Lightfast and Archival.

Lightfast and Archival.

What it actually means.

The term lightfast is used for the pigments or inks used in art and refers to color retention and adhesion (how good it sticks to paper, canvas, etc.). Like colored pencils, Copic markers, oils, acrylics, pastels, etc..

Some products have very little lightfast elements like Copics for example. Colored pencils are varying in lightfast properties pending on the color. Sometimes lightfast ratings are already on the product itself with stars on the colored pencil directly. The more stars the higher the lightfast rating. 


Faber-Castell colored pencils have the products' lightfast rating stamped on it directly via stars. The more stars, the higher the lightfastness. Reds and purples usually have a lower lightfast rating as these colors tend to fade quicker in general.

When an artists, like myself, talks about archival we refer to the actual support the pigment is on such as paper or canvas for instance. When something is archival it usually means that the substrate the art was created on is acid-free. 

Regardless if it says acid-free, highest lightfastness and or finished with a UV-barrier fixative or varnish your art collection, regardless if print or original, still can fade if not cared for properly. Why else do you think are the Rembrandt paintings in museums protected from sun light and touch?  While all these methods are helpful and highly encouraged to prolong the longevity of your purchased art original or print, it doesn't make it bullet proof. Just like your skin needs protection from the sun so does your art collection.

What can I do to ensure my collected art will lasts a long time?

  • Never ever place art in direct sunlight
  • Keep art always in a temperature controlled environment
  • Keep art in a low humidity setting, hence bathrooms are a big no
  • If art is not behind glass, avoid touching it with your bare hands 
  • If art is being framed behind glass, spend the extra dollar and get UV resistant glass

Remember these are only tips to help make your art collection last for many years and perhaps generations. Obviously if you spend a good penny on your art collection, I highly recommend you adhere to these tips.