how to prepare realistic drawing for oil painting [Archive] - Artist Forum

: how to prepare realistic drawing for oil painting

02-14-2017, 12:35 PM
Hi, I've done a very realistic drawing on thick Canson paper and I want to know how to prepare it for glazing. I want to use the drawing itself as the under painting because it's very contrasty and probably better than an oil painted underpainting. Since I'm oil glazing on paper what I need to know is how to prepare the surface for the glazing. The drawing is done in carbon pencil and I don't want to smear it by putting down a coat of varnish applied with a brush first, so I was thinking of using Blair Retouch varnish to seal the drawing, and then apply a layer of something transparent overtop to protect the drawing as well as prepare the surface for the glazes (would a Liquitex acrylic varnish applied with a brush be okay?) That would be a damar varnish and then a permanent acrylic varnish. Is this okay to use for this purpose(I really want to glaze this drawing on paper). Is the damar retouch varnish okay to use with an acrylic overtop of it. Would there be cracking later on? All I know is I have to really seal the paper so that it doesn't soak up the oil. How would you recommend I prepare this drawing?

M Winther
02-16-2017, 12:27 PM
It is usually fine to use a spray fixative, same as used for drawings, pastels, etc., at least if you let it dry a couple of minutes and spray another layer. Then it should be fine to glaze on. But you should test the method on a sketch first. If you paint with acrylics using a brush, then the carbon particles will be smeared out.


02-23-2017, 01:28 PM
Charcoal or chalk used for blocking in is just sprayed with a fixative to prevent it muddying the first layer of paint; this should also work with your carbon pencil. Varnish may yellow (with age) so I am not sure if that may affect your painting if used as an undertone... also varnish is usually used with an absence of dust, so it may not be right for going over a carbon pencil sketch.
Another option is to paint with acrylic over your sketch and redraw with charcoal or carbon over the acrylic underpainting; this will also need to be sprayed with a fixative, but will give you a sort of the best of both worlds.
Good luck!