Erasers are an essential tool for artists, having the right type of eraser for your drawing medium can make all the difference to your art process. There are a lot of options out there, when it comes to choosing an eraser. So, which ones are the best?
Well, that depends on what kind of art you’re doing. If you’re working with pencils, charcoal, or graphite, you’ll want a different eraser than if you’re using ink, pen or pastel. Artists also use erasers as drawing tools, to lift highlights from charcoal pieces and refine edges. It’s important, then, to get the right eraser for the medium you’re using and the task at hand.
In this article, we’ll break down the best erasers for artists, based on the type of art medium you use.
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Prismacolor kneaded rubber eraser
Kneaded erasers are soft, pliable and don’t leave any dust or residue on the paper. Mould the kneaded eraser into any shape before erasing marks from the paper.
This type of eraser performs reasonably well for detailed work, as the eraser can be tapered into a fine point. However, the eraser doesn’t offer the precision of some of the harder erasers. Artists can also flatten the eraser to give it a larger surface area, then roll it across the paper to erase large areas of pencil.
Use kneaded erasers with charcoal, graphite, coloured pencil and pastel. Due to its non abrasive nature, kneaded erasers do not damage the paper surface. Instead, they lift pencil marks gently. This means that artists have the flexibility to subtly lift pencils marks to reveal highlights in a drawing, rather than erasing them completely if they use a light touch.
Kneaded erasers are less likely to smudge pencil and charcoal than regular erasers, this is because they work to lift colour rather than moving the pencil around on the paper. They last longer, because they absorb graphite rather than dust particles from the rubber being removed.
Prismacolor makes a great kneaded rubber eraser that’s long-lasting and easy to use.
Faber-Castell vinyl eraser
Vinyl erasers are firm but flexible, making them ideal for detailed work. They don’t leave any residue, dust or smudge pencil marks. It will erase marks cleanly without trace.
This type of eraser is perfect for use with graphite and coloured pencils. It’s also suitable for use with charcoal, but because it’s a bit firmer than a kneaded rubber eraser, it may damage softer or coated papers.
Cretacolor Caramel Fine Art Gum Eraser
This gum eraser is fantastic for erasing graphite pencil and charcoal. It’s softer and more flexible than vinyl and plastic erasers, however it’s much firmer than kneadable erasers. If you want an eraser that offers more control than a kneaded eraser, this is a great one to get. You only need to apply gentle pressure to the paper to remove pencil lines. It’s also great for removing lines underneath watercolour.
Staedtler Mars plastic eraser
Plastic erasers are versatile, stiff and are the perfect choice for cleanly removing pencil marks and even ink. They are harder than gum erasers, so take care using them on thin or coated papers. This eraser will remove ink marks from paper, vellum and matte drafting paper.
They work brilliantly for fine detail erasing, due to their hard nature. Plus, they last long, usually years without needing to be replaced. However, they do leave rubber dust particles on the paper.
General’s Factis Mechanical Eraser
This eraser is unique, in that it’s a mechanical eraser with a casing that holds the inner core. This means that artists don’t need to touch the eraser when using it. The Factis eraser also comes with a replaceable core, so you can continue using it even when the original eraser has been worn down.
It’s made of artist grade plastic, is resistant to crumbling and cracking and will erase sharp, ultra fine detail lines. The retractable eraser is useful for storing in a pencil case as the eraser’s casing protects the core from getting dirty.
Use this eraser with charcoal, graphite, coloured pencil and pastel. If you want to erase small highlights and precise lines from a drawing, this is a great option.
Faber-Castell Perfection Eraser Pencil
Made for erasing fine, precise lines, the Faber-Castell Perfection Eraser comes in a pencil format with a brush at one end to get rid of residue. The pencils can be sharpened once they have worn down.
Cretacolor Monolith Eraser
This is a large eraser that’s perfect for covering large areas quickly. It’s made of fine quality rubber, that is a medium softness and doesn’t crumble easily. The eraser can be used on its side to create wide strokes.
It’s perfect for use with charcoal, graphite, coloured pencil and pastel.
Pentel Hi-Polymer Block Eraser
This eraser is similar to the Cretacolor Monolith Eraser, in that it’s a large block eraser that can be used to erase both small and large areas. The Pentel Hi-Polymer Block Eraser is made of non-toxic, soft vinyl that is latex free and safe for use by children.
This will remove graphite and coloured pencil cleanly from the paper.
Tombow Mono Zero Eraser
The Tombow Mono Zero Eraser is a precision eraser that comes in a mechanical, retractable format. It has a fine, sharp point that’s perfect for detailed work and removing small highlights. This is a popular eraser that should be in every artists pencil case!
This type of eraser is perfect for use with graphite, coloured pencil and pastel. The fine, sharp point makes it easy to erase small highlights and precise lines. It can be used as a drawing tool when making charcoal artwork to draw into large areas of midtones and reveal the white of the paper beneath.
Tombow Sand Eraser
The Tombow Sand eraser is completely unique in that it is made from rubber latex and silica grit. This means that it wears down the paper fibres, removing stubborn mediums, like pen, ink and coloured pencil without smearing. It also works well on sanded and coated papers. Use it for correcting mistakes, or for revealing highlighted areas. Sanded erasers are pretty harsh on paper fibres, so make sure to use them on a durable paper that can withstand being sanded.
