A kneaded eraser is a type of eraser that removes pencil marks from paper. Unlike other types of erasers, kneaded erasers do not create any dust or residue. Instead, the kneaded eraser will pick up the pencil dust and absorb them in the eraser. This type of eraser is versatile, pliable and mouldable.
Artists use kneaded erasers to shape them into various forms, such as a point or a flat edge, which makes them versatile for erasing small or large areas.
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What are kneaded erasers made from?
Kneaded erasers are made from a soft material that is easy to mould. They are made from unvulcanised rubber, which makes them pliable and sticky.
How do you use a kneaded eraser?
To use a kneaded eraser, simply take the eraser and mould it into the desired shape. Then, gently rub the eraser over the area of the paper that you want to erase. Kneaded erasers pick up and absorb pencil marks. When the kneaded eraser becomes dirty in one area, you can knead it to clean the eraser.
The best kneaded erasers
Prismacolor Kneaded erasers are soft, mouldable and incredibly effective at removing pencil marks from paper. They come in three different sizes, the extra large size is great for larger drawings. These erasers are less sticky than other brands, for example the Faber-Castell kneaded erasers.
Kneaded erasers vs gum erasers
Kneaded erasers and gum erasers are both effective at removing pencil marks from paper. However, there are some key differences between the two types of erasers.
Kneaded erasers are made from unvulcanised rubber, which makes them pliable and sticky. Whereas, gum erasers and rubber erasers are made from vulcanised rubber, which makes them firmer and less pliable.
Mould a kneaded eraser into a variety of shapes, such as a point or a large ball. Gum erasers usually come in the form of a rectangle or block.
Kneaded erasers will absorb pencil lead, while gum erasers remove the pencil layer and create crumbly residue as they erase.
Kneaded eraser benefits
There are several benefits to kneaded erasers over gum and plastic erasers. Firstly, their soft nature makes them suitable for working on more fragile papers without damaging the paper fibres. They also work excellently on sanded and coated papers, that harder erasers like plastic or rubber are more likely to damage.
Secondly, their absorbent quality allows artists to clean up large areas without scattering residue everywhere. Kneaded erasers also last much longer, as gum and rubber erasers wear down much more quickly.
Their pliability gives artists greater control over how much or how little they erase. This also allows artists to use different erasing techniques by moulding it into different shapes to lift pencil marks.
What are the drawbacks of kneaded erasers?
One drawback of kneaded erasers is that they are fairly sticky and therefore attract dust and dirt. If not stored properly, they can become caked in dust and dirt and become less effective at erasing.
They are also not as effective at erasing dark pencil marks as gum or plastic erasers. Plastic erasers and sand erasers can remove the most stubborn marks, however they can also be abrasive on paper. Sand erasers and some vinyl and plastic erasers even remove pen marks, whereas kneaded erasers cannot. Sometimes, when erasing stubborn pencil marks, you may have to go over the same mark a few times to erase it completely with a kneaded eraser.
How to store a kneaded eraser
When not in use, store your kneaded eraser somewhere clean and free from dust. Kneaded erasers are fairly sticky and therefore absorb dust and dirt. If you have a small container or plastic wrap that you can cover the eraser with, this will keep it clean and better able to absorb more pencil.
What mediums can you use kneaded erasers with?
Kneaded erasers work especially well for charcoal drawing, where artists start with a midtone and lift highlights and details. Artists can use the subtractive approach to charcoal drawing to create a range of tones by subtly erasing into the charcoal.
Are kneaded erasers made from latex?
No, kneaded erasers are not made from latex. Kneaded erasers are made from unvulcanised rubber, which is a type of synthetic rubber. This makes them pliable and sticky. However, always double check on the product page of the supplier you’re buying from to be sure.
Do kneaded erasers leave residue?
Kneaded erasers do not usually leave residue when used for erasing. However, if the eraser becomes full of pencil lead, it can leave a smudgy residue when used. To avoid this, you can twist or knead the eraser to clean it before using it again.
Do you want to know about more of the best erasers for artists? If so, read our guide!
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