Fixatives are used to protect artwork from light and aging. Fixatives are also used to prevent 'wax bloom' from occurring. Fixatives for artists are formulated for Ultraviolet resistance and age-resistance, colorfastness and transparency. They are flammable and should be kept away from open flame. Most are eye, skin, and respiratory irritants. Always read the can for the manufacturer's directions.
Fixatives are usually found in a spray can. They usually need to be shaken for at least 30 seconds to mix the ingredients. Fixatives are usually held 8 to 12 inches away from the artwork. They are sprayed in a sweeping motion, and you should start and end outside of the work so that there is even coverage. It is best to apply in light layers, allowing each layer to dry completely and naturally (no hair dryers) for at least 15 minutes. Fixatives should be sprayed in ventilated areas.
A final fixative should only be used when the artwork is completed. It should be applied lightly, do not saturate the surface. Final fixatives provide some protection against ultraviolet light.
A workable fixative allows you to keep working on your artwork by providing some tooth. They can also be used to temporarily store your work until you can get back to it.