Protecting my Color pencil art with Varnish… How I’ve been doing it and Why!

What started off as a very successful experiment to stop some wax bloom in a sketchbook has turned into a mission to figure out how I can varnish my color pencil artworks with varnish. I have had many discussions with shops and framers to try and understand the best way of doing this, but I have found that many people just have never even considered the possibility, let alone figured out the best method to do it!!

After a LOT of trial and error, I have finally been getting some very nice results. So today I will talk you through how I have been varnishing my color pencil pieces.

I used Micador Gloss varnish ( available from my favorite online shop in Australia here: and National art materials Gloss varnish and I have achieved some nice results with these, however, these brands are not available widely.

Has very similar properties to the varnish that I was using. A viewer has also suggested the Krylon UV Archival Varnish, however, I have not had a chance to test these out for myself.

Spray varnishes are a little tricky to have posted due to safety concerns so it may be best to speak to your local art store for a brand easily available in your location. Basically, you are looking for any removable spray varnish that is suitable for use over oil paint.

This is an activity best conducted outside or in an extremely well ventilated area. The fumes from artists varnishes are strong at the best of times, but when placed in an aerosol and unleashed into the air, they become a rather noxious cloud of headache-inducing nightmares. Please be careful when using these products and follow all the directions on the labels!!

If you are interested in creating a removable varnish using an isolating layer, the Brush and pencil final fixative is available here: (US) or now through in Australia here: (Once again, as an aerosol product shipping can be tricky… if you’re outside the US or Australia, you may need to find a local retailer who can ship you this product)

Please be aware that this process does have the possibility of ruining your hard work! I cannot stress highly enough how important it is to test out all materials and practice your technique on some test pieces before tackling an important piece!!

The Orchid piece is now available for sale in my Etsy store:

Once again I must say that I am still experimenting with this procedure!! While I have consulted many qualified professionals, it would seem that this is still somewhat new ground. If you have any questions or comments PLEASE leave a comment! I would love to hear your thoughts or concerns on this so I can investigate this procedure further!


You might be interested in