How to Prevent Drawings from Smudging in Sketchbooks: Great Tips

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Nothing is more annoying than sitting for two whole hours sketching your drawing only to rub your hand against it. It’s time wasted, and of course, it’s too late to do something about it. If you hold your sketchbook in high regard, then it’s worth making sure that every piece of your sketch is precise and flawless, or in other words, a masterpiece you’d be proud showing off to the world.

As a serious and professional artist, it’s time to up your game. One way to do this is by lessening or preventing the chances of smudging in your sketchbook. Thus, you should learn and master how to prevent drawings from smudging in sketchbooks, and that is what we are here to teach you.

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How to Prevent Drawings from Smudging in Sketchbooks

Here are a few easy and economical ways to safeguard your drawings from being ruined.

1. Be Careful with Your Drawings

As obvious as it may sound, it’s the first step to coming up with high-quality and flawless pictures. Be mindful how your drawing is developing and avoid, as much as possible, resting your hand on the drawing. Oils and sweat from your hand can smudge the parts that you’ve already drawn, ruining the entire work.

Otherwise, you may consider getting a quality pair of photo or film editing gloves. They are comfortable and thin, so you don’t have to worry about not feeling your pencil properly. The gloves are lint-free and will help keep off oils and sweat from your hands from creating smears.

2. Use Quality Paper and Pencil

It’s another obvious yet essential factor to put into consideration: invest in good quality paper and pencil for your artwork.

For instance, using Canson papers on a Bristol board is an excellent way to create quality drawings. Although you may have to dig dipper into your pockets, it’s worth the value instead of repeatedly trying your masterpiece on a scratch paper. A quality paper not only resists smudges, but it is also easily and cleanly erased if you happen to smudge on it.

Most probably, you’ve heard about the Prismacolor pencils. They are the type of pencils you will want to use if you don’t want your drawings to be smudged. You can also opt for the easily accessible types of pencils like the 4H, as they rarely smudge.

3. Frame Your Art

If you really adore and want to protect your masterpiece against smudging, then why not just frame it? It’s even better because you won’t have to worry about it smudging when showing it off. It’s highly likely that your drawings will be ruined if left on the sketchbook.

If framing is not an option, be careful where you store your sketchbook. Store it in a clean and dry place. Don’t peruse your artwork with wet hands, as well.

4. Use Fixatives

Unless you are new to art, you must have heard about fixative. Fixatives are renowned and effective choice for artists looking to protect their sketchbook from smudging. They provide a protective layer over the drawing to prevent smudging and smearing.

Another great thing about fixatives is that they can be used on charcoal, paper, graphite work, and more surfaces. Fixatives are a prudent and sensible choice for artists looking to allow preservation and durability on their artwork.

Can you use hairspray as a fixative?

You may have come across a suggestion that hairspray can be used as a cheaper alternative for fixative.

We just want to shed some light about this and say that if you really care about the value and longevity of your masterpiece, then we don’t recommend using hairspray to protect your drawings from smuggling. That is especially since cheap hairsprays can cause a “yellowing” effect on the pictures due to their acidity.

However, you can try it on practice sketches and see how it works. You can then decide whether or not it’s a valid option for your artwork.

If you must use hairspray, try some quality spray brands as they may perform better as a fixative. We recommend though not using hairspray on a masterpiece that you are really attached to. It may disappoint you!

5. Use Wax Paper

Carefully cut a piece of matching sized wax paper and fix it over your drawing. Then attach masking tape at the top of the page. It will keep the picture fresh and clean while protecting it from smudging.

6. If You Must Erase, Get the Right Erasers

You are likely to smudge your drawing if you keep on erasing your drawing. If you are a professional, then only erase if you must; otherwise, find better ways to resolve the issues.

Again, if you must erase, then get the right erasers. For instance, you can invest in an electric eraser, though it may be a little bit expensive, it’s worth the effort.

Electric erasers are capable of the most magnificent cleaning details that you need for a flawless drawing. You can also go for plastic erasers and cleaning powders.

7. Use Rubber Bands

You can use rubber bands to hold in place your sketchbook when drawing. It’s a common practice by most artists, and the bands protect your artwork from smudging. It keeps your papers in place, thereby preventing them from rubbing against each other.

Other Tips

Apart from the techniques on how to prevent drawings from smudging in sketchbooks we suggested, here are some other things you can keep in mind:

  • Don’t expose your art to sunlight.
  • Use a clean and dry brush to remove eraser crumbs off your drawing; brushing them off with your hand can cause smudging.
  • Use high-quality light hairspray if you don’t have fixatives.
  • Use a tracing or printer photo paper as a barrier under your hand when drawing to minimize smudging; move it along with your hand.
  • Permanently fix your art when you are done drawing.
  • Store your sketchbook in a clear and dry dust-free place.
  • Don’t handle it with wet or dirty hands.
  • Have all your art materials on hand when drawing to stay motivated.
  • Empty your eraser away from your drawing; the pencil dust may ruin your art.
  • Use quality art materials when making a permanent drawing.
  • Don’t set your coffee or water or sandwich on the drawing table. Accidents happen!

Final Words

Your sketchbook serves as a keeper of your artwork and a record of how you progress as an artist, which means it will show you how you’ve improved over time. It can also be a great portfolio if you want to book gigs. Smudges will ruin your work and waste your time. Good thing, there are many ways on how to prevent it from happening.

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