Wind Dancer | © 2012 Keelan Rosa | Pencil, 8"x10"

Wind Dancer | © 2012 Keelan Rosa | Pencil, 8″x10″

Are you an artist who loves the fine grey art of pencil drawing? How about an art lover with a few pencil pieces in your collection?

Either way, odds are good you want your pencil art to stay in good condition for a long time to come. Read on to learn how to keep your art as fresh as the day it was framed (as well as a bit on how to do the framing!)

Basics

  • Keep food, drink, and dirty hands away.
  • Avoid paper clips, rubber bands, self-adhesive tape, or glue.
  • Avoid high humidity, extreme heat, and intense light as much as possible. Such environments can damage paper or fade art, so no hanging art in damp basements, over active fireplaces, or in the glare of a bright window.

Framing Pencil Art

Framing art can protect it from a wide number of hazards, and can add some colour to otherwise black-and-white pencil art. For picture-perfect framing, there’s a few things to keep in mind.

  • Glass is best. If framing under plastic, make sure it’s acid-free plastic.
  • Mount the art using (acid-free) mats. Paper can stick to glass if your art is allowed to touch it directly, which can lead to a whole pile of other problems later down the line. Mats are thick enough to put a slight buffer between art and glass, preventing any sticking.0 points

Creating Long-Lasting Pencil Art

  • Use acid-free, archival-quality paper. You should really do this no matter what kind of art you make, at least for the pieces you want to stick around. Newsprint and many other types of paper contain trace amounts of acid which causes them to eventually yellow and crumble. No big deal for those thirty-second life drawing sketches, but you don’t want it happening to something you spent all month on. Acid can also leech out of newsprint and into other papers, so keep any newsprint separate from your archival paper.
  • Spray your art with some sort of protector when finished. Many types of fixative are available to keep graphite from smudging if/when it’s transported or handled, including ‘workable’ fixatives for those projects which might need to be protected before you’re actually done with them. Some brands will protect pencil art from other environmental factors as well.
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