I'm doing lots of experiments right now with acrylic paint. I'm getting ready to paint large canvases -- great for homes, offices and waiting rooms. My studio is vibrating with excitement!
Tested Krylon, Lascaux and Caran d'Ache fixatives
Tested three fixatives to use under Liquitex acrylic matte medium, so I can paint with acrylic over charcoal and Conte crayon drawings. To cut to the chase: Lascaux Fixativ is the clear winner, compared with Caran d'Ache Fixativ, and Krylon UV Archival Varnish.
Krylon Fine Art Fixativ would have been a better choice in that brand, but I didn't have it on hand. I'd like to try the Sennelier fixative for charcoal and soft pastels, too. Later! Meanwhile, the Lascaux Fixativ works very well under acrylic medium. It fixes pastel pencil, colored pencil, watercolor pencil, charcoal and Conte crayon so that applying matte medium doesn't smear the drawings.
How I tested the three fixatives
In addition to some scribbles with General compressed charcoal and 4B black Conte crayon, I used colored pencil (Prismacolor and Luminance), watercolor pencil, and Conte pastel pencil. I applied each medium to:
- watercolor paper,
- archival Multimedia Artboard,
- Pastel Artist Panels by the same company, and
- cheap canvas board (which I discovered I really dislike and will never use!)
I also used the Lascaux to spray two drawings on paper that I had finished recently: a charcoal drawing on regular Strathmore charcoal paper, plus a Conte crayon drawing on Canson sketch paper. I applied the fixative pretty heavily, but only one coat. The Lascaux did "fix" them quite a bit -- so they're not as dusty -- but a light wipe with a fingertip still shows they will smudge. It will take at least another coat or two to keep the charcoal and Conte crayon from any smudging at all.
Impressions of the 3 fixatives
While spraying, I liked the way the Caran d'Ache fixative went on. It seemed very light and smooth. It didn't gray the Conte crayon or charcoal either. It didn't fix them, however; both smeared a lot when I applied matte medium over them. The pastel pencil also smeared. The Caran d'Ache fixative did work all right to keep the colored pencil and watercolor pencil from smearing, though.
The Krylon certainly covered well -- but blasted dust from the pastel, charcoal and Conte crayon onto adjoining white spaces. It wouldn't necessarily be a deal breaker, depending on what I wanted to do with the acrylic paint later. But the Krylon also grayed the black charcoal and Conte crayon more than did the Lascaux. (The Caran d'Ache fixative didn't gray them either, but didn't keep them from smearing.)
I couldn't see any difference among the three fixatives, in changing the color of the red Conte pastel pencil I used under them. The color looked fine under all three.
Summary: Lascaux Fixatif is worth its price
It works really well to keep pastel, charcoal or Conte crayon from smearing when you apply matte medium over them. For fixing colored pencil and watercolor pencil, though, Caran d'Ache fixative also works fine.
Have you used any other fixatives over drawing media, to keep the drawings from smearing under acrylic medium? Your comments are always welcome here.