I bought pieces of comics that are drawn with pencil, and I’m afraid that they get blurred. How can I preserve them? Can this be done the same way as with sketches?

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    Welcome! Are you hoping to protect them for storage or for display? – Erica Jan 5 at 14:36
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    I want to protect them for storage, but I want to know both. Are there any difference? – blanc Jan 5 at 22:53
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    Does this answer your question? How can I protect my pencil & charcoal drawings once complete? – Elmy Jan 6 at 5:48
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    Folks -- please do not answer in comments even though the question is closed and you want to share information. If it should be re-opened, vote. If we need to discuss it extensively, Arts & Crafts Meta. If you have an answer, for now use the linked duplicate (or vote/discuss). – Erica Jan 7 at 18:42
  • Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat. – Erica Jan 7 at 18:43

Welcome to the community! I don't know if you want to do this, but there's something called "fixative spray". In Walmart for $6 you can buy it, it's so effective, you can even edit after spraying. Just let it rest after 1 hour and you'll be fine! That's the solution! the substitute is hairspray, that's a cheaper option, but you won't be able to edit again, just with the fixative. Hope this helps!

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    No no no! If he was the artist this would be the answer, but a buyer of art should not do anything to the work that may change its appearance, and spray fix can definitely do that. The best thing is to frame it properly under glass. – rebusB Jan 6 at 16:41
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    Amen. This answer is insane. It's like telling someone spray-varnish from a hardware store on an original da Vinci or Picasso or something. Yeesh. It wil alter the appearance of the original and destroy any investment/resale value – Gwyn Jan 6 at 19:15
  • oh, i thought u were the atist😂 – Isaac750 Jan 15 at 5:02
  • and i thought u were trying to keep it from smudging and all that stuff, omg, everyone else said fixatif spray!, i said the same thing!! – Isaac750 Jan 15 at 5:03

There are a number of ways to preserve pencil drawings. This question is explicit in distinguishing that the drawings were purchased, which introduces another consideration.

A common way to preserve pencil drawings is with a fixative. How can I protect my pencil & charcoal drawings once complete? goes into recommendations and discussion on that approach. A fixative works to protect it, but it modifies the surface, and can change the appearance a little. For acquired works, the fixative would be something the original artist did not apply, and would be an alteration of the work.

If you just want to keep the work for its value to you, protect it any way you like. But if investment/resale value is a consideration, or it's a historical work, your applying a fixative to it could seriously degrade its value.

In this case, a better way to preserve it is to either store it in acid-free, archival quality flat files between layers of glassine paper, or have it professionally framed behind (UV-resistant) glass so it can be displayed and enjoyed.

For completeness, plastic sleeves were also suggested as a means of protection, but Allison C advised that smudging can result.

This is a summary of the comments (primarily by rebusB, Erica, and Gwyn) from within this thread and the linked chat discussion.

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    It's polite to credit the originators when you quote their comments, though. Especially since Erica has since removed many of the original comments you are quoting from ... – Gwyn Jan 9 at 0:09
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    @Gwyn, good catch. This was mostly summarizing and paraphrasing, but yeah, added attribution. :-) – fixer1234 Jan 9 at 2:32
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    BTW, I made this community wiki to encourage people to edit and tweak the wording as appropriate. – fixer1234 Jan 9 at 2:39

Mylar sleeves for storage are the most common way comics collectors protect original art, being the sturdiest and least likely to cause chemical damage to the paper. Mylar and acid-free cardboard are pretty much your first line of defense with anything comics-related.

See also: https://www.comicartfans.com/comic-art-collecting-caring.asp

I've attended San Diego Comic-Con for 40 years, and the majority of the dealers I've seen there over the decades display/store/ship vintage original art (usually ink over pencil or blue lines on Bristol Board) in mylar sleeves.

Uninked pencil art is also displayed this way if it's not framed or boxed, but I've more often seen that in the poly sleeves of artist's portfolios, being sold by the artist themselves, and that's far less suitable storage for any art.


not sure if that is the best option, but on dry chalk paints I use common/regular hair lack in rattle can.

It does fix the last chalk layer enough, dries fast enough, and do not smell that much as synthetic lack I use for car repairs etc.
As it dry really fast the next chalk layer can be made within seconds. However repairs to previous layers are a bit hard. Use higher weight, stiffer paper, like those for acrylic painting, and spray very lightly, no puddles of lack as it would warp the paper.

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    Hair spray is not a very good choice, as it yellows quite easily over time. – Joachim Jan 6 at 8:07
  • Well, I'm not doing white surfaces, painting is usually covered with chalk. My understanding is that yellowing is caused by UV, so not exposing it to light too much would help + those hair lacks are usually UV resistant to some level. Alt. to lack might be framing behind the glass panel. – Tom Silver Jan 6 at 8:30
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    The question is about comics, however. Since no deviations from the norm are mentioned, I think it's safe to assume these were made on white paper. Not all yellowing is caused by UV radiation, and hair spray's acidic nature usually causes discoloration and will harm the structure of paper. Do you have some older works you can compare to your current ones, to see the differences? – Joachim Jan 6 at 8:44
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    @TomSilver We can actually handle either archival quality protection or more everyday questions, and have done so. (You may be thinking of LifeHacks.SE?) The DIY tips are absolutely welcome, though, I'd just suggest including a disclaimer in cases where it may cause any problems. Thank you for your answer :) – Erica Jan 6 at 13:29
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    This is even worse than using purposemade fixative. People, this will destroy any investment/resale value. Do not do anything to original art that may alter its appearance. – Gwyn Jan 6 at 19:19

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