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Sealing Ink/Gel/Sharpie pictures?

Hi there folks… GREAT site you have here!

I’m posting this as my wife colours in prints (Like these here: https://www.hobbycraft.co.uk/awesome-colour_in-canvas/614470-1000 ) but like all things they fade over time so she has to touch them up.

Now I have been told that to stop the fade you can seal the canvas but for the life of me I cannot find any info on which type to use.

Do you need a primer first?
Can you use a spray-on lacquer or does it have to be a spray-on varnish?

Etc etc etc…

The main problem is that I don’t know what to buy because of the medium she uses to colour with as I have also noted that some sealants can damage even paintings (watercolour/acrylic/oil) and I don’t want her to spray a picture only to have the inks run, or dissolve.

(Thankfully I don’t have this problem as I only do Digital art :slight_smile: )


You guys and galls are the professionals, so can someone please tell me what to use?

Thanks for your time.


I like the Krylon brand and use the UV Archival Varnish spray on my oil paintings. I have had to remove it on an oil painting to sign it and had no trouble doing that. I have used it on watercolor/colored pencil mixed media and watercolor. I always test first. I did have one watercolor that had subtle passages and it lost some after spraying the test piece. I always have a watercolor scrap on the side of each I do to color check before laying down a wash. It matches the same colors and transparencies of the painting so I’ll use it to test spray varnish first.

You do have a situation where she is using delicate mediums too so whatever you try always test test test first. Test on each medium separately and together if mixed media. Don’t just spray finished art work

If colors are noticeably fading in a short time, the medium she’s using is not archival or suitable for long-term display. I doubt any kind of spray will do much to prevent fading of impermanent or non-lightfast colors. Inks and dyes are chemical and notoriously prone to fading much more than pigments used in paint. Most artist-quality paints have a lightfastness rating on the label. I suggest using different media that is more permanent and less likely to fade when exposed to normal room light.


Hi Shane_Miller,

I’m not sure what art materials your wife is using to color, but I found an article that talks about Copic Marker fading, and the info can apply to any art supplies that are not archival, Here:

The overall message of that article seems to be saying that Copic Markers are not permanent (meaning they fade over time, they are ‘fugitive’). The article also mentions that if fugitive materials are being used, there is really no spray or dark room or UV protection that is going to reduce the fade.

I’m not sure if your wife is using something fugitive, but it does sound that way, because archival grade art supplies typically remain vibrant and pure in color through time. Most art supplies come in a variety of qualities, and often they are differentiated by the terms “Artist Grade” (which often means archival, but not always), and “Student Grade” (which often means NOT archival, but not always). It’s usually best to check with the manufacturer about the permanence of what is being used to know for sure.

If your wife uses colored pencils, there is a great article from a pencil artist named Ester Roi on her process for sealing the final colored surface. She lists the materials and how she applies it: http://www.esterroi.com/blog/post/2019/08/step-5-applying-the-final-varnish

I hope this helps a little.

Learned about fugitive media in art school 40 years ago when using Dr. Martin’s dyes. The brilliant colors are great for commercial use but should never be used for fine art. Likewise some watercolor colors and inks.