Some erasers can ruin your artwork but for about 3 dollars you can buy an assortment of the right erasers you should be using. I’m talking about professional quality erasing machines that will dramatically improve your artwork. Under normal drawing conditions with pencil, charcoal, or pastel the following three types of erasers will cover all your erasing needs.
Kneaded erasers can be molded and shaped into a variety of forms. They are also effective at helping blend subtle areas of a drawing. Kneaded erasers are a unique variety of eraser in that they don’t wear down and disperse little rubber bits all over your drawing. Rather, a kneaded eraser absorbs the particles of the chosen drawing media. This means that you’ll have to clean your kneaded eraser. To clean a kneaded eraser repeatedly pull it apart and put the halves back together. This will “clean” the eraser so that it’s ready to erase again. The cleaning technique is really just dispersing the drawing medium’s particles equally throughout the kneaded eraser. Eventually the kneaded eraser will be so full of pencil, charcoal or whatever you have been erasing, it will have to be replaced with a new eraser.
White Plastic Eraser
A white plastic/vinyl eraser is an excellent all around eraser to use when sketching. You can keep it clean by wiping the eraser on a piece of scrap paper from time to time. If you prefer its original rectangular shape to the rounded corners that soon appear from repeated use you can cut the eraser with a hobby knife. There’s nothing wrong with hacking and modifying your drawing tools!
The eraser stick is a handy little tool useful for erasing or modifying small areas of a drawing. It can be cut with a blade if you need an even sharper point in which to erase with. The eraser stick tends to be an addictive tool with young artists. It tends to be aggressive on paper so reserve its use to small detailed areas of your drawing.
What Eraser Should I Use?
When using a powdery medium such as charcoal or pastel you’ll find that a kneaded eraser performs best because it doesn’t leave little eraser pieces behind that when swiped away result in smearing away your drawing. The white plastic eraser is a good all around eraser which works great for graphite pencil drawings. You can put one in your pocket without worry whereas a kneaded eraser will pick up every piece of dirt and pocket lint that comes into contact with it. Since an eraser stick is used for only tiny areas of a drawing it can safely be used with any medium. WATCH: My Video Demonstrating Each Eraser Type.
When working in pencil and using a white plastic eraser or eraser stick you’ll get some eraser pieces piling up on your paper’s surface. Rather than wipe them off with your hands I prefer to use a drafter’s brush. The drafter’s brush smudges your artwork less than your hands and keeps your paper much cleaner whereas your hands can be sweaty, oily, or just plain dirty.
Happy Erasing 🙂
What is your favorite eraser? Leave a comment below.