The problem with using art supplies that are not Lightfast and how to get around that!

 In Art supplies, Creativity

As a general rule, anything not labelled ‘artist quality’; or not specifically marked ‘lightfast’ is usually not lightfast. Some dyes and pigments are just not stable and undergo chemical changes even without light.

Some of my favourite-to-use art supplies  such as water-based and alcohol markers,  liquid and cheapie watercolours,  old coloured pencils ( which I LOVE), plus many neon and fluouresent colours may not only fade, but change colour over time – even in their packaging! Some are are described as ‘fugitive’ (short life).

Many of the surfaces I love to use, such as vintage books,  have issues too and can yellow and become brittle over time.

If you intend to sell your work, does that mean you can’t ever use these art materials?

Absolutely not! I love using all the art supplies I mentioned above, so that is why I scan my work and then sell prints of it on archival, lightfast papers. That way I feel free to use whatever art supplies I like, on whatever vintage ephemera and papers I find. I recommend my workshop ‘Print and Scan’ to anyone who is worried about these issues as I discuss them in detail and my personal strategies.

There are sprays and varnishes you can add that may lend some more archival properties to your work, but you would have to test them on the individual products. Also, most will smear or alter the underlying artwork layers anyway.

If you do want to sell your original artwork that uses art materials that probably are not lightfast, or may deteriorate, at least advise that the artwork be framed under glass and not displayed where it gets much light.  Be open about the products you have used. If the artist is open about what they use, the collector can ask questions and make their choice knowing they may need to take extra care with it and the beauty may be fleeting. Consumer Protection Laws probably have a say here too. Fading and colour change could potentially be considered ‘faulty’ goods!

Personally, I wouldn’t like to buy artwork and have it fade or decline in quality, so it’s my choice to create beautiful, archival prints.

Not all art materials are intended as a ‘fine-art’ product.

Lightfast, professional standard materials are more expensive in part, because you are paying for the lightfast pigments. If you are interested in what the lightfast properties of your ‘go-to’ supplies are – go to the manufacturer’s website and see what they say.

‘Gallery Standard’, ‘Gallery Quality’ ‘Fine Art’ or ‘Museum Quality’,  isn’t a judgement on the aesthetics of the artwork, but a judgement on the art materials used to make it. A professional gallery would inquire into your art materials, so they don’t have future problems with upset collectors that could damage their reputation.

Student Quality’ products are labelled that because they are intended for learning and practice before the emerging artist creates ‘gallery standard’ work.

Children’s art products usually have very low pigment loads, and will rarely last any test of time. Again, they are great to practice with, but for work you may want to sell, may not be the best choice.

‘Professional Quality’ or ‘Graphic Design’ standard art supplies are intended for the commercial designer who’s work is scanned or used for story boards etc immediately. Most markers where created for this market where longevity is not an issue.

Depending on where artwork using these art materials are displayed or kept those changes can happen within a very short time.

Now you know why I rarely sell original work, and offer Gallery Quality prints instead! Besides, most of what I create is in my journals, and they are precious to me, so I would never sell the pages. It’s my choice to create beautiful, archival prints.

Maybe that will work for you too?

You can see my prints here:Screen Shot 2016-05-09 at 8.37.56 AM

The reasons I use Society 6 for my prints are because the quality is excellent, the collector can decide on a wide range of sizes, substrates, framing and formats, AND! The customer Service is excellent.

Important issues like this one are exactly why I created my ‘Print & Scan’ workshop.

There are so many options for creative people to share their gifts with the world now. It is so much fun and with the right know-how it’s quite easy to get your artwork out of your journal and into the world.
You can find out more here:


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  • Larissa West

    Thank you for a chance to take this amazing class!! SOOO FUN! I would loove to play with fairy tales this summer 🙂 Ohhh, and the element I am really hoping to see you play with is that look of darkness in Maleficent. All of your beautiful faces are so dreamy and soft and whimsical-I would LOVE to see your take on the dark side…hee hee hee….

  • Kathleen Mortl

    Good versus evil is all around us and inside us. Eyes are the window to the soul. I could see using mixed media with reflective properties. Looking back at the viewer. I would be honored if a would be the one-.

  • Marion Werren

    Hi! I love your artistic talent, i can only wish to one day be this good. The elements i would love to see in your piece are the looking glass and of course it wouldn’t be complete without Prince Charming and maybe some sort of a twist to the story. And of course the wicked witch and some dwarfs thrown in as well. Thank you for the opportunity to win a spot on this wonderful Arty Adventure. xxxxx

  • Janel

    This class looks like so much fun! I can’t wait to see the flowing hair! Thanks for the chance t wins spot!

  • Judy Peckinpaugh

    Jane Please enter my name in this exciting give away. I love your style and subject matter and would give anything to have a chance at it. I have never painted like that but given a chance I would jump on it. It would greatly enhance my awareness and give me a greater appreciation of fine arts in general. Thank you Judy

  • Kim gillaspy

    I love to see the dwarfs and the mirror included in your workshop. I would love to learn from your worksho .

  • Annette Graves

    Oh Jane anything you want to throw out I will gobble it up. always look forward in a Jane inspiration. So please put my name in the pot and I would love to win.

  • Ronda J Conley

    I would love to see you put a Malificent swing on things. Thanks for the opportunity to win a spot in this class. Peace, Ronda

  • Shelly Marlott

    You are so generous.. I’m over the moon to see what you come up with and.would love to see the dark side of the story toof! May 16th is my 40th birthday and I’d be in tears to win this spot!! I think I would live.. happily ever after… 😉

  • LeaVon Price

    Jane all your classes are wonderful and what a great giveaway. It would be so exciting to get to do this class with all these wonderful artist. I can’t wait to see what you do with the fairy s. Best of luck to everyone

  • Tammy Oviedo

    Oh my Jane, all this news is so exciting! I would be tickled pink if I am the lucky winner! Your art of beautiful ladies is awesome enough, but now add some Maleificent designs to your ladies and watch out! I fell in love with the movie it was so special and magical too, I can’t wait to see what you come up with, I just love your artful ladies and the colors you choose. I’m so glad we now have the Internet or I would have never meet you, to see your videos is just totally awesome! Isn’t our world a really neat place to be? Well big ((HUGS)) to you and hopefully I will be joining you soon!

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