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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5 thoughts on “Choosing an Eraser

  1. Jules Woolford

    Great post, thanks for sharing this Sharon, isn’t it interesting how erasers are a really contentious issue when you are learning to draw? I love kneadable erasers and always carry a putty rubber to pick out highlights, but they do vary. The Koh i Nor is my favourite, because of the great little case it comes in, which is so handy for storing/carrying other erasers.

    Reply
    • Sharon B Post author

      HI Jules I have not tried that brand – probably because a putty eraser lasts so long for me but will look for it as like the idea of tin!

      Reply
  2. Karen

    Do kneadable (putty) erasers need to be stored in a sealed bag? Will they dry out? Do they eventually get too full of graphite to work?

    Reply
    • Sharon B Post author

      Karen they don’t need to be stored in anything – I keep mine in a little bag because it gets dirty but that is me. To be honest I have never had them dry out – I have one on the go for 3 years now but usually they get replaced because I have lost one – they don’t cost much so it’s not something I have thought of

      Reply

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