As long as people have the ability to produce art they come up with new ideas of HOW TO do that.
During history, people experimented with different materials and pigments. Google for ‘Mummy Brown’ if you can handle the answer on the ingredients of that one.
Our technology is very advanced as is the knowledge about chemicals. Today the experimenting is not as much about finding new ways but it is more a question of saving money. Why would otherwise someone turn to Hairspray instead of a tested and approved fixative? (Don’t do that, you will damage your paper over time).
In the colored pencil groups, solvents are a very popular topic. Whenever someone mentions solvents another one will throw in Baby Oil. And my first reaction to that is *sigh* and then *facepalm*. Of course, I would NEVER say that to someone, but I had a strong feeling that I need to do some research on this!
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Over time sunlight can change the pigments and make them fade. Solvents are strong chemicals and I need to know if my pencils and their lightfastness are affected when getting in contact with them. I use Polychromos by Faber-Castell, Prismacolor Premier* and Luminance 6901* by Caran d’Ache for my drawings. So these three manufacturers got an email from me:
I am an Artist working with colored pencils. Right now I am doing research for a blog post on the use of liquid mediums like Gamsol, Turpentine (organic, odorless and non-toxic) and Baby Oil to blend colored pencils. This is a technique many artists seam to use. The solvent breaks down the binder so that you can *paint* with the pigments – similar to using water in the Museum Aquarelle / Albrecht Durer.
My question for your chemistry department is:
DOES THIS SOMEHOW AFFECT THE PIGMENTS AND THEIR LIGHTFASTNESS? What is your recommendation in this matter?
no clue from Newell Rubbermaid
The answer I got from Newell Rubbermaid was the shortest. I have to say I didn’t really expect much from Prismacolor. Michael’s email just confirmed my premade opinion. This is what he wrote:
Unfortunately our products are not tested for durability when introduced to chemicals so we suggest contacting a local art shop or artists blog for more technical information in reference to your request.
*sigh* thank you for nothing. But I did google, and couldn’t find anything on that, so the blog article you are referring to is THIS ONE. And it was not published when you wrote me that email. My bad, I thought the manufacturer would know something about their pencils. I had a strong confidence that I would get my answer from Faber-Castell or Caran d’Ache.
Faber-Castell’s and Caran d’Ache’s answers
Faber-Castells answer was very informative. My contact shares my concerns and is very skeptical about using oils it on paper ( for the best results with watercolors you should use decalcified water to keep the paper safe, was one of the tips he gave me). But it has no effect on the lightfastness of the pigments.
Now to the most complex answer to my question and it is coming from Caran d’Ache.
According to our experiences, users experiences and tests, we have no indications that these mentioned mediums directly harm or decrease the lightfastness of the pigments in Luminance, Pablo or other color pencil products. The only thing a user has to be aware of is the fact that when diluting a layer of color (anyhow, with water or organic turp), you dilute the pigment concentration and by this make a CP layer a bit less lightfast than applied dry and in a thicker layer. This is a general rule and is not directly due to the dissolver and its effect on the pigment
Now, this is really interesting! So the pigments are not ‘harmed’ but indirectly you still change the lightfastness of your pencils by having a lower pigment concentration. Is this why the Albrecht Dürer have a lower lightfastness rating than the Polychromos? I had to ask Faber-Castell and my contact confirmed. They both use the same Pigments and same ‘base core’. The only difference is that they take either a bath in a water-soluble or water-resistant wax.
News about lightfastness in the Albrecht Dürer watercolor pencils by Faber-Castell
Faber-Castell brought to my attention that due to some changes to the Albrecht Dürer pencils they were able to get the highest lightfast rating. As from autumn 2016, they have a color range of 24 different colors. More colors are coming…
The new watercolor pencils run under the name Albrecht Dürer Magnus*. Watch this space for a review of the Albrecht Dürer Magnus.