Fixative for pastels? - The Horse Forum
LinkBack Thread Tools
post #1 of 6 Old 12-27-2011, 06:00 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: Newark, notts, England
Posts: 249
• Horses: 0
Fixative for pastels?

I use pastels often and I have never used a fixative for them before, but sometimes people tell me I should use it to stop it smudging. Now that I am going to be trying to sell some of my artwork I am considering it even more as I would not like my drawings to get smudged in the post.

However I have heard that they can sometimes dull the picture and I was wandering, is this true?

I don't want people to revive smudged pictures, but I also don't want to ruin them.
vergo97 is offline  
Sponsored Links
post #2 of 6 Old 12-27-2011, 10:36 PM
Join Date: Jun 2009
Location: Napa, CA
Posts: 658
• Horses: 0
This is the very reason why I have all but given up on pastels. I assume these are soft pastels you are talking about?

I know Kayty is more of pastel expert than I am and she warned me and other artists in here against using fixatives for soft pastels, but I decided to try one out anyway. It was a practice piece, so I had nothing to lose. I bought a fixative spray that specified use for soft pastels and it just ruined the entire piece. It did more than just dull the drawing. It's like several layers were just pulled off the paper.

Based on my experience, fixatives ruin a pastel drawing. The smudging and special care needed to ship/frame my pastel drawings was almost equally as frustrating, so I have since put away my pastels for other mediums. Good luck with your drawings. Kayty and lilruffian seem to have mastered the art of pastels. Perhaps they can chime in here.
Equusketch is offline  
post #3 of 6 Old 12-28-2011, 01:45 AM
Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: Australia
Posts: 8,175
• Horses: 3
Had to take a few deep breaths, many memories of ruined commissions, after hours upon hours of work, destroyed by the seemingly simple act of spraying them with a fixative :O

Ok, firstly, what type of paper are you working on? A well toothed paper will hold the pastel pigment quite solidly and you'll find that they don't smudge too badly. I will occasionally spray a very thin coat of fixative in the bottom layers of my portraits to hold them a little more firmly, but never on the top few layers.

Fixatives tend to dull and tarnish a pastel painting, as Equusketch found out (told you so :P ), it tends to make the pigment bind together and look like layers of pastel have come off the paper. Not a good look, and **** near impossible to fix (I've been there... ended up mixing acrylic paint with a little sand, painting over the tarnished area, waiting for it to dry then going back over with pastel. That was the best I could do to fix it)

As for postage (and I work on velour which makes it about a thousand times more fiddly to post than standard toothed papers), I fix my work to a thick piece of plastic coated cardboard with masking tape around the edges. I then stretch a piece of baking/greaseproof paper tightly over the drawing, and secure it firmly to the backing board. Then another layer of cardboard, sealed very firmly to the backing layer. A layer of bubble wrap, and then sandwich that between two sheets of coreflute or cardboard.

The only time I've had a drawing arrive smudged from the post, was a local drawing when I thought I'd do a 'test' run to a friend and sent it with only 2 sheets of cardboard and it got bent in the post.

~Horse & Hound Artistry~.

Kayty is offline  
post #4 of 6 Old 12-28-2011, 10:19 AM
Join Date: Nov 2011
Location: USA
Posts: 14
• Horses: 0's gotten to the point where I've pretty much given up on using soft pastels because of the hassle. They can be tough to control, especially when selling them to someone else and having to mail pastel pieces.

I've switched over to colored pencils (for colored pieces) exclusively because it is so much easier compared to dealing with bulky fixatives.

"Ah, you know my weaknesses--my children and my horses." - Ulysses S. Grant
stylemichelle21 is offline  
post #5 of 6 Old 12-28-2011, 04:22 PM
Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: Australia
Posts: 8,175
• Horses: 3
As I said, no need to deal with fixatives. Just handle them with care. I don't have any problems with them smudging now. The more you use pastels and learn to respect them, the less problem you will have :)

~Horse & Hound Artistry~.

Kayty is offline  
post #6 of 6 Old 12-30-2011, 01:18 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: Newark, notts, England
Posts: 249
• Horses: 0
The paper I use is quite good quality so its doesn't smudge too bad. I won't be using fixative then, and I'll wrap up the pictures very carefully!
vergo97 is offline  

Quick Reply

Register Now

In order to be able to post messages on the The Horse Forum forums, you must first register.

Already have a Horse Forum account?
Members are allowed only one account per person at the Horse Forum, so if you've made an account here in the past you'll need to continue using that account. Please do not create a new account or you may lose access to the Horse Forum. If you need help recovering your existing account, please Contact Us. We'll be glad to help!

New to the Horse Forum?
Please choose a username you will be satisfied with using for the duration of your membership at the Horse Forum. We do not change members' usernames upon request because that would make it difficult for everyone to keep track of who is who on the forum. For that reason, please do not incorporate your horse's name into your username so that you are not stuck with a username related to a horse you may no longer have some day, or use any other username you may no longer identify with or care for in the future.

User Name:
Please enter a password for your user account. Note that passwords are case-sensitive.


Confirm Password:
Email Address
Please enter a valid email address for yourself.

Email Address:


Human Verification

In order to verify that you are a human and not a spam bot, please enter the answer into the following box below based on the instructions contained in the graphic.

Old Thread Warning
This thread is more than 90 days old. When a thread is this old, it is often better to start a new thread rather than post to it. However, If you feel you have something of value to add to this particular thread, you can do so by checking the box below before submitting your post.

Thread Tools
Show Printable Version Show Printable Version
Email this Page Email this Page

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Pastels: so fun but SO messy! Ink Horse Artwork 16 09-26-2011 03:21 AM
Grey mare - pastels on velour paper HorseArtist Horse Artwork 10 05-16-2009 10:05 AM

Posting Rules  
You may post new threads
You may post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On

For the best viewing experience please update your browser to Google Chrome