I am trying to do mixed media painting like in this video by David Finch:


The problem I have is that after I apply fixative and let it dry, I can't apply any more prismacolor. It doesn't stick.

I use matte art fixative from a can instead of an airbrush. I have tried adding several layers, but it doesn't help. Any ideas?

  • 1
    What fixative are you using?
    – Allison C
    Nov 28, 2023 at 22:34
  • The fixative should be solvent-based and not water-based. Could that be the problem?
    – Joachim
    Nov 29, 2023 at 12:32
  • Sennelier fixative for pencils and charcoal.
    – Rye bread
    Dec 3, 2023 at 17:13
  • 1
    So... any luck?
    – rebusB
    Dec 13, 2023 at 15:36
  • I started on a new piece with the same process. It's mainly the light colors that are a problem.
    – Rye bread
    Dec 14, 2023 at 8:27

1 Answer 1


Instead of matte fixative try using workable fixative. It should seal the underlayers while preserving the tooth of the paper so you can keep working. Keep in mind once a layer gets fixed it is "permanent" in that you cannot erase it, the fixative is not that workable.

The waxiness of the Prismacolors may be working against you. Depending on how solid you are making the color it may be that the build up of the color material is preventing further color from adhering and its not the fixative at all.

  • I looked at the video in the link and the artist uses ink/acrylic to lay the base colors of the face etc. If you are using colored pencils instead of liquid pigments to lay that base color you will only have a waxy slick surface to work on. That simply will not grab any more waxy colored pencil material. The same thing can happen with pastels, once you reach a certain "thickness" of the pastel material on the ground any more pastel will just slide over it and pastels are typically much softer (ie giving of pigment) than colored pencils.
    – rebusB
    Nov 30, 2023 at 16:21
  • If I put enough fixative on, I can continue drawing with prismacolor. But it is not like in the video where he uses the white pencil and gets an opaque white highlight. For me, it just lightens it a bit.
    – Rye bread
    Dec 1, 2023 at 11:24
  • He also is using paint pens for some of those highlights but either way Prismacolor on solid Prismacolor is going to be a problem.
    – rebusB
    Dec 1, 2023 at 16:25
  • The fixative may be adding enough tooth/friction to the surface to grab a little more of the pencil pigment but not enough to match the paper without any coloring.
    – rebusB
    Dec 6, 2023 at 17:53

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