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Fixatives are very thin, fast-drying solutions of clear acrylic or vinyl resin in a solvent, such as alcohol or mineral spirits. The amount of resin is usually very low compared to the amount in varnishes to avoid disrupting the appearance of fragile dry media like charcoal and pastel.
Workable fixatives are used to fix dry media such as pastels, charcoal, pastel pencils and graphite when it is desired to use additional media. Workable fixatives have a matte finish.