Friday, January 9, 2015

Erasers: An Artists Best Friend

Okay, so, in my opinion, I have no clue how artists sketch and never ever use an eraser.  I tried it once, and never again.  Everyone needs an eraser at some point (if you don't, I wouldn't count you as an artist, because that means you don't make mistakes), and no artist is perfect.

I think it is incredibly important to get to know the different erasers art stores have to offer.  Now you are probably thinking, "Isn't there just pink erasers like the ones on the end of my pencil?".  Well, I take it as a valid question.  But the answer is no.

There are three main types of erasers (at least that I use):
1. Rubber Eraser
2. Kneaded Eraser
3. Gum Eraser

A rubber eraser is just the typical ones that you find in the Office Depot or Walmart.  The can be on the end of you pencil, in big blocks or small.  Although I am really picky about my art supplies *smiles, embarrassed*, I do like the quality material. 

So, what is wrong with using this eraser?  Some of you have probably been using this kind of eraser for years, and it doesn't seem to make your artwork look any better.  Frankly, there is nothing wrong with this type of eraser.  There is just one thing that drives me crazy when I use this eraser. 

When I have to erase a portion of my artwork which has a mistake, there are little dirty eraser specks left on the page.  Then, I swipe my hand over it to brush it out of the way.  Now, think about it.  If I was shading in a crosshatch fashion, it would be all messed up.  Why? 

I smeared the led from the pencil across the whole page. 

So, If you are like me, and you mess up a lot, there are going to be lots of smudges.  One time, I was doing a very difficult drawing and I kept erasing and correcting.  Before I knew it, the paper was no longer white, it was now covered in gray led!

After that day, I was completely finished with rubber erasers.  Then, I some research on erasers and found one that did not leave a singe piece of dirty eraser pieces, which brings me to the next one on my list: kneaded erasers.

Kneaded erasers are definitely was every artist needs.  They work like a dream for a million reasons (don't worry, I won't name them all).

First, they have a playdough texture, so they can be molded into any shape you need.  One of my favorites is to bring them to a point, like in the picture, and use to modify tiny little details.  Second, if you think your shading is too dark, kneaded erasers will lighten it up like nothing ever happened. Third, if you are drawing a bird with detailed feathers, you could use the kneaded eraser to make little dots or thin lines.  There is only one downside to this eraser, it is not made for big mistakes or vigorous erasing, leave that job to the rubber eraser.  One more thing about the kneaded eraser...don't leave it out in the hot sun!  Keep it in a cool environment, otherwise it will get really sticky.  Trust me, I learned my lesson.  It is kind of like already chewed gum.

Speaking of gum, let me introduce you to the gum eraser (this is not made out of gum!).  These look very similar to a rubber eraser, but are usually tan or blue. They are good for erasing large areas, but leave a lot of residue.  Why do I use this eraser then?  Well, it takes away almost all the led off the page.  You almost never see any led marks at all.  It is awesome!  One thing I would be careful of is to make sure you get all the residue off.  Most artists use a certain brush which gets it all off (I don't know what it is called because I don't use one, sorry).  Also, these erasers occasionally crumble and fall apart.

Well, I hope that was helpful!  Keep drawing... :-) and once again, please share about my blog with your friends!