Best Fixatives For Pastels: Top Brands Compared & Reviewed In 2022

Michael Daly
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Paintings are made up of tiny pigment particles that hold together well. As soon as you begin taking your paintings from the studio to your home, changes in humidity causes these tiny particles to stick together and lift off unless your paintings are protected with fixatives.

Your paintings won’t last long without fixatives.

But there’s a lot more you need to know about fixatives before you use it. For instance, different types of fixatives work best for different types of mediums, and what’s best on a painting may not be suitable for another type of art medium.

We’ll take a closer look at the most common fixatives for pastels: casein and copal.

NameCategoryProduct
Winsor & Newton Artists' Aerosols Workable FixativeBest OverallWinsor & Newton Artists' Aerosols Workable Fixative
Krylon K01306 Workable Fixatif Spray ClearBudget PickKrylon K01306 Workable Fixatif Spray Clear
SpectraFix SFX-31270 12 oz Fixative SprayUpgrade PickSpectraFix SFX-31270 12 oz Fixative Spray

1. Winsor & Newton Artists' Aerosols Workable Fixative

Our rating: 9 / 10

Winsor & Newton Artists' Aerosols Workable Fixative

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Pros:

  • Great for different artistic applications
  • Colorless fixative
  • Protects for smudging and dust
  • Longer shelf life

Cons:

  • Might leave a small white haze after use
  • Strong smelling fumes
  • It may cause the paint to bleed

Winsor & Newton offers an aerosol-based workable fixative from its Artisan range. The 400ml unit ships with an easy-to-use sprayer. Use this fixative with non-water-soluble media like charcoal, pastels, and chalks. It makes them permanent and also more durable when exposed to light, moisture, and heat.

The product allows you to fix different art mediums according to the demands of your drawings and art pieces.

2. Krylon K01306 Workable Fixatif Spray Clear

Our rating: 8 / 10

Krylon K01306 Workable Fixatif Spray Clear

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Pros:

  • Simple, clean paint-fixing spray
  • Protects computer prints, pencil, pastel, and chalk drawings
  • Prevents smudging and wrinkling
  • Acid-free and archival safe
  • Clear, durable finish
  • Erase through the coating to rework artwork
  • Non-yellowing
  • Non-wrinkling
  • Dry to touch in 30 minutes.

Cons:

  • Some people reported it to splatter on the painting
  • It may cause chipping
  • It may not work for chalk drawing

If you need a fast-drying fixative for your acrylics and oil paintings, this is a great option. The spray is easy to use and doesn’t require any cleaning up afterward.

Reworkable clear finish prevents smudging of soft art materials like pencil, pastel, chalk, charcoal, conte crayon and india ink. Erase through coating to rework artwork.

For use on: Wood, Metal, Plastic, Paper Mache, Glass, Plaster, Ceramic, Dried Silk Flowers, Paper, Wicker.

3. SpectraFix SFX-31270 12 oz Fixative Spray

Our rating: 8 / 10

SpectraFix SFX-31270 12 oz Fixative Spray

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Pros:

  • Simple, clean paint-fixing spray
  • Ballpoint pen and marker don't bleed
  • Fixative for pastel and charcoal that smear
  • Great results for acrylic painting on canvas

Cons:

  • Not fit for watercolor painting
  • It may warp the paper
  • Doesn't work on charcoal

SpectraFix fixative is a spray pump that uses a fine mist finger sprayer. It protects acrylic painting on canvas, and even the markers don't bleed with it. SpectraFix Non-toxic Fixative is made with casein, water and alcohol and is based on an antique recipe used by French Impressionist painter, Edgar Degas. It seals and protects your artwork while leaving your colors brilliant, and best of all.. there are no toxic fumes or odors! Spray indoors and keep right on working at your easel without concern. Perfect for chemically-sensitive people.

4. Sennelier Latour Spray Fixative, Clear

Our rating: 8 / 10

Sennelier Latour Spray Fixative, Clear

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Pros:

  • Clear fixative
  • Made from a resin and alcohol base
  • To be sprayed lightly
  • Forms a matt film
  • Workable fixation
  • Works on pencil, charcoal, and pastels

Cons:

  • Not very effective, painting may smudge even after spraying
  • Unable to seal soft pastel artwork

Sennelier Latour Spray Fixative is suitable for layering with soft pastels or protecting finished work. This LATOUR Fixative keeps your drawings crisp and smudge-free. It creates a truly transparent and matt film for soft pastels. A clear fixative made from a resin and alcohol base. oTo be sprayed lightly and repeatedly, if necessary.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What is the best brand of pastels?

For centuries, pastels have remained a popular medium. They are relatively inexpensive and allow for a wide range of variations. If you are looking to invest in a set of pastels, take the time to read about the different brands and the best fixatives.

The best fixative for pastels is either alcohol or fixative spray. Alcohol is the most commonly used fixative for pastels and is considered the ideal fixative for them, although alcohol can be a little harsh and might fade the pastels. Spray fixatives are another option, and they work well if you want the pastels to last a little longer and keep the bright colors.

What is the best fixative for pastels?

All the fixatives reviewed here perform to a high standard. Each gives the artwork a wonderful gloss and a firm feel. Not all fixatives are made equal, however, and so you should consider factors like whether you want to work with archival or not, how long you want the work to last, and how much you want it to cost.

The three archival fixatives that we recommend the most are: Lyons fixative, Crystalac, and Silicoil. Other archival fixatives include Transfix and Mod Podge. A different fixative to consider is Andrew Price Fixative.

What is the best brand of pastel pencils?

While deciding what brand of pastel pencils you fancy, you need to keep in mind a number of factors like if you need a set or individual refills, how often you will be using your new set for, and which brand suits you best.

There are a number of top brands in the market to choose from, some being a top-seller on Amazon and some being more known for their quality than anything else.

Should you use fixative on pastel?

There are two main schools of thought concerning fixative pastel. On one hand, you have some who feel that fixing pastel artworks in any way will obliterate or even destroy their heart & soul. Fixative, they say, makes pastels hard to appreciate. Their art can be appreciated by others to some extent, but not as much as if it’s not fixed.

On the other hand, you have the tag majority of artists who feel that there is nothing wrong in using fixative on pastel artwork. For them, fixatives can very well help preserve their precious works of art, and they take great care when applying it. Many even profess that fixative complement the total look of the artwork rather than become a distraction to it. If done properly, they say, pastel artworks viewed under the right lighting set up, with the right background color, can look like they come alive!

Conclusion

Fixatives are used to fix pastel drawings onto various media. This provides extra protection and ensures a long-lasting artistic piece. Pastel works are not completely waterproof, so you will need to use fixatives if you plan to frame and hang them on your wall.

But wait, how many fixative brands are there? Which one should you choose?

In this article, we will cover the most renowned fixatives in the market. We will also give you a few tips on how to effectively use the product to protect your pastel works.

Our Recommendation

NameCategoryProduct
Winsor & Newton Artists' Aerosols Workable FixativeBest OverallWinsor & Newton Artists' Aerosols Workable Fixative
Krylon K01306 Workable Fixatif Spray ClearBudget PickKrylon K01306 Workable Fixatif Spray Clear
SpectraFix SFX-31270 12 oz Fixative SprayUpgrade PickSpectraFix SFX-31270 12 oz Fixative Spray