On my you tube channel I’ve made a video about a common question: should you use a fixative for pastel portraits? Let’s explore this in my video.


My Early Days with Fixatives

In the video, I talk about my early art days. I used fixatives for charcoal and graphite, which was great. But when I switched to pastels, I tried using a fixative too. Big mistake! It made the colors dull and the bright details disappear.

Other Artists vs. My Approach

Some artists say you should use a fixative. I don’t agree, and I explain why in the video. You don’t always need to do what others say. It also depends a lot on the material, the paper you are using.



A Story About Picture Framers and Fixatives

I share a story about a lady from Vienna who had a bad experience with a framer using a fixative on her portrait. It ruined the artwork. She asked for my help, but I couldn’t fix it because every artist’s work is different.


My Personal Approach to Fixing Pastel Portraits

Do I use a fixative? No. I tell you in the video that if you use good pastel paper like Pastelmat, your work will stick just fine. Just handle it carefully and frame it behind glass.



A Word of Caution About Hairspray

In the video, I warn against using hairspray as a fixative. It can make your portraits yellow. If you really need a fixative, pick a good one made for pastels.


When to Use Fixative Exceptionally

There’s one time I say it’s okay to use a fixative: when your paper gets too much pastel and you can’t add more layers. If you paper is saturated and you would like to draw another layer over it. A thin layer of fixative can help you keep going.


Final Thoughts

I wrap up the video by saying this is my way of doing things with pastels. It works for me, but it’s not the only way. I invite you to watch the full video for more tips and to join the waitlist for my membership Animal Art Club.

ANIMAL ART CLUB – A PLACE WHERE ARTISTS COME TOGETHER! Learn step by step, how to draw realistic animal portraits, refine your drawing skills, come into this amazing community of fellow animal artists to draw your art, share your art, get inspiration, and receive feedback. ➡️ Join here the WAITLIST.