How to choose an eraser
When it comes to choosing the best eraser for artists, it really depends on what type of medium you’re using and the level of precision you need. For detailed work, a vinyl or plastic eraser is a good choice. If you’re working with charcoal or pastel, a kneaded rubber eraser is a good option. And for large areas, a gum eraser is perfect.
For work on thin or coated papers, softer erasers are more suitable. And for erasing small highlights and precise lines, a mechanical or pencil eraser is ideal.
The shape of the eraser is also important to consider. Some erasers are rectangular, while others are round. And some come in the form of a pencil or pen. The shape you choose will depend on your preference, your desired precision and the type of work you’re doing. If you need to erase small areas, a pencil or pen eraser is a good choice. For larger areas, a rectangular or gum eraser is ideal.
Some erasers are more effective at erasing than others. Make sure to get a good quality eraser, to cleanly lift graphite and pencil marks. And if you’re working with charcoal, pastel or other similar mediums, a kneaded rubber eraser is a good choice. This is because kneaded erasers have the ability to subtly lift highlights without smudging.
Some papers, such as sanded and coated pastel papers shouldn’t be used with harder erasers, like plastic or vinyl. Instead use a soft kneaded eraser on coated pastel papers. Other thinner papers like ingres papers will not stand up to a hard eraser like they will to a kneaded eraser. However, thick, durable papers like Bristol board are suited to erasing with hard erasers.
Some erasers create more dust and residue than others. If you’re working on delicate papers or don’t want any smudging, get a kneaded eraser to avoid unwanted residue. Gum erasers tend to be the dustiest.
Erasers are made from different materials that can affect the working properties of the product.
Vinyl or Plastic Erasers
Erasers made from vinyl or plastic are harder and more precise. They’re ideal for detailed work, but can create pilling on delicate papers.
A kneaded eraser is a malleable, pliable eraser that can be rolled, stretched and squeezed into any shape.
Kneaded erasers are made from unvulcanised rubber, which gives them their soft, putty texture. Kneaded rubber erasers are softer and more pliable. They don’t create as much dust, making them ideal for use on delicate papers. These erasers are usually latex-free, however check the product description from the supplier.
These are the most commonly sold erasers in stationary shops and you’ll often find them in classrooms. They are medium softness, less precise than vinyl and plastic erasers, however firmer than kneaded erasers. Gum erasers are more crumbly and dusty than vinyl and kneadable erasers, so if you’re trying to avoid residue, choose another eraser. However, these are great for erasing large areas and they are really effective at erasing pencil marks.
The best erasers for graphite drawing
The best erasers for graphite drawing are vinyl or plastic erasers, kneaded rubber erasers, and gum erasers. Each type of eraser has its own advantages and disadvantages that should be considered when choosing the best eraser for your needs.
The best erasers for charcoal drawing
Soft erasers, like kneaded erasers are best for lifting charcoal, this is to avoid smudging the loose particles. The charcoal will stick to the eraser and you can mould it to get into small areas.
Make sure to clean erasers such as kneadable and vinyl erasers after using them with charcoal or pastel, as the dusty residue on the eraser could smudge onto the page. Clean a kneaded eraser by remoulding it. A vinyl eraser can be cleaned by rubbing it on a clean, scrap sheet of paper to remove the residue.
The best erasers for pastel drawing
Kneaded rubber erasers are the best type of eraser to use for pastel because they don’t create as much dust. You can also use a gum eraser, but be careful not to press too hard or you might damage the paper.
Erasers for pen and ink drawing
Vinyl and plastic erasers are the best erasers for remove pen and ink. For example, the Staedtler Mars Plastic eraser will remove ink marks from paper with ease. The Tombow Sand eraser is also a great choice for removing pen marks, but it will also remove some of the paper’s surface, so use it with caution.
The best erasers for detail work
Mechanical or pencil shaped erasers are great for detail work as they have a thin point. Equally, vinyl and plastic erasers will remove sharp lines, due to their firm nature.
For detail work, a great tip is to break a bit of your eraser off. This will give you more precision when using the tool. If you’re using a kneaded eraser, you can mould the section you broke off back into the eraser.
What Makes a Good Eraser?
When you’re looking for an eraser, there are a few things to keep in mind. First of all, you’ll want to make sure it’s the right type for your medium. If you’re using pencils, look for an eraser that’s soft and won’t damage the paper.
If you’re working with ink or paint, however, you’ll need a harder eraser that can remove those materials without damaging the paper.
You’ll also want to consider the size of the eraser. If you’re working on a small scale, you’ll want a smaller eraser so you can be precise. If you’re doing larger pieces, though, you may prefer a bigger eraser that will cover more area.
Finally, think about the shape of the eraser. Some erasers come in standard rectangular shapes, while others are shaped like pens or pencils. There are even erasers that come in fun novelty shapes! Choose the one that’s most comfortable for you to use.
Keep in mind that no eraser is perfect. They all have their own advantages and disadvantages, so it’s up to you to decide which one is the best for your needs. Experiment with different types of erasers and find the one that works best for you. All the erasers on this list are great value for money, so you can pick up a few depending on the task you need them for.
If you’re interested in looking for some other drawing supplies, check out our guide on the best pencils for drawing, the best sketchbooks and the best pencil sharpeners.
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