Fixative vs Microfiber


I sometimes like to use vine charcoal to make preliminary drawings for paintings or to make corrections of my under-paintings, but one of the benefits of the soft charcoal is also it’s drawback.  It leaves allot of charcoal dust behind that mixes with the paint.  One solution is to use fixative which can have some nasty solvents in them.  I have a better solution that is non toxic (well at least to the end user), use a microfiber cleaning cloth.  If you use the cloth delicately you can remove most of the loose dust while leaving behind a nice charcoal drawing that won’t mix heavily with the next layer.  It works so well in fact that you need to be careful to not overdo it as you can almost completely erase with this method.  I’m also not certain just what effect fixative will have on a painting long term so simply removing excess charcoal seems to be a better solution to me.


Here is the charcoal right after making a correction


Just press lightly against the dust and the cloth picks it up without smudging

Fixative-0816And the result

One further benefit is that the cloth can be rinsed with water, dried and reused over and over.

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