Kneaded erasers are one of the most versatile and useful tools an artist can have in their toolkit. There are multiple different ways to use a kneaded eraser. In this article, we’ll walk you through how to use a kneadable eraser, including erasing techniques, storage and cleaning tips.
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How to use a kneaded eraser: step by step
Knead a new eraser
If you have just bought a kneadable eraser, it’s best to stretch the fibres to warm it up so that it starts to feel malleable and flexible. Stretch the eraser, don’t worry if it breaks! Then push the parts back together again. Squish and roll it into a ball until it feels springy.
Always start with a clean eraser
Kneaded erasers tend to pick up dust and dirt, it’s important to store it in a container when you’re not using it so that it doesn’t absorb excess pencil shavings or dust from your pencil case.
Use the kneadable eraser like a stamp
One of the simplest ways to use a kneadable eraser is to press it gently into an area you want to erase and then lift it straight back up again. This is effective for small, precise areas. The advantage of using a kneaded eraser like a stamp is that you can re-knead the eraser to clean it and use it again.
Use the kneaded eraser as a rubber
Another way to use a kneaded eraser is to treat it like a regular rubber. Simply rub the eraser back and forth over the area you want to erase. This is a good technique for larger areas.
Use the kneaded eraser to lift out highlights
If you want to create the illusion of light shining on an object, you can use a kneaded eraser to lift out highlights. Gently press the eraser into the paper and then twist it. The highlight will be lifted out in a small circle. You can also use the kneadable eraser to create soft edges around an object by lightly pressing it into the paper and then lifting it straight back up again.
Knead the eraser into a small point and lift subtle highlights from your drawing. This is a good way to add realism to your drawings.
What are kneaded erasers made from?
Kneaded erasers are made of a type of unvulcanised rubber. This means that the rubber has not been treated with chemicals to make it harder. They are also known as art erasers, putty erasers or kneadable erasers. Other types of erasers, such as gum erasers are made from vulcanised rubber, which gives them their firmer texture,
The advantages of using a kneaded eraser
The great thing about using a kneaded eraser, is that you can use it on many different types of surfaces without damaging the paper. For example, you can use it on delicate or thin papers, on coated or sanded pastel papers and even on wood.
Another advantage of using a kneadable eraser is that you can use it to create highlights and shadows in your drawing. This can add realism and depth to your drawings.
Finally, kneaded erasers are very versatile and can be used in a variety of ways. You can use them to erase small areas, lift out highlights, or create soft edges.
What mediums can you use a kneaded eraser with?
Use a kneaded eraser with graphite, charcoal, pastel and coloured pencils. Kneaded erasers are especially suitable for use with charcoal, as the soft eraser will absorb the loose charcoal dust and lift highlights from drawings.
How to store a kneaded eraser
When you’re not using your kneaded eraser, store it in an airtight container or wrap it in cling film. Kneaded erasers are sticky and susceptible to collecting dirt and dust, so it’s important to protect them to keep them clean.
How to clean a kneaded eraser
To clean a used kneaded eraser, simply roll it into a ball and knead it until the colour has been absorbed back into the eraser. You can then use it again.
How often should you replace a kneaded eraser?
You should replace your putty eraser when it’s dirty and filled with pencil residue. However, kneaded erasers can last years before they need replacing.
Where to buy a kneadable eraser
Kneaded erasers are available from most art supply stores. You can also find them online from a variety of retailers. Our best picks are the Prismacolor Kneaded Eraser and the Faber-Castell Kneaded eraser.
Have you decided whether a kneadable eraser would fit into your drawing practice? If so, add one to your shopping list and give it a try! We think you’ll be surprised at how useful these little erasers can be. If you want more information about other erasers available to artists, check out our guide on the best erasers for artists.
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