Artists have lots of different types of erasers to choose from when working on drawing projects. Each type of eraser has its own unique benefits and drawbacks. Here is a look at some of the most popular types of erasers used by artists.
Disclaimer: Fine Art Tutorials is a reader supported site. When you make purchases through links on this site, we may earn a small commission at no extra cost to you.
A kneaded eraser is a pliable, soft eraser that can be easily shaped to erase small or large areas. It is perfect for detailed work and does not damage delicate surfaces. Kneaded erasers are also reusable. Simply knead them back into their original shape when they become too dirty to use. Kneaded erasers will not leave crumbs or residue on the paper like other erasers can, plus artists can use kneaded erasers on a wide variety of surfaces, like pastel paper, wood and more!
Faber-Castell kneaded erasers and Prismacolor kneaded erasers are two of the best brands you can get.
This type of eraser is best for use with charcoal, graphite, coloured pencils and pastel. However, it is too soft to eraser pen or ink. Because this eraser is so soft, it can erase pencil marks on watercolour paintings.
Kneadable erasers are one of the best tools for any artist that uses pencil in their work. This is due to their ability to softly subtract pencil from a drawing. Modify midtones and highlights with flexibility with this eraser—it’s a drawing tool in its own right.
For detail work and to lift small highlights from a drawing, mould the eraser into a fine point, then dab on the page to lift pencil marks. For a more detailed look at how to use a kneaded eraser, check out our guide.
A vinyl eraser is a firm eraser that is perfect for erasing stubborn marks. Vinyl erasers, which are made from plastic, are not flexible or pliable, but artists can use the edge of the eraser to remove fine marks from the paper.
Because vinyl erasers are so rigid, they have more of a tendency to damage paper fibres than kneadable erasers. If you are working on a thin paper, or a coated paper, then opt to get a kneaded eraser instead. Use vinyl erasers with charcoal, graphite or ink.
The great thing about vinyl erasers is that they remove pen and ink marks and they can remove marks cleanly. This gives them an advantage over kneaded erasers which can sometimes leave subtle pencil marks on the paper.
A popular vinyl eraser is the Mars plastic eraser, which is residue free, resistant to crumbling and works perfectly with charcoal.
An art gum eraser is a soft, pliable eraser that is perfect for erasing large areas. They are flexible, but not pliable. Artists can break off small sections of the eraser to remove fine details from artwork.
When using a gum eraser, be sure to apply gentle pressure to avoid damaging the paper. Gum erasers are perfect for removing graphite from artwork. They can also be used to lighten dark areas of drawings.
The drawback to gum erasers is that they leave a lot of crumbs and residue when erasing. They also have a tendency to smudge charcoal and pastel drawings.
A rubber eraser is a classic eraser that most people are familiar with. This type of eraser is most commonly found in classrooms and it’s the type of eraser found on the end of pencils.
These erasers come in a variety of different shapes, sizes and colours; they are commonly sold as pink erasers.
The texture is much firmer than gum, but softer than vinyl. This eraser can be used with graphite, but does have a tendency to smudge other mediums. Rubber leaves crumbs on the paper like gum erasers do.
Sand erasers, like the Mono Sand Eraser are made from rubber and fine sand particles. The sand particles are abrasive and therefore cleanly remove ink, pastel, coloured pencil marks. These erasers don’t smudge, smear or leave residue. However, because they are made from abrasive particles, avoid using on delicate papers.
For optimum precision, get an eraser pencil. These handy erasers can be sharpened to remove the smallest details and highlights in a drawing. Artists can also buy these pencils with a brush at one end to brush away crumbs or residue cleanly.
A glass eraser pencil is a specialist tool made by Faber-Castell. With a fiberglass nib, they eraser india ink from transparent paper. This is a propelling eraser with a refillable core.
Which types of erasers are best for artists?
With so many different types of erasers on the market, it can be hard to know which one to choose. The type of eraser you need will depend on the medium you are using and the type of paper you are working on. In general, kneaded erasers are the most versatile, while gum erasers are perfect for lightening large areas quickly. For ink or stubborn coloured pencil marks, opt for a vinyl eraser. Check out our guide on the best erasers for artists for more information.
Have you found the perfect eraser for your drawing practice yet? Let us know in the comments.
If you’ve found anything on this site especially useful, you can make a donation to me through PayPal. I take a lot of time to research and write each topic, making sure each tutorial is as detailed as possible and I make all my content freely available. Any small donation (even the price of a cup of coffee!) can help me to cover the running costs of the site. Any help from my readers is much appreciated :).
Follow the link in the button below to support this site.