View Full Version : How to preserve your sketch before painting?

05-19-2011, 09:19 PM
When I draw out my sketch on my canvas (or whatever) then start to paint, it can smear or dirty the paint unpleasantly. I read somewhere (here?) to put a light coat of gesso over it before painting, which worked alright once. Once! :rolleyes:
This painting I'm on now I've had to re-do the drawing completely because the gesso just washed the drawing off! And it wasn't exactly lightly drawn, because I wanted to make sure it showed sufficiently through the gesso.

I decided to experiment with some workable fixative for pencil drawings, which left a sheen I'm not thrilled with, and, naturally, the paint is not adhering as I'd like. Grr.

What have others worked out to keep the drawing safe and separate from the paint?

Thanks in advance!

05-19-2011, 09:28 PM
I draw over the lines with a amall brush and light, thinned paint--acrylic, of course. I let it dry, and then paint over it. Nothing moves.

05-19-2011, 09:47 PM
Well, that makes sense. I think I've done that in the past.
I've started my underpainting, but now that paint is brushing off. :P I've just tried washing over it with a thin coat of varnish. I wonder what will happen! LOL Luckily, this is a small painting, and I can start over yet again without too much grief.

05-19-2011, 09:47 PM
Oh, and I meant to say THANKS for the reply! :)

05-19-2011, 10:40 PM
I use simple hairspray, it's quick and easy....and even smells good ;-)
Works perfectly! Try it!

05-19-2011, 11:14 PM
Really, Aari? It doesn't flake or rub off?
Being a very un-girly girl, I have no such thing in the house. ;) But I'll remember that in case I have to break down and go get some.

05-19-2011, 11:43 PM
Yep, it really works! And you don't have to touch anything because you spray over your work. Just don't overdo it, a simple spray all over is enough. It's dry in 15 seconds...just perfect!
Your welcome Xan!

Use Her Name
05-20-2011, 12:00 AM
They have clear gesso, you know. It's basically animal hide glue.

05-20-2011, 06:07 AM
I have used Golden glazing medium to "fix" a graphite drawing prior to painting. Depending on the type of pencil used for the drawing there can be some smearing when the glazing medium is applied but this does not interfere with the paint application.

05-20-2011, 06:19 AM
Try a thin coat of Yellow Ochre (or other light colour) as an undercoat, dilute enough to let the pencil drawing be seen.
Many artists do not paint straight onto a white ground but use an undercoat similar to this.

05-20-2011, 07:47 AM
Use watercolor pencils, but stay away from reds. They don't smudge.

05-20-2011, 08:11 AM
Hi Xan,

One way is to cover the drawing completely in gesso then after it dries, sand the gesso down until the drawing starts to reappear.

05-20-2011, 01:08 PM
Wow! These are all good ideas. Thanks, everyone. :)

It stands to reason that there will be as many favorite ways to do this as there are artists. ;)

05-20-2011, 02:10 PM
Does it matter what kind of hair spray? Is there any kind not to use? Can you do this with oil paintings, too?

05-20-2011, 02:50 PM
I draw in only with the watered down paint and don't use pencil. You can "erase" with water while it's still wet. It's so watery at this point that it stays wet pretty long too

This is the way we learned in my college art classes and I always liked the feel of using the paint in strokes from the beginning. It feels to me like using vine charcoal

05-20-2011, 03:11 PM
Hair spray works for both, it doesn't matter oil or acrylics.

05-20-2011, 05:22 PM
Another option is to dilute acrylic medium and spray it on the drawing. A simple Preval Sprayer is a good choice and inexpensive.

05-20-2011, 05:26 PM
I expect a spray approach would disturb the drawing the least, also.