This is a product that I just don’t want to live without. I’ve even put a small spray bottle of Spectrafix in my Derwent Carry All Bag (my bigger sketch set).
Pros: It seals the layers underneath, which is extra important when I use PanPastel or some of my messier pencils like Derwent Lightfast. I love the Lightfast pencils but they have the ability to move a lot, which is great when you want it but can cause problems when you don’t want it. Spectrafix also brings back a nice tooth to the paper, which is great when you work in layers like I do. It doesn’t alter the colours on most papers. When using this along with the Brush and Pencil Touch-up Texture and Titanium White it gives the possibility to work from dark to light, even on Watercolor Paper.
Cons: On Pastelmat, it actually does alter the colors a bit. Especially Oranges and pinks are affected. If I spray it on very wet, it can leave like a cloudy film on Pastelmat. On watercolor papers, it can lighten things up just a little bit but doesn’t seem to dull the colors in the same way. On some papers, it leaves this wierd wall that isn’t as workable as on other papers. I find that it works great on Fabriano Artistico Hotpress and Arches Hotpress. Not as good with Canson Heritage. It works great on Saunders Waterford Hotpress to bring back the tooth but some pigments will move around a lot after one spray so I would spray it on very thin at first and when it’s dry, you can spray on heavy if you want to seal it more or bring back more tooth.
In this drawing, I used about sprays of Spectrafix in between each of the layers, which where a lot! This Fixative works especially good with Saunders Highwhite Hotpress, which probably have something to do with the sizing of the surface.
If you want to read about other fixatives that I’ve discovered here’s an article where I compare three of my favourite fixatives and explain why I use all of them in my practice: Fixatives