Fixatives are used to preserve charcoal drawings. The fixative solution is applied with a sprayer or an atomiser. It should be applied to the drawing in fine coats to create the desired effect. Fixative is a binder that holds the loose particles of charcoal to the surface of the paper. The most common form of fixatives are diluted solutions of mastic, shellac, or manila copal diluted in alcohol. Nowadays, modern synthetic resins are used. Charcoal that has been previously dipped in linseed oil before use needs no fixing. However, you lose the soft atmospheric quality of the charcoal that is its main characteristic. It is essential to fix your charcoal drawing when you have finished it, otherwise it will remain unstable and liable to get damaged through smudging.
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