Applying a fixative
Fixative simply 'fixes' soft drawing materials like charcoal, chalks and pastels so that they do not smudge and the finished drawing remains intact as the artist intended; preserving the applied medium on the paper. Fixative, comes as 'Fixative Liquid' or commonly as a can of 'Fixative Spray'.
Fixative in its basic form consists of gums, vinyl resins, or acrylic resins dissolved in alcohol. It is a substance somewhat similar in purpose to lacquer or varnish however only a very thin coat is required and it has a matt finish.
There are two types of fixatives:
Fixative Spray - An alternative to fixative,sometimes used by artists is a can of 'hairspray' as it will essentially achieve the same result.
WARNING! Fixative Spray can be harmful if you breathe it in, do not spray it indoors and wear a face mask at all times. For a more environmentally sound solution, use a non toxic liquid fixative placed inside an atomiser.
Fixative Liquid - In the liquid form fixative opens up various creative techniques. For example; dipping the pastel directly into the fixative liquid, enables thick impasto applications of pastel. Or try applying the fixative with a brush for watercolor like wash effects.
Fixative, can be purchased from any Art Supply Shop.