How to Preserve Graphite Drawings

To Spray or Not to Spray….. this is the question.

You have just worked hours on a graphite drawing and cleaned up all the smudges around the drawing, HOW DO YOU KEEP IT CLEAN? This is a very tricky question, but I will give you some options.

If you are going to Spray a FIXATIVE onto your drawings here are a few things you should know:

  • Use a Workable Fixative like Krylon. “Workable” means you can add layers of graphite over the drawing after it has been sprayed.
  • Once a drawing has been sprayed, the graphite underneath will NOT erase. It is FIXED!
  • Use proper ventilation. Fixatives STINK and are a potential hazard to your health. (I spray outside.)
  • Shake the can before spraying and test on a scrap piece of paper away from your drawing. Sometimes the nozzle is clogged and it SPITS! You don’t want this on your drawing!!!!
  • Directions on the can say to spray 8 to 10 inches from drawing……. SPRAY 12 to 15 inches from drawing. Make sure it is on a flat surface and not windy.
  • Lightly spray first coat horizontally. Let dry for 15 minutes. Make sure the layer is even and smooth.
  • Lighthly spray second coat vertically. Let dry for 15minutes. Make sure the layer is even and smooth.
  • Subsequent layers may be added in alternating directions if needed.
  • Know that your entire drawing will become DARKER once you have sprayed it and it will NOT lighten up when the fixative dries. It will stay darker.

Follows these rules for working with Fixative and you should not have any problems using it.
Looking to purchase Krylon Fixative? Click on the can and it will take you to Amazon.com

Don’t want to use a Fixative? Here are a few tips on how preserve your drawings.

I rip my drawings out of the drawing pad and either place a piece of tracing vellum or glassine over the drawing with reposition able artists’ tape at the top and the bottom of the drawing. The 2 pieces of tape should be long enough to prevent the tracing vellum or glassine from shifting back and forth. If you only place it on one end the paper may rub back and for the smearing the drawing. I then have a 6 drawing flat file where I keep my drawings. You can also purchase portfolio boxes to store your drawings in the event you don’t have the room or the budget for the flat file.

How do you preserve your graphite drawings??? Leave a comment and let us know.