One thing that is widely debated is whether to spray after a charcoal drawing has been done or not. Some believe that fixative sprays are not good for charcoal drawing while some feel it helps to maintain and preserve the charcoal drawing for a long time. However the reality is that there is no loss of charcoal particles when you use fixative spray over a charcoal drawing, but if you do not know how much is enough it could also destroy your drawing.
Before you use a fixative spray over a drawing, make sure that you clean up the surface of all the loose particles over it with a brush or even softly with your fingers. Don’t be hard and don’t apply too much pressure over the brush. Putting too much pressure on the drawing will smear the drawing, much to your dismay.
Make sure that you place the drawing sheet on a smooth surface and clip the edges of the sheet to prevent it from moving. You could even apply charcoal on a rough sheet and text the fixative spray on it in case it is your first time using it, or it is a new fixative you are using and you want to test it. It is okay if you are testing it more than once, you need to ensure that you know exactly how much of it is enough for the drawing.
Keep These Precautions In Mind When Using Fixative
- When you start spraying the fixative on the drawing surface, make sure you do this in an open space or in a well-ventilated room because the spray is harmful for health and hence it should not be done in a closed space.
- Keep yourself a feet away from it when spraying it.
- Make sure that you are not stingy when applying it, spray continuously until a mist layer forms over the charcoal drawing.
- Ensure you do not make the paper completely wet. There is a difference between a mist layer and a paper being soaked in fixative.
- Don’t touch the paper at least for 30-40 minutes and let the fixative dry on the surface.
- Once it dries up, apply a second coat but this time use lesser than the previous time and let it dry.
Why Should You Not Use Hairspray As A Fixative Over A Charcoal Drawing?
A lot of artist use hairspray as a fixative over their artwork but we do not advice you for it because hairspray tends to form a yellow coat over the drawing or painting, and sometimes it can also cause the paper to become sticky.
Most of the fixative you will find in market will come in two varieties: one is with the gloss finish and the other is in matte finish. So it depends on you what kind of finish do you expect over your charcoal drawing when you decide to use a fixative over it.
Why Fixative Is Important For Charcoal Drawing?
- If you do not use fixative after a charcoal drawing has been completed you are only making the artwork prone to smudging.
- After some months, you will notice that a yellow coat will appear over the drawing if you do not use fixative over it.
- There are chances of removal of the charcoal particles from the drawing, in the absence of fixative coat over it.
Once the fixative is applied you can choose to frame it the way you want and hang it in your workplace, studio or home. However, make sure to hang it away from a place where direct sunlight falls or else it could lead to fading. Proper fixative and framing will ensure that your charcoal drawing will last across generations.