or, to help you better understand the processes, you can do each step on a drawing of your own. Click here to take you to the Mask Step-by-Step Tutorial Page.
If you want to skip the Step-by-Step, here are the instructions for using the Mask/Reverse Mask Tool.

  • Right click on the canvas to pick up the color of the area you want to mask. (It is important that the area be filled with a solid color. The Mask tool doesn't read areas with soft, partially transparent edges very well and you will have a lot of clean up to do around the edges if you use airbrush or watercolor brush tools. If I know I'm going to make an area to mask, I fill it using, at least an outline, with the Pencil Tool. If it's a large area you can then use the Fill Bucket for the rest.)
  • In Box Seven on the Toolbar choose Mask if you want the selected area to be blocked and Reverse Mask if you want everything except the selected area to be blocked.
  • Left click in the Mask Box at the bottom right-hand corner of the Color Picker/Mask Window (Box Five).
  • Pick another color (doesn't matter what) and the Mask Box will change to the color you picked in Step One, indicating that everything on the canvas that is that exact color is now masked.
  • Pick "Normal" in Box Seven when you are finished using a masked area to return to normal drawing.