Skip to Main Content
Sign In
Toggle Navigation

Open the Navigation Management window, which can be used to view the full current branch of the menu tree, and edit it.

  • Instagram
  • Facebook

MITRA Forum Question Details

Image Picker for Section 0


  • Drawing StorageApproveRejectUn-ApproveSubscribeUn-Unsubscribe
    Question asked 2017-01-09 16:55:26 ... Most recent comment 2017-01-09 17:13:00
    Drawing Materials Storage
    I have a growing stack of drawings on paper in graphite, charcoal, conte.   Is it really necessary to  interleaf the drawings? And is Tyvek the best material for these types of media? If you're on the site it says glassine is not good for long-term storage and mylar has electro static charge so I'm just wondering how I can store my drawings. Thanks.

Answers and Comments

  • EditDeleteModerator AnswerHi there, this is a great question. Before I answer, it would be helpful to know a few more details. Have you used fixative on these drawings? How are they currently stored? Thanks!
    Marcus, Gillian
    2017-01-09 18:08:00
  • ApproveRejectUn-ApproveUser CommentNo fixative, they are just stored flat on top of each other. They are also mostly small, between 7x11" and 11x14". My drawing board is usually an acid free foam board, and I figured if there's not much shuffling, then the paper the drawing is on being covered by the same kind of paper wouldn't pose much of an issue, at least not for a few months to a year or two as I try to get them sold. I am just struggling now, but want to care for my work, and don't have lots of money to invest in flat files etc. I'm not necessarily trying to preserve a collection for posterity, but care for drawings pre-sale or exhibition, and would like it to be kind of cost effective and low space. Thanks.
    2017-01-09 18:22:28
  • EditDeleteModerator AnswerYou're right to want to start taking care of your drawings, even if you feel you don't have the budget. Ideally, drawings with friable media (such as charcoal) should be stored framed, or matted and in flat files. But as you've indicated that none of these options are possible at the moment, there are other things you can do in the meantime which are *not* ideal but are a lot better than the current storage situation. You definitely do not want the drawings stacked on top of one another with no interleaving if at all possible, because that will lead to smearing, displacement of media, and transfer onto other drawings. 1) Glassine may be used for very temporary storage - a few months at most. The smooth surface helps to prevent friction. However, this material does degrade fairly quickly and would need to be replaced regularly. 2) Acid-free, buffered tissue paper can be used to cover the drawings, but it should be laid very gently across and care must be taken to avoid moving the tissue paper across the surface of the drawings, as even the tiniest amount of friction can displace and smear the charcoal. 3) Another option - one which would require a bit more space - would be to "build" a temporary shelving unit for the drawings. This would involve getting stiff, acid-free board from an art supply shop (the more rigid, the better) and placing stable, heavy objects a few inches high at each of the four corners (such as flat iron weights or blocks) before placing another layer of rigid board on top, and so on. In this way you build a sort of rack on which to store the drawings so that they are not on top of one another and nothing is touching the surface, but they're still protected. I haven't used this method for storage before, but it is sometimes used for emergency storage of objects which need to dry after a flood. I hope this helps. Let me know if anything needs to be clarified or expanded upon further. Good luck!
    Marcus, Gillian
    2017-01-09 20:15:42
  • EditDeleteModerator AnswerAlso, to add - the storage "shelving" I've described should only be used temporarily, and not long-term.
    Marcus, Gillian
    2017-01-09 21:03:17
  • ApproveRejectUn-ApproveUser CommentThank you for your response. So you're saying the main issue with stacking drawings with no interleaving is mechanical damage? Is there an increased risk of acid transferring between sheets? I always thought of it like pages in a book. If I'm careful then I haven't seen any smearing or anything. An intermediate sheet just feels like it has an extra potential to move around. I guess I don't understand how paper deteriorates. My drawing papers are always archival 100% cotton, acid/lignin free. So my feeling was that material on top of another drawing was ok. So I don't know.
    2017-01-10 09:55:11
  • EditDeleteModerator AnswerIf this is just temporary storage, "acid burn" is not a huge concern (unless you are attempting to use very poor quality paper in your storage like newspaper which it sounds like you are staying away from anyhow). But yes, mechanical damage is the main concern here. I think if you follow some of the suggestions posed by Gillian you should be alright especially as this is only for temporary storage. The key here is the TYPE of interleave that you want something that actually repels electrostatic charge even if there is a bit of movement. Ideally you do not want to directly stack but if you do I would use the materials suggested by Gillian. Even though you have not seen any damage yet with direct stacking does not mean that there is not potential for future damage. The interleaf materials are simply an extra precaution before your drawings are ready to be exhibited and sold.
    Kristin deGhetaldi
    2017-01-10 10:06:07
  • EditDeleteModerator AnswerAs Kristin said, the concern here isn't with the acidity of the drawing paper, more the mechanical "smearing" or displacement of the media - the graphite, conte, and charcoal. As long as you replace the glassine a couple times a year (or even yearly, at a stretch), you can use it as interleaving. It's just another layer of protection for delicate media.
    Marcus, Gillian
    2017-01-10 10:31:17
  • ApproveRejectUn-ApproveUser CommentIf I was using some of the buffered tissue paper is that longer lasting? At least a few years before replacing?
    2017-01-10 12:03:38
  • EditDeleteModerator AnswerI am copying and pasting Gillian's response about tissue paper from above: Acid-free, buffered tissue paper can be used to cover the drawings, but it should be laid very gently across and care must be taken to avoid moving the tissue paper across the surface of the drawings, as even the tiniest amount of friction can displace and smear the charcoal.
    Kristin deGhetaldi
    2017-01-10 12:22:42
  • ApproveRejectUn-ApproveUser Comment(And yes - the buffered tissue paper will last longer!)
    2017-01-10 12:39:08
  • ApproveRejectUn-ApproveUser CommentThank you guys. Really appreciate it.
    2017-01-10 13:00:19

Page Settings and MetaData:
(Not Shown on the Page)
Page Settings
MetaData for Search Engine Optimization
MITRA Forum Question Details
This page cannot be accessed until you accept the Terms of Use, which can be found here.
Please note that this Terms of Use system uses cookies. If you have cookies disabled you will not be able to accept the agreement. If you delete our cookies you will need to re-accept the Terms of Use.
  • The Department of Art Conservation
  • 303 Old College
  • University of Delaware
  • Newark, DE 19716, USA
  • Phone: 302-831-3489