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Tutorials and artistic advices

Cleaning, maintaining and preserving your Drawing material

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Every medium has its frailties. It's up to you to take care of them!


1. Rules of thumb


Caution: fragile media!

  • When transporting your tools and drawing, carefully put your media away in cases. Charcoal is very volatile and drops its pigments on your paper and on the table, not to mention graphite pencils, color pencils and pastels, which roll, fall and break.
  • Try, as best as you can, to keep your workspace clean. You should always have a clean, dry rag or absorbent paper nearby to wipe your hands.

Dessin - Entretenir vos outils à mine

2. Caring for your tools with leads

The leads in graphite pencils and color pencils often break, even inside their wood casings. Protect them from shocks. When working with several pencils at once, avoid constantly laying them down and picking them up again. It's better to hold them in the hand that isn't drawing.

To properly clean your color pencils after sharpening them, pass over the lead with a paintbrush to remove the color residue. 

Tip: Sharpen your pencils by hand. Sharpening your pencils with a knife or utility knife gives you better control of the form, length and support you give to your lead. You can also use lead in a mechanical pencil, which is more solid.



Dessin - Nettoyer vos gommes

3. Clean your erasers


If your eraser soils your drawing, it's too dirty...

  • Clean classical erasers by rubbing them with a cotton cloth or washing them in soapy water (don't forget to dry them before using them).
  • Kneaded erasers are self-cleaning. By kneading them, you enclose the charcoal pigment inside the eraser and use a clean part. When the eraser becomes saturated with pigment, throw it out.



4. Fix your media


Charcoal, dry sanguine and chalk are all unstable media. To preserve your creations, fix them on the paper. 

Note: Not all fixatives are the same! Avoid using your pastel fixative. There are specific fixatives for charcoal, chalk and pencil, available as sprays or bottled. In the case of bottles, apply the fixative using a fixative syringe from about 40 cm away. 

See also

Choosing your drawing media
Depending on how you feel, go for the warmth of sanguine, the smoothness of charcoal or the precision of a graphite pencil … It's up to you to find out what works best for you!
Selecting your accessories: for drawing
Elegir los accesorios para dibujar
Here are a few indispensable accessories for the drawing novice.