Choosing an Eraser

Eraser test screenshot

A screenshot of some of the tests Julie Caves performs to see how various erasers perform

If you have ever been dazzled by how many erasers in an art store you will find Choosing a Rubber: Comparing Erasers is a huge comprehensive article. I know many people think that an eraser is big no-no but that is tosh as erasers can be a great tool for subtractive drawing techniques where you lay down a colour or a layer of graphite then pick out highlights with and eraser. There is also nothing wrong with erasing the odd line or two

Some of the questions Julie tests and discovers the answers for are
“I set out to see if testing would help me sort out the differences between erasers: What rubber removes coloured pencil? Do all rubbers work equally well when ‘drawing’ into charcoal with a rubber? What’s the best rubber to remove the graphite sketch from a finished watercolour painting? Why do some rubbers smear and make a mess? Why do some rubbers damage paper? Is there a rubber that will remove a graphite line in a drawing without lightening the ink line on top?”

Julie Caves first looks at the differences between kneadable putty erasers, gum erasers and vinyl/plastic erasers then sets about testing them.

Also there are some very handy tips – for instance did you know that most erasers are less likely to damage the paper if slightly warm? So hold it for a few minutes in your hand then erase.

Anyway, I think people will find the information in Choosing a Rubber: Comparing Erasers useful. I can’t think of anything Julie has not covered. If you keep a studio journal it is worth printing out and keeping it in your journal or as reference somewhere.

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How to Choose a Journal

In response to questions I have made a video on How to Choose a Journal. Hopefully people who are looking for a journal that they can both write and sketch in, will find my thoughts useful. If you want to write in a journal or sketch in journal choices are easier than if you want to mix the two activities in one book.

To summarise what I look for when I choose a journal is
Size – it has to fit in my handbag
Paper weight and quality – I like to be able to sketch
A stitched binding must be strong as glued books fall apart with heavy use
Archival paper is good
Extras like ribbon markers and envelopes at the back ( these are nice to have and not deal breakers)

The Journal I will use next is a Daler and Rowney which is 150 gsm cartridge paper. I have used these sketchbooks before and will report on how this one performs but I expect it to be suitable for what I need it for.
The Square journal in the video is a Hahnemühle is 140 gsm and made for dry media but will take a bit of wet media.

Other journals discussed are the Stillman and Brin range and Strathmore sketchbooks. They are great for sketching but expensive to glue stuff into!

I hope you enjoy “How to Choose a Journal” leave questions in the comments if you have any.

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