How to preserve a pencil drawing

There are several tried-and-true methods for how to preserve a pencil drawings and keep them looking as stunning as the day you finished them.

Preserving a pencil drawing can be a tricky task, as the medium itself is known to smudge easily.

Let's answer the question, “How to you preserve a pencil drawing?”:

Short answer: The best way to preserve a pencil drawing is by either storying your drawing flat with parchment paper or using a fixative specifically made for artwork.

Also check out my guide on how to store drawings.

There are several methods, each with its own unique benefits. From using fixative spray to storing your drawings flat with interleaving paper, there are many ways to ensure that your art remains in pristine condition.

Let's dive into the world of pencil drawing preservation and discover how you can protect your artistic masterpieces!

Key points

  • Using fixative spray: Fixative spray is essential for preserving the integrity of pencil drawings by preventing smudging and graphite transfer. It comes in workable and final varieties, allowing artists to either continue working on their drawings with additional layers or to seal their work permanently. When applying, ensure you use light coats and work in a well-ventilated area to achieve the best protection without altering the artwork's appearance.
  • Parchment paper protection: Placing parchment paper over pencil drawings is a simple yet effective method to protect them from dirt, dust, and accidental smudging. This method is especially beneficial for artists looking to store or transport their artwork, as it provides a barrier that keeps the drawing clean without affecting the paper's texture or the graphite's quality.
  • Storing drawings flat: Keeping pencil drawings flat is crucial to avoid damage like curling or wrinkling, which can detract from the artwork's visual appeal and potentially ruin its integrity. Using acid-free folders or portfolios for storage not only helps maintain flatness but also prevents chemical reactions that could discolor or degrade the artwork over time.

Using Parchment Paper and Keeping Drawings Flat

The Magic of Parchment Paper

Picture this: you've spent hours perfecting your pencil drawing, and you're finally ready to put it on display.

But wait!

How do you protect your beautiful creation from dirt, dust, and smudging?

Enter parchment paper!

This translucent, wax-coated paper is a game-changer for preserving pencil drawings. With its slick surface, parchment paper helps prevent smudging and transfer of graphite, keeping your drawings looking pristine for years to come.

How to Use Parchment Paper to Preserve Pencil Drawings

So, how do you use this magical paper to protect your drawings?

It's simple! Just place a sheet of parchment paper on top of your pencil drawing.

This will help keep your drawing clean and prevent it from rubbing off onto other surfaces or materials.

You can also sandwich your drawing between two sheets of parchment paper for even more protection.

This is especially useful if you need to transport your drawing or store it in a binder or portfolio.

Tips for Using Parchment Paper Effectively

To make sure you're getting the most out of your parchment paper, there are a few tips and tricks you should keep in mind.

First of all, make sure to use acid-free parchment paper to prevent any chemical reactions or discoloration over time. When placing the parchment paper over your drawing, make sure to secure it in place with masking tape or clips. This will prevent the paper from moving or shifting, which can cause smudging or transfer of graphite.

If you're sandwiching your drawing between two sheets of parchment paper, make sure to secure the edges with masking tape or binder clips to keep the papers in place.

Using Parchment Paper and Keeping Drawings Flat

The Importance of Keeping Drawings Flat

You've spent countless hours perfecting your pencil drawing, and the last thing you want is for it to get damaged or ruined.

That's why it's so important to keep your drawings flat! Storing your drawings vertically can cause the corners to curl or roll, which can lead to creases or tears in the paper. Storing them flat also helps prevent the paper from becoming wrinkled or warped over time.

Plus, if you plan to frame your drawing or display it in any way, keeping it flat will ensure that it looks its best.

How to Keep Drawings Flat

Keeping your drawings flat is easy!

The key is to store them in a dry, cool place that is free from any moisture or humidity.

You can use a drawing board or piece of cardboard as a flat surface to store your drawings.

If you need to transport your drawings, make sure to use a rigid, flat surface to prevent any bending or warping of the paper during transportation.

Tips for Keeping Drawings Flat Effectively

To make sure your drawings stay flat and protected, there are a few tips you should keep in mind.

First, use acid-free folders or portfolios to store your drawings. This will help prevent any chemical reactions or discoloration over time.

