Protect Your Work (the first line of defense)

Posted on May 24, 2020 in art tips
Protect Your Work (the first line of defense)

The one thing that many artists overlook is the fact that it is EXTREMELY important to protect your work… the first line of defense. And I don’t mean copyright or watermarking. One weekend, you just need to set a little time aside and spray fix everything. But be sure to find a fixative that is compatible with delicate works like watercolor, tempera, pastels,charcoal or pencils.

What you need to properly protect your work.

    1. Spray Fixative – Be sure that it is c for delicate media like watercolor, pastels, pencils, tempera and charcoal.
    2. Respirator –ย  Remember, you are working withย aerosolized chemicals. You MUST use a proper ventilator to protect yourself from long term ling damage. Reference image 1.
    3. Eye protection – Goggles are the optimal choice. However, it was really sunny out. I used sunglasses.
    4. Big cardboard box or a large roll of paper – This will be the surface you will be laying your work down to pray on


If it doesn’t specifically say that it is a fixative FOR whatever you specifically need it for, watercolor, pastels, tempera, etc… DON’T BUY IT!

You may need to spend a couple more bucks on the media specific fixative, but it is worth it. Ifย  you’ve worked so hard on a piece that you want to protect it so it can be viewed and admired for as long as possible, then go all in and buy the good stuff. Don’t take a chance.

Protect - Bill Schiffbauer - Multidisciplinary Artist and Illustrator - The Sexiest Man In Milan

Respirator and Eye Protection

If you don’t have a spray booth, as most people don’t, take things outside. If you have multiple drawings, be sure to find somewhere with a lot of space so you can lay everything out so they can properly dry. Even though you are outside, you MUST use a respirator and possibly eye protection.

Protect - Bill Schiffbauer

In my opinion, eye protection is optional. It was really sunny that day so I only used sunglasses. But please, for the love of Art…DO NOT SPRAY WITHOUT A MASK! I’ve learned this the hard way. It may not seem like a problem for the first two or three sprays, but you will definitely feel it on the fourth and fifth and for a few days after that. And all you will think about for the next week is how you can’t breath and probably gave yourself lung cancer and woulda coulda shoulda, blah blah blah…
But don’t buy the paper 20 pack-o-masks… INVEST IN A GOOD RESPIRATOR!

Big cardboard box or a large roll of paper

You don’t need a big fancy table to spray on. You just need a “clean” surface and an open area that is free or far enough away from dust or dirt.

Protect - Bill Schiffbauer

You can use a big roll of paper like the ones you can buy in the kids section at IKEA, or a big old cardboard box. It really depends on the size of your art piece.

As you can see, I worked on a cardboard box on a pre-swept concrete surface where dust isn’t easily kicked around. The last thing you want to happen is to have a speck of dirt or some other foreign object that floated in and got stuck or dried into your final piece. ESPECIALLY if it’s a commissioned piece. Well, it would suck either way. ๐Ÿ˜€

Protect - Bill Schiffbauer

Then you need a clean, out of the sun place, for them to dry. Like a bench…

Protect - Bill Schiffbauer - The Sexiest Man in Milan

…or nice table clothed table. Look how happy I am. Look at that award winning smile. Thumbs up. Happy Billy.

Final Thoughts

Remember,ย  just one drop of water could ruin HOURS…๐——๐—”๐—ฌ๐—ฆ of work. I’ve learned this the hard way… a couple times. Trust me.

Don’t be a jerk, protect your work. ๐Ÿ˜‚


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