The 5 Types of Eraser Every Artist Should Know ('Cuz Nobody's Perfect)


Pencil lines go askew, marks end up where you don't want them, composition ideas change. People make mistakes, especially when they are new to drawing.

To the rescue: erasers! This guide to the different types will help you choose the best one for the job.

1. Gum eraser

Also referred to as an art gum eraser, it has a soft, gummy texture and a slightly translucent look. Gum erasers absorb graphite, leaving "crumbs" on your page. A gum eraser is a bit softer than other erasers, so it works with more paper types. It is not the most precise eraser, though, so it's not your go-to for finer lines or details.

2. Rubber eraser

A classic, this is the pink nub on the top of your pencil (though these sturdy, all-purpose erasers come in a whole bunch of other colors, like the white one above). They work like gum erasers — pulling graphite from paper, leaving "crumbs" — but they are firmer and more precise. Rubber erasers, like gum erasers, tend to be fairly gentle on paper unless you really overdo it.

3. Kneaded eraser

Also called kneaded rubber, this type of eraser is pliable and can be molded sort of like a stiff clay. It picks pigment off paper without leaving "crumbs," and can be re-kneaded to absorb graphite.

Since you can shape kneaded erasers into a point, they are good for erasing fine details. But because the rubber can become sticky after a lot of use, it's not the best choice for erasing large areas.

According to instructor Patrick Connors, "The ideal way to use it is not to rub, but to press, rotate and pull the eraser away from the paper. With these erasers, you also need to periodically pull and fold the eraser, kneading it."

4. Pencil eraser

Weirdly, this isn't the pink cylinder on the top of your #2 pencil (reminder, those are rubber erasers). Also referred to as an erasil or eraser-tip pencil, a pencil eraser looks like a pencil with a vinyl eraser tip. You can sharpen it to a point, like a regular pencil, so it provides a lot of precision. But it can be harsh on paper: Use it with care.

5. Vinyl eraser

Also referred to as plastic erasers or drafting erasers, these hard, heavy-duty erasers can even lift ink from a page. They are the erasers of choice for drafters. But they're rigid enough to damage paper, so be gentle and avoid using them on delicate pages.

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Pick up new techniques for "drawing" with a variety of more rigid erasers. You'll find out how to use these tools to bring more detailed areas of your landscape to life. Amy will also guide you through using both rigid and kneaded erasers to create a range of values, along with edges such as soft gradations and clear-cut lines.
Learn how to identify the different value ranges in your reference photo. Then get Amy's tips for "drawing" with your kneaded eraser, which allows you to remove graphite for the lightest and brightest areas of your drawing as well as areas with mid-light values.
Indulge in one of sketching's most joyfully simple forms: carrying a pencil and sketchbook into the field to explore your surroundings. Paul explains graphite grading scales and shows you how to use this forgiving medium to refine your skills in perspective, distance and more. You'll learn how to create emphasis and dimension using a variety of line weights and textural details, gaining confidence as you practice.
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The 5 Types of Eraser Every Artist Should Know ('Cuz Nobody's Perfect)