I am a very committed drawer and sketch artist, so I obviously have piles of sketchpads and sketchbooks. The only problem is that the graphite/charcoal from my 2B sketch pencils smudge on the papers above it. This is very annoying and inconvenient. What can I do to stop this?

  • 3
    What's wrong with the regular solution of spraying a fixative (or hairspray in a pinch)? Not expensive, and easy to find.
    – J. Musser
    Commented Jan 4, 2015 at 4:19
  • 1
    @J.Musser I had never heard of that solution before in my life. I thought that the only thing you could do with pencil and paper was pencil and paper :P ....post an answer!
    – Shokhet
    Commented Jan 4, 2015 at 6:13

2 Answers 2

  1. Fixatives are the best. Try them on the sample sketch and also you need to know how much to apply.

  2. Keep a trace paper on each page of your book. Use sellotape to stick the top border with paper so as to avoid the moving of trace paper. Graphite does not stick to the glossy surfaced paper.

  3. You can also keep any other slick surfaced paper like photo printing paper or transparent book cover or laptop's screen guard. Stick the top border with the paper.


Common method is aerosol hair spray, but I do not recommend this because over the time paper will fade and turn pale yellow. Ruined many of my drawing sheets.

When applying fixative sprays, do it outside or ventilated area as they are very toxic in nature. Many types are there, mainly 1. workable(spray while drawing) and 2.non-workable(post completion spray), they are glossy.

Also I suggest if it is worth saving, put them behind glass.

  • I do like this answer and the content within it, and I think that these methods could be effective, but I don't really see this as a lifehack necessarily. Commented Jan 4, 2015 at 17:15
  • 1
    a fixative isn't a lifehack... it's the standard method.
    – J. Musser
    Commented Jan 4, 2015 at 23:09
  • so should I accept this @J.Musser or just wait for an answer that is a lifehack? Commented Jan 5, 2015 at 0:44
  • Up to you @James, but personally I don't accept answers unless I think they are a good hack. It can wait
    – J. Musser
    Commented Jan 5, 2015 at 0:47
  • @JamesLynch You really don't need to accept my answer or any answer unless you are satisfied with the solution, You can always wait for better answers. Musser, I do not think fixatives are common solution, even Shokhet also mentioned in comment. It may not be a common practice for all people. Commented Jan 5, 2015 at 1:05

Apply hairspray. It works for chalk, but I'm still not sure if it works on graphite. It is still worth a try, but I recommend doing a test on just graphite on the paper you are using to see the results.

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