If you're storing your drawings in a portfolio, make sure to place a piece of acid-free paper between each drawing to prevent them from sticking together.

Finally, if you're hanging your drawing up, make sure to use an acid-free mat board and UV-protective glass to prevent fading or damage from sunlight.

Using Fixative Spray to Protect Your Pencil Drawings

The Magic of Fixative Spray

Fixative spray is a game-changer for protecting your pencil drawings!

This spray product helps to prevent graphite from moving and staining on contact with skin or other surfaces, and it can even protect your work from sunlight when it's hung up.

Plus, you can choose from matte or shiny finishes of fixative, depending on your needs and preferences.

The particles in graphite are smooth and flat, which makes them easy to move around on the surface of the paper. This is good when an you want to use smudging techniques, but not so great when trying to preserve your pencil drawing.

Fixatives act as a barrier between the graphite and the surface of the paper so that shifting cannot happen.

A few things to consider when choosing a fixative spray: type and intended use.

Yes, there are two types of fixatives to preserving a drawing.

There are workable fixatives for when a drawing is still in progress and final fixatives for after the completion of a drawing.

Workable Fixatives

Workable fixatives are usually less dense than final fixatives, and they don't have a glossy finish.

By providing a matte surface, workable fixatives let artists keep adding medium to their drawings. This can be beneficial in several ways.

Fixative gives artists the ability to create more detailed and complex drawings by providing a new surface area on which they can deposit graphite.

By having a base layer, your shading will appear neater.

Graphite does not naturally go onto paper in one fluid line–if you take a close look at any pencil drawing, you can see where the graphite flakes have not hit the surface of the paper.

However, if there is another layer underneath though, it gets rid of these gaps.

You don't need to use fixative spray all over your drawing. You can just use it on the part you are working on. This will help you avoid smudging your drawing.

Final Fixatives

After you finish making all the additions and changes to your drawing that you want, the final step is using a final fixative.

These eliminate any smudging or erasing unwanted lines from your drawing.

You can get them in either matte or glossy finishes, depending on your preferences.

How to Apply Fixative Spray

Applying fixative spray is easy, but it's important to do it right to get the best results.

First, make sure you use fixative spray in an outside space or a well-ventilated area.

Hold the spray can about 30 cm away from the drawing, and spray in light coats.

You can place your drawing either vertically upright or flat, depending on your preference.

Start by spraying horizontally in one direction, then in the opposite direction, to ensure an even coat.

Let the spray dry, then apply two more layers, following the same process.

Tips for Using Fixative Spray Effectively

To make sure you're getting the most out of your fixative spray, there are a few tips and tricks you should keep in mind.

First of all, make sure to use fixative spray sparingly, as too much can cause the graphite to become shiny or discolored.

It's also important to hold the spray can at a consistent distance from the drawing to ensure an even coat.

If you're using fixative spray on a drawing that has multiple layers, make sure to spray each layer separately to prevent smudging or transfer of graphite.

Finally, make sure to store your fixative spray in a cool, dry place to prevent it from evaporating or losing its effectiveness.

What are some other options for sealing a pencil drawing?

When it comes to sealing pencil drawings, you have a few options. You can use fixative spray, clear acrylic spray, or a clear varnish or coating to create a protective layer over the drawing and prevent smudging or transfer of graphite.

Is hairspray an effective way to seal pencil drawings?

Hairspray is not the best option for sealing pencil drawings, as it can cause the graphite to become shiny or discolored. Instead, it's better to use fixative spray or clear acrylic spray to seal your pencil drawings.

How can I prevent smudging on my pencil drawings?

To prevent smudging on your pencil drawings, you can use a sheet of parchment paper or glassine paper to cover the drawing and prevent smudging. Fixative spray or clear acrylic spray can also help create a protective layer over the drawing and prevent smudging or transfer of graphite.

What's the best way to seal a pencil drawing on wood?

To seal a pencil drawing on wood, you can use a clear acrylic spray or clear varnish to create a protective layer over the drawing. You can also use a sealer or primer to prepare the wood surface before applying the drawing.

Can you apply varnish to a pencil drawing?

Yes, you can apply varnish to a pencil drawing to create a protective layer and add a glossy or matte finish. Just make sure to use a clear varnish that is designed for use with artwork.