Getting drawings and pastels ready to frame

You created a drawing or Pastel image and want to frame it, but you need to be careful because it can smudge SO EASILY.

Artists who draw and use pastels a lot soon learn there are effective ways to prevent this happening. For those of you new to the medium. Here are a few tips.

  1. Keep your hands off – One slip and it’s smudged, some use a piece of paper on the drawn surface to keep things from moving about too much. Others seal the surface in sections with fixative spray, some of these can allow extra work to happen afterwards, but seals the existing image. Some artists even create a low ‘bridge’, which sits over the drawing and keeps their hands off the surface.

  2. Handle it less – A drawing that gets shuffled about in a folio can smudge too, also be aware that taking it out to show people may present more chances of it getting damaged.

  3. A light covering – A sheet of jewellers tissue interleaved between drawings can assist in minimising damage.

  4. Seal it well – Fixative sprays can help to hold the pigment and graphite particles in place, No fixative? Try hairspray it’s the same thing generally, but with a perfume. Chat to your art store about ways to seal the works, perhaps a few layers of fixative spray will need to be applied

  5. Keep it flat – If you roll up a drawn piece you run the risk of more damage, consider a flat folio to keep it pristine

  6. Let us know – If it is delicate and MAY smudge, let us know BEFORE you open the folio. We get many prints that look like drawings and it can be so easy to handle them the same, not a good idea… Tell us so we know to be even more careful than usual

Now that you have handled it safely, and bought it over to show us, we will advise on some of the ways it could be framed. The framing method used should ideally be reversible for original artworks and we use specialist framing tapes and we can use conservation methods where required. Your friendly professional picture framer should be able to tell you exactly how it will be framed and the care they can put in to ensure the work remains pristine.

The Picture Framing Shak team have access to a wide range of materials and process knowledge to keep the work protected for a long time. Ask them about our 99% uv protective glass options for special items which may risk being discoloured or fading in the light.

Steve Gray

The Picture Framing Shak